NEAFL ROUND 15
Saturday, July 13, 2019
NT Thunder (10th) v GIANTS (5th)
TIO Stadium, 6.30pm
Saturday night presents another opportunity for NT Thunder to strike and also for the GIANTS to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive in what should be a close battle at TIO Stadium.
Thunder has pushed the top teams in recent weeks, coming within 15 points of Southport and 19 points of Sydney in the past fortnight. They are hunting for a win, and should feel confident coming up against the GIANTS this week.
The visitors have slipped out of the top four after losing to Brisbane last week and will be keen to return to the winners list in the hope of securing a home final in the first week of finals.
Round 9, 2018: GIANTS 14.12 (96) d NT Thunder 6.9 (45) at
Round 14, 2017: NT Thunder 15.7 (97) d GIANTS 14.9 (93) at GIANTS Stadium
Round 9, 2017: NT Thunder 18.18 (126) d GIANTS 11.5 (71) at TIO Stadium
1. This match is crucial for the GIANTS with a tough road ahead. Currently in fifth position on percentage, the GIANTS face Aspley (fourth), Gold Coast (sixth), Sydney (third) and Brisbane (first) in what will be a season-defining month of games. With first position just about sewn up by the Lions, it’s race to the finish line between Southport, Sydney, Aspley and the GIANTS to secure a top four finish and an all-important home final advantage.
2. It’s been a case of so close, yet so far for NT Thunder as they search for a second win over the season. There is plenty of fight left in them yet, proven by a solid fortnight where they threatened the top teams. With a defensive unit holding up nicely, it comes down to Thunder’s attacking half to put the pressure on the scoreboard and give the GIANTS a run for their money. NT Thunder is ranked last in the competition for total goals kicked, but the GIANTS are ranked one spot above in ninth, so it will be a question of which forward line can fire on Saturday night.
3. The GIANTS side is packed with a host of quality young guns this week with the National Under-18 Championships wrapping up last week. Among the ins is U18 All-Australian and Round 9 NEAFL Rising Star nominee, Tom Green, alongside fellow Allies squad members Liam Delahunty, Matt McGrory, James Peatling, and Nick Murray. With the GIANTS down to around 11 AFL-listed players this week, the onus will be on the academy members to step up and play a big role.
NT Thunder defender Kieren Parnell is having some season in his return from back-to-back knee reconstructions. The NEAFL Rising Star nominee is ranked seventh in the competition for intercepts, and he’s among pretty good company behind dual NEAFL Team of the Year member Adrian Williams (ranked No.1), Angus Baker, Tom Highmore, Seb Tape, Liam Dawson and Rhys Clark. It will be another golden opportunity for Parnell to impress against AFL opposition this week.
STATS THAT MATTER
Known for punishing opposition clubs on the rebound, NT Thunder has found themselves on the receiving end this season. They are ranked first in the competition for scores against them on turnovers, conceding on average 60 points per game when they’ve turned the ball over.
This will be close. GIANTS by 2 points.
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