The Northern Territory news Sat 4 Sep 2021
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
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2021 SPORT 53 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA RAIDERS RIPE FOR FIERCE RIVALS PALMERSTON has hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks, but knows it will be up against it when it faces Nightcliff in the NRL NT preliminary final. The Raiders put themselves in with a shot of competing in the grand final after beating reigning premiers Darwin Brothers 36-16 in the minor semi-final. But first, all the focus is on the preliminary final and a Nightcliff Dragons side that poses a massive threat to Palmerstons title ambitions. Palmerston coach Merg Mikaelian was proud of his sides efforts but insisted all eyes were on their upcoming bout against Nightcliff. It was a good result. We worked well to our structure and game plan against Brothers and came away with the result, Mikaelian said. We were a little rusty but everyone would have been on the weekend after not having touched a footy in the previous week. We set the tone with our defence and showed some real desperation in our goalline defence, and from there our plan was the same as normal through the middle with our big forwards. Facing the Raiders is a Dragons side ready to bounce back following the 32-20 loss to Sharks in the major semi-final. All three of the games between the two sides this season have been tough, tight af fairs, with Palmerston winning the most recent 22-12 while down to 11 men in the closing 10 minutes. Minor premiers Nightcliff have plenty of options in attack and defence with Robbie Butcher and Brent Crisp ready to direct traffic, while Tim Muhammad has also been in strong form. Palmerston, however, has plenty of firepower of its own with Blake Fletcher showing plenty of skill and leadership in the halves. Outside him, Joel Turaga and Matthew Johnson have lit up the field week after week with their game-changing runs off the back of the hard work of the Raiders forward pack. Were focused on Nightcliff, we need to be on our game against them as each of our games against them have been tough, Mikaelian said. This game will be no different. Theyre a quality side and will be up and about wanting to bounce back following their semi-final loss. The winner will face Northern Sharks on September 11. Meanwhile, in the womens competition its Sharks against Palmerston in the preliminary final, both gunning for an opportunity to face Sistaz in the grand final. Sharks have plenty to make up for after a big 44-0 loss to Sistaz in the semis, but still have plenty of strength in their ranks, including Crystal Browne. Nightcliff captain Brent Crisp has had a fine season at the Dragons. Picture: Che Chorley NATHANIEL CHAMBERS WILL DRAGONS ARREST PALMERSTONS PURPLE PATCH OF FORM IN PRELIM? FEDERAL coach Izaak Ankers has promised a new-look side for Saturday nights CAFL preliminary final against Wests. The 6pm clash at Traeger Park will decide who meets defending premier Rovers in the September 11 grand final. The Demons have added explosive wingman-forward Henry Impu and big-marking spearhead Waylon Manson to the side that lost to Rovers in the major semi-final. Federal won all three en counters between the two sides this season, including a comeback five-point win in round 10. Wests goalkicker Jasper Wheelers seven goals in that game almost got the Bloods over the line, Federal turning a three-point deficit at three quarter-time into a win with their four goals to three last term. Add former AFL Demon Liam Jurrah and last seasons Everingham medallist Tosh Kunoth to the forward line and Wests have the ammunition to kick a winning score. They come into the final on the back of a good win over Pioneer in the elimination first semi-final. But Ankers expects his players to find another gear following their 69-point loss to Rovers in the grand final qualifier. Were pretty happy we still have a chance to respond by bouncing back hard, he said. We pride ourselves on being a very proud club and a mature footy side and thats what those sort of teams do, respond after a loss. Wests coach Shaun Cusack knows his side faces a big challenge on the wide open spaces of Traeger Park. Federal has had a good season, but weve improved a lot and are playing some good footy, he said. Well give this game our best shot, with Marcus McDonald coming into the side to give our midfield-half forward line more depth. Federal favoured versus Wests in prelim final after adding explosive athletes to forward line GREY MORRIS Create a legally binding Will in less than 15 minutes. Fully reviewed by expert wills & estate lawyers from just $159. Protect Your Loved Ones with a Legally-Binding Will Get Started mytributes.com.au/GetAWill
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