NEAFL ROUND 13
Saturday, June 29, 2019
Southport Sharks (2nd) v NT Thunder (10th)
Fankhauser Reserve, 1.30pm
The defending premier in back in action this week as it looks to put a shock loss behind them against an injury-hit NT Thunder on home soil this Saturday.
The Sharks are coming off a bye which followed a 15-point loss to a spirited Gold Coast SUNS at Fankhauser Reserve in Round 11, which raised questions of whether there might be chinks in the armour of the reigning champions.
Southport will look to return to form against a NT Thunder side languishing on the bottom of the ladder, and copped another whack during the week with confirmation two of its best players – captain Shannon Rioli and defender Joe Anderson – are out for the season.
The Sharks are hot favourites but NT Thunder won’t die wondering, having come with 11 points of Southport last time these two sides met.
Round 6, 2019: Southport16.11 (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.
Round 13, 2018: Southport 14.17 (101) d NT Thunder 11.8 (74) at TIO Stadium.
1. Is Southport vulnerable? The second-placed Sharks dropped only their second match of the year against Gold Coast a fortnight ago, where the SUNS led from start to finish and held them off in the final term to record a morale-boosting victory. Southport are in a commanding position on the ladder without necessarily dominating - five of their eight victories have been by 11 points or less. The Sharks will be keen to produce a solid four-quarter effort this weekend to set themselves up for the run home.
2. It’s been tough going for NT Thunder in recent weeks. On one hand, their effort cannot be questioned, and they’ve matched it with sides for periods during matches. On the other hand, they still lack a true four-quarter performance this year, and the loss of key players to injury during games doesn’t help. But they’ll take confidence from the last time they played Southport in Round 6. That day, Abraham Ankers and Clinton Gallio were superb in the midfield as Thunder pushed them all the way.
3. Southport co-captain Andrew Boston runs out for his 100th NEAFL match this week in what has been a rollercoaster journey to the ton. He debuted for Broadbeach in 2011, won the NEAFL Rising Star Award in 2012, was drafted to Gold Coast, returned to Southport after retiring from the AFL, and was a NEAFL Team of the Year member and league representative before he guided the Sharks to a premiership last year as co-captain. Now 25, the cult hero will be keen to put on a show for the fans his week.
It was an uplifting moment during the week when NT Thunder defender Kieren Parnell was awarded the NEAFL Rising Star nomination for Round 12. After spending two years on the sidelines after back-to-back knee reconstructions, the 19-year-old hit his peak last week with 17 disposals (14 contested) and five marks against Aspley. His journey back to his best football is one we’re all keeping an eye on.
STATS THAT MATTER
Southport midfielder Tyler Roos is ranked No.1 in the NEAFL for total disposals so far this season with 310 from 10 games. Last time Roos faced Thunder, he collected 38, plus five clearances and seven tackles. He is one player NT Thunder will have to try and stop this weekend.
Southport by 20 points.
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