Local footballers help Nightcliff claim back-to-back NTFL premierships

By Aydin Payne

An all-star ensemble of district talent helped deliver the Nightcliff Tigers back-to-back premierships at the weekend in a thrilling grand final win against St Mary's in the Northern Territory Football League's Premier League.

Five products from the district football fraternity were involved in the Tigers’ stunning 10.13 (73) to 9.6 (60) win at Darwin's TIO Stadium.

A desperate final quarter effort — after trailing by two points at three-quarter time — allowed Nightcliff to fall across the line by 13 points.

For a second straight year, Goulburn Valley exports have assisted Nightcliff in securing the premiership.

Murray Football League-based club Tongala had midfield gun and NTFL legend Cam Ilett, who was prolific across the ground, while the Blues’ Chris Baksh steered the Tigers as senior coach.

Ilett claimed his seventh premiership medal in the NTFL, with the most recent success coming against his former club, where he won five of his seven flags.

Barooga senior coach Zac Brain played a starring role, while Goulburn Valley League's Kyle Winter-Irving (Seymour) was a standout in the ruck.

However, former Shepparton United and Congupna utility Daniel Bowles was the pick of the exports, featuring in the list of better players in the memorable win.

And the region was represented in the officiating ranks, with Tatura's Sam Wood featuring as an umpire in the big dance.

It was a great achievement for the Goulburn Valley Football Umpires Association assistant field umpire coach, as he completed his first foray in the country's Top End football scene.

Meanwhile, the game itself was a gruelling affair, highlighted by a heavy knock to Barooga's incoming coach, who finished the game with red war paint on his forehead.

Brain — who is preparing to lead Barooga this season — spoke to the Southern Riverina News about the victory and his knock to the head.

‘‘It was so good, everyone played their role and had a good crack,’’ Brain said.

‘‘They all stepped up and filled their individual roles when they needed to.

‘‘I didn’t know what the score was towards the end of the fourth quarter, I had bleeding down my forehead on the bench at the time, but when the siren sounded I ran out in the middle with the boys.

‘‘It was good to have a grand final like we did.’’