The Wadeye magician, Francis Kinthari is one of four inclusions to return to the NT Thunder team to face Aspley in the AFL curtain-raiser at TIO Stadium on Saturday.
Classy defender Daniel Weetra, who was a late withdrawal from last week’s clash with Redland, is expected to play his eleventh game for the season while hard-working midfielder Jarred Erlandson is another welcome addition.
With them is youngster Beau Schwarze who will be looking to add more goals to the one he kicked on debut against the Giants in Round 9 when he and Kinthari line-up in the forward line this weekend.
Meanwhile, defender Ben Rioli tweaked his calf at training on Thursday and will miss along with the very serviceable Neil Vea Vea and Lachlan Collihole who are both unavailable.
Kyle Emery, who was a late call-up for Weetra last week, also finds himself back on the emergency list.
In what is sure to be an exciting clash and precursor to the big AFL game between Melbourne and the Adelaide Crows, Thunder coach Andrew Hodges said his team would strive to impress.
“This is probably going to be one of the biggest crowds we get to play in front of this season, and so the boys are keen to show the locals just as much as the southern tourists what Territory footy is all about.
“We really hope people will avoid the queues and come down early to check us out because the standard of the NEAFL competition is excellent and we have always enjoyed a good rivalry with Aspley.”
Hodges said regardless of Aspley’s recent form his team would treat the game and opposition with the respect they deserve.
“Our form hasn’t been as consistent as we’d like either and even though we beat them in Round 1 we know they head to Darwin hungry and very capable of a win.
“Everyone in the team is going to have to play their role. Francis has been very impressive since his debut a few weeks ago, and Beau has continued to work hard for this opportunity, while Dan and Jarred always put their bodies on the line for the team,” Hodges said.
NEAFL Round 16
NT Thunder vs Aspley
3:00pm ACST Saturday 15 July
TIO Stadium, Darwin
B: Sam Smith, Justin Beugelaar, Sam Talbot
HB: Daniel Weetra, Tom Davies, Cameron Ilett
C: Braedon McLean, Abraham Ankers, Davin Ferreira
HF: Shannon Rioli, Hugo Drogemuller, Nick Yarran
F: Francis Kinthari, Darren Ewing, Beau Schwarze*
FOLL: Ryan Smith, Richard Tambling, Matthew Rosier
INT: Jack Shannahan, Michael Coombes, Tony Olango, Jonathan Peris, Jarred Erlandson
EMERGENCIES: Kyle Emery, Jake Roe-Duggan, Scott McLeod
IN: Jarred Erlandson, Francis Kinthari, Beau Schwarze, Daniel Weetra
OUT: Lachlan Collihole (unavailable), Kyle Emery (omitted), Ben Rioli (injured – calf), Neil Vea Vea (unavailable)
* Indicates 23rd player
You can live stream this game thanks to Tatts on ThunderVision