The Northern Territory news Thu 5 Oct 2017
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28 NT NEWS / SUNDAY TERRITORIAN, Thursday, October 5, 2017 NTNE01Z01FC - V1 NTFL 2017-18 SeaSoN preview NTFL 2017-18 SeaSoN preview Optimism as women soar into new NTFL season PALMERSTON could only notch up four wins in the 2016-17 NTFL Womens Premier League competition but, like the Magpies mens outfit, this season could see the team be a lot more competitive. The black-and-whites have recruited well, picking up Townsville representative player Rhiannon Bush, twins and former St Marys players Karlee and Gabrielle King, and premiership winner and Magpies veteran Natasha Medbury. Club stalwarts Hayley Davey and Jo Huddleston have also impressed in pre-season training sessions, before the Magpies season opener against Pint at TIO Oval No. 2 on Sunday. Natasha Medbury created the Palmerston Magpies womens team several years ago and shes come back for one more year, Magpies coach Russell Davey said. Its good to have a veteran come back. Davey said it was also good to have the full support of his playing group, with strong numbers at training. The numbers have been good. Were getting about 27 or 28 to each training session, he said. Everything is there. Theyve done their pre-season and the girls are looking forward to it. With those numbers, in his first season as a head coach Davey has already brought back a hardworking culture. Im trying to bringing back some respect and a strong culture, and giving the players some respect back, Davey said. Its good to see the girls have come back for this season and theyre committed, because our under-18s girls from last season look up to these girls. Davey, a Magpies life member, admitted he was devastated knee surgery ruled him out of playing for the mens Premier League side this season. But he is now eager to pour all his energy into coaching. THE Darwin Buffettes know they will have a target strapped to their back during the NTFL womens season. The reigning Premier League champions under coach Matt Large open the defence of their crown with a midday game against Southern Districts on Saturday. We know were the hunted and the rest of the clubs are after us, I reckon we can use it to our advantage, Large said. Player-wise well retain the core of last years side, with Michaela Roberts leading the charge after her breakout season in 2017. Well lose our winger Isobel Porter for the early part of the season and Shannon Hanning is much the same, but there are five or six ins well get a lot of value from. And not forgetting Kylie Duggan, who controlled the middle of the ground for us all season and were confident she can do it again. Large said his players were aware of the responsibility on their shoulders after the joy of winning last seasons flag. Nothing is ever easy in sport and we know a lot of work is required, where we go from here is the key with everyone wanting to beat us. IMPROVEMENT is the key word for the Southern Districts women in 2017-18. The Crocodile ladies struggled for consistency last season when employment commitments and injury had them on the lower rungs of the womens ladder. But five months on and new coach Taymon Elliott is confident his players are made of the right stuff as they look to force their way into finals contention. Hopefully we can find a bit of improvement, given weve lost a couple of players, he said. Jesse Stevens looks like shes not playing after going down with injury, but we have got Lateesha Jeffrey on board after she came over from Palmerston. Darwin Buffs footballer Rebecca Dunbar Another big plus for us is the addition of Ebony Miller, who captained Pioneer in the Alice Springs competition last year and Chiarah Rusca. Elliott expects Miller to fill a ruckman-forward role for the Crocs, with Rusca handed goalkicking duties. The players have impressed Elliott with their strong workrate and intensity at training, all that is required now is consistency on matchdays. Districts open their season against reigning premiers the Darwin Buffettes on Saturday, a match Elliott will use as a starting point for his side. Were going to know where we are at very quickly, he said. The Buffettes are the measuring stick and well go by that. DENNIS Lew Fatt has come across from PINT to coach Nightcliffs side. We are aiming to get Nightcliffs womens team up and running and make sure they are competitive, he said. They didnt have the best year last year. I wasnt going to coach this year but they asked if I could give them a hand and thats what Im about with footy. PRELIMINARY finalists Wanderers will be under new management when they kick off the new season against Nightcliff at TIO No. 2 on Saturday. Victorian Krystle Winter has replaced David Totham as coach, but the core of the team remains the same. Tracy Village will again rely on the likes of Sharona Bishop and Alesha Shepard to lift them into another finals cam paign. Colleen Gwynne is back on board at Waratah this season. Weve brought in a different program this year, weve combined the under 15s, 18s and womens together, she said. The program that we have set up is to try and use the more experienced older players to assist with younger girls coming through. Its important these girls are educated about the game and show the right way as early as possible. We will be a different side this year, a lot of new faces. Weve bought a couple of girls up from the 18s to play in the premier league this year . so theres a mixture of youth and experience. NEW PINT coach Tristan Cook has been impressed by the intensity at training so far. The numbers have been really good, he said. A few of the key girls that have been around the club for a while are pretty driven to make sure we are successful in finals. There is quite a few new faces and we have retained most of our players as well. I feel like we are in a good spot. ST MARYS coach Jarred Ilett says the side has put the pain of their finals exit behind them. The Saints were bundled out for having too many players on the field at one time. From a team perspective we will just put it behind us and move on, he said. Obviously there were some harsh lessons to be learnt there from a coaching perspective.
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