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Clubs with a Bye

Thunder coach Darren Reeves instructs his players. Photo: Keith McInnes/NEAFL.

MATCH PREVIEW: NT Thunder v Canberra


Saturday, May 25, 2019
NT Thunder (10th) v Canberra Demons (8th)
TIO Stadium, 6.30pm


It’ll be a clash between the territories this upcoming Saturday when the NT Thunder comes head-to-head with the Canberra Demons. It has been quite a slow start from both teams with the Thunder still sitting at the bottom of the table, and Canberra only a foot in front in 8th position.

With both teams coming off straight losses it will be expected that they will want to make their mark this coming weekend. Thunder’s defensive line has been the only thing keeping their teams head above water, with impeccable efforts from Daniel Weetra and Ben Rioli.

It will be interesting to see how Canberra responds and what plan they have in place to breakdown Thunder’s defensive line. Vice captain Mitch Maguire, when speaking to is confident his side will turn their chances around this weekend based on previous successes at TIO Stadium. First bounce will be at 6.30pm; will Thunder have enough to keep them afloat?


Round 11, 2018: Canberra 17.12 (114) def. NT Thunder 6.13 (49) at Manuka Oval
Round 18, 2018: Canberra 16.12 (108) def. NT Thunder 12.15 (87) at TIO Stadium
Round 12, 2017: NT Thunder 21.16 (142) def. Canberra 7.9 (51) at TIO Stadium


1. Canberra co-captain Jordan Harper will make a triumphant return to the club this weekend after a mid-season transfer from VFL club North Melbourne. A two-time club best-and-fairest and NEAFL Team of the Year member, Harper’s experience and star quality will be a huge boost to a Demons side chasing a second consecutive finals berth. However, the 25-year-old’s last trip to Darwin back in Round 12, 2017, wouldn’t bring about fond memories, as the Demons were thrashed by 91 points.

2. Canberra’s forwards need to be cautious of the Thunder’s defensive plays, after the past several matches have forced their key players into a backline zone, playing Jack Monigatti in the ruck as well as across the backline. Though, after last week’s dismal performance, Thunder coach Darren Reeves will need to take last week’s loss on the chin and will need to bring his attacking side back to the drawing board for the chance to redeem themselves coming into this week’s round. Experienced midfielder Abraham Ankers will be the one to rely on when the going gets tough. The speedy inside midfielder averaged over 26 disposals each game in the 2018 campaign, and he was awarded the Ilett Medal at NT Thunder’s Club Champion night for his efforts. Ankers is still in his peak form but the question beckons: will it be enough to get his side their second win for the year?

3. Expect a physical and gruelling encounter between these two sides; with both team’s tackle count increasing each week. Both teams are averaging around 62.5 tackles each game. Saturday’s match will determine the resilience of b


One rising talent to keep your eye on will be the Demons young gun Nick Eynaud who made his debut against the Brisbane Lions two weekends ago. With 22 disposals he will be looking to improve on that in Saturday’s match. Could he be the one to unravel the Thunder’s defence and force an upset for the home side?


Canberra’s away record against the NT Thunder has been impeccable, with them winning the past two years at TIO Stadium.


It will be a tight match, but Thunder by two goals.



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