NEAFL ROUND 19
Saturday, August 10, 2019
NT Thunder (10th) v Sydney University (6th)
TIO Stadium, 6.30pm
A win for either NT Thunder or Sydney University in Darwin on Saturday night would bring joyous celebrations for different reasons.
The Students, sitting in sixth position, can all but seal a finals position with the four points given their superior percentage over Canberra in seventh, which has the bye this week.
NT Thunder can avoid the dreaded wooden spoon with a win, with only percentage separating them from ninth-placed Redland on the ladder.
Standing in the hosts’ way, however, is a side with a winning record against them and one who’s in good form, meaning on their best will do to cause an upset on home turf this week.
Round 10, 2019: Sydney Uni 16.5 (101) d NT Thunder 8.14 (62)
at Blacktown International Sportspark
Round 2, 2019: Sydney Uni 21.14 (140) d NT Thunder 7.15 (57) at Blacktown International Sportspark
Round 21, 2018: Sydney Uni: 19.19 (133) d NT Thunder 3.6 (34) at Blacktown International Sportspark
1 Sydney University is peaking at the right time of the year. A seven-point win over Aspley a fortnight ago put the competition on notice, and they took a giant step forward last week by beating Canberra in a thriller by 11 points. Winning form is good form, and if the Students can carry this momentum into finals they’ll rattle a few clubs in the cut-throat knockout finals system.
2 There aren’t enough superlatives to describe the season Abraham Ankers is having. You need to look no further than last time NT Thunder took to the field in Alice Springs a fortnight ago. The Centralian product was unstoppable on his home turf with 43 disposals and three goals. Overall, Ankers is ranked No.2 in the competition for contested possessions and third for inside 50s. Sydney Uni will need to make sure they try and contain the midfield star this week.
3 NT Thunder duo Kieren Parnell and Nigel Lockyer Jnr were both invited to the AFL State Combine during the week. The two players are fantastic stories in their own right – Parnell overcoming two knee reconstructions to have a breakout season at NEAFL level, and Alice Springs product and basketball convert Lockyer Jnr grabbing his opportunities with both hands this year to put his name under the eye of AFL recruiters. With a win under their belts coming into this week, the club will be confident of putting their best foot forward in front of their home fans.
Rising Star nominee Bailey Stewart was instrumental in Sydney Uni’s win over Canberra last week, producing a best-on-ground performance with 32 isposals, eight clearances and nine tackles. Another big game from this young gun will go a long way towards a Sydney Uni win on Saturday night.
STATS THAT MATTER
Sydney University has built an impressive winning streak against NT Thunder. They haven’t lost to NT since the 2015 Preliminary Final at TIO Stadium, a week before Thunder went on to win the premiership. The Students have won the last nine matches, including the past three in Darwin.
Sydney Uni by 20 points.
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