NEAFL ROUND 20
Saturday, August 17, 2019
NT Thunder (10th) v Southport Sharks (2nd)
TIO Stadium, 6.30pm
A home Preliminary Final is on the line for Southport Sharks when the defending premier travels north to face NT Thunder at TIO Stadium on Saturday night.
The Sharks, four points clear in second but with a lesser percentage than their rivals, need to beat the bottom-placed Territorians if they are to earn a week off and host a final for the chance of defending their crown.
NT Thunder, meanwhile, are coming off an 88-point loss to Sydney University last week and will be looking for an improved effort against Southport, which will be fresh after having the bye last week.
Round 13, 2019: Southport 7.15 (57) d NT Thunder 6.6 (42) at
Round 6, 2019: Southport 16.11 (107) d NT Thunder 14.12 (96) at Fankhauser Reserve
Round 20, 2018: Southport 19.16 (130) d NT Thunder 7.8 (50) at TIO Stadium
1. Southport will be keen to respond after being thrashed by ladder leaders Brisbane two weeks ago to the tune of 125 points. Momentum is everything heading into finals and the Sharks will want to find their form against NT Thunder and Sydney University in the last two minor rounds to not only lock in a top two finish, but give themselves some confidence heading into a cut-throat finals series.
2. It will need to be a big defensive effort from NT Thunder this week, particularly when they lose possession. NT Thunder is ranked first in the NEAFL for points scored against with an average of 67 per game. Last week against Sydney Uni, NT had no answers for the Students on the rebound, who scored 86 points from turnovers.
3. Two of the best midfielders will go head-to-head this weekend when respective club co-captains Andrew Boston and Abraham Ankers battle it out in the centre. Boston, ranked No.5 in the NEAFL for contested possessions and No.1 for clearances, comes up against Ankers who is ranked No.2 for contested possessions and No.1 for inside 50s.
Small forward/defender Malcolm Rosas Jnr is certainly showing his vast potential at NEAFL level, and is one to watch for the remaining home-and-away games this year as he pushes his case for AFL Draft selection. Clever around goals and with a great ability to take the game on, Rosas is invited to the AFL Draft Combine this year.
STATS THAT MATTER
To illustrate just how important Abraham Ankers is to the NT Thunder side, the star midfielder is also in the running to win the club’s leading goalkicker award. Ankers is level with Dylan Barry with 15 majors each with two matches remaining.
Southport by 20 points.
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