The Northern Territory news Tue 13 Aug 2019
The Northern Territory news; NewspaperNT
Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin
News Corp Australia
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News Corp Australia
36 SPORT TUESDAY AUGUST 13 2019 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 New direction as NT cuts ties with Crows GREY MORRIS firstname.lastname@example.org THE three-year marriage between the Territorys best women footballers and dual AFLW premiers Adelaide has been settled out of court. The AFLNT and Adelaide both decided the changing landscape of the womens game made it the right time to separate. Danielle Ponter remains as the only Territory-based player to be tied with the Crows, a far cry from 2017 when up to nine NT women wore Adelaide colours. AFLNT boss Stuart Totham told the NT News yesterday his organisation was close to signing a new partnership with an AFLW club believed to be the new Gold Coast Suns franchise as they seek to maintain a pathway for Territory footballers to reach AFLW level. The Suns will join Richmond, West Coast and St Kilda in a revamped 14-team AFLW competition from next year. Territory players Jordann Hickey, Jasmyn Hewett, Sally Riley and Tayla Thorn have already signed with the Suns and more are likely. Totham would not com ment on the Suns link, but Gold Coasts chief executive Mark Evanss regular visits to Darwin this year would indicate an NT flavour is on his agenda. The three-year partnership we enjoyed with the Crows has no doubt directly contributed to the growth of womens footy across the NT and the success that our players experienced via two premierships will remain a legacy of the relationship, Totham said. AFLNT will continue to focus on the development of young, aspiring Territory talent and with the AFLW competition expanding in 2020. Weve been having some positive discussions with other AFLW clubs and should soon be in a position to announce an exciting new partnership that will continue the pathway for NT talent to get to the elite level. That has underpinned our decisions to date and remains our key focus. The Crows said the partnership increased the popularity of womens football and improved talent pathways in Central Australia and helped deliver two premierships. In other words, the Crows are now self sufficient and do not need Territory footballers to top up their ranks. In previous seasons the Crows could pick the eyes out of the NTFLs best women players and use Thunders residency in the Melbournebased VFLW to play off-season football. That means Thunders 2020 VFLW side will be 100 per cent homegrown, something players and coaching staff will relish in terms of the big challenge ahead of them. AFLW premiership players Chelsea Randall, Ebony Marinoff, Angela Foley and Marijana Rajcic Picture: SARAH REED FORMER teammates Nat Fyfe and Lachie Neale headline a crowded field of contenders for what is shaping to be the closest Brownlow Medal count in years. With two rounds remaining, 2015 winner Fyfe is favourite to take out the AFLs most prestigious individual award. Port ready Burton for AFL return PORT Adelaide defender Ryan Burton is likely to return from injury as his club puts the collective blinkers on in the race to the AFL finals. Burton has missed the past four games because of a hamstring injury but is in the selection frame for Ports away match against North Melbourne on Saturday night. He had a great training week last week, so it suggests hell launch himself into this week with no hurdles, Power assistant coach Brett Montgomery told reporters yesterday. I would expect he would play. Asked if Burton would likely return via the state league, Montgomery said: No, I dont think so. Lets just see how he gets through the week ... hes certainly going to give us an interesting conversation come match committee but I expect him to play (AFL). Draw pits leaders for final battle THE frontrunners flexed their muscles, supposed contenders were exposed as pretenders, while eighth spot changed hands amid some staggering results in the AFLs Round 21. Premiership hopefuls Geelong, Brisbane, West Coast and Richmond banked wins to consolidate top-four status. Port Adelaide snuck into the eight at the expense of hometown rival Adelaide. Port, ninth-placed Crows and the surging Western Bulldogs (10th) are all equal on wins, split by percentage with two rounds remaining. Its similarly tight at the head of the table, with Geelong, Brisbane and West Coast all level on 15 wins. The Cats hold top spot by 12.5 per cent from the secondplaced Lions, and the clubs meet this Saturday in a Brisbane blockbuster which could settle the minor premiership. Fyfe and Neale head growing list of Brownlow Medal contenders MICHAEL RAMSEY Bookmakers rate the Fre mantle skipper a $3 chance, ahead of Brisbane star and former Dockers midfielder Neale, who is between $4.50 and $5. Geelong duo Patrick Dangerfield and Tim Kelly, Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps and Western Bulldogs gun Marcus Bontempelli are the other leading contenders. The lack of a clear favourite at this point in the season is something that hasnt been seen in several years. The previous three winners Hawthorns Tom Mitchell, Richmonds Dustin Martin and Dangerfield were shortpriced favourites. Martin, in particular, was at unbackable odds before storming to a record 36 votes in 2017. Last years count threw up several surprises Melbournes Angus Brayshaw wasnt even invited to the black-tie function but he polled 21 votes to finish third. Runner-up Steele Sidebottom also polled considerably better than expected. Fyfes chances this year are helped because he is unlikely to have particularly strong competition from teammates. Michael Walters started the year in excellent form but has dropped off and has never been a prolific vote-getter. Brisbane skipper Dayne Zorko could pinch votes from Neale, while Dangerfield and Kelly look certain to poll well. Cripps astonishingly polled 20 votes in a Carlton side that won just two games last year. The Blues have six wins this year but it is hard to see Cripps polling strongly in the first half of the season when they battled under former coach Brendon Bolton. GWS spearhead Jeremy Cameron leads the Coleman Medal tally with 58 goals. The AFL has tinkered with rules to boost scoring but the glory days of a 100-goal season remain a distant memory.
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