by Kyle Champion
After another shock loss, NT Thunder will need to regroup at Alice Springs when it meets the Casey Demons on Saturday.
This will be Thunder’s last game playing in the Territory, only this time, they will be performing at the home of the Pinktails Football Club, TIO Traeger Park.
Key forward Michelle Ellis is grateful to be returning home as she hasn’t slept in her own bed for some time.
“I think a game home is really beneficial for us,” Ellis said. “There has been a whole lot of travel from Darwin to Melbourne. We’ve travelled every week but to come home and sleep in our own bed will be good for us”.
Like Ellis, there are a few players from Alice Springs. However, before they ventured north to represent NTFL clubs or NT Thunder, they donned their respective CAFL guernseys and a Pinktails uniform.
Since the emergence of NT Thunder, Central Australians have been given a new pathway to compete at a higher level of football.
“The Pinktails have been a solid pathway for us to Thunder,” Ellis said. “There are a few of us, Ebony Miller, Caitlin Couch, Jordann Hickey, Tahlia Holtze, Lateesha Jeffrey, Samantha Hoogeeven-Hill, we’ve all come from Alice Springs. And it’s great to travel and have the opportunity to play for Thunder.”
Although it’s all smiles for the returning home heroes, this game against the Casey Demons could decide Thunder’s season. Last Sunday they fell to the bottom of the ladder team Darebin in a massive upset.
Ellis believes they rushed their late opportunities against the Falcons. To win this next game, Thunder will have to be a little more composed.
“We definitely want the win, and hopefully we get it this weekend,” Ellis said. ” I think we need to stick to our strengths and keep our composure. Last week we rushed it and we needed to bring the tempo down in our ball movement. The Casey Demons have a few losses like us, but we need to be calmer and play our game in order to get on top of them.”
If there was any chance to bring in some much-needed talent, it’s this Saturday. A few Adelaide Crows players may return but an extra added boost of NTFL stars, will even the odds.
“Hopefully we can get back a few,” Ellis said. “Ebony Miller, Charlie Deegan and Katie Streader are a few we’d like to have back and hopefully a few AFLW girls. We have had a few girls away due to unavailability and injury, so maybe we can get them back this week.”
Although this is Ellis’ second year playing for NT Thunder, she is yet to play for any NTFL women’s team. With the amount of travel and commitment to Thunder, Ellis might be spent after the long season.
However, she hasn’t ruled out the possibility of venturing north for the summer.
“Something to consider,” Ellis said. “Thunder has been a big commitment with the travel and such. Definitely, something to think about. I’m not saying no and I’m not saying yes, but we’ll see how we go.”
The finals race has gotten complicated for Thunder as they currently sit in six place after their loss to the Falcons.
The Western Bulldogs and Melbourne Uni have jumped passed Thunder after the pair destroyed their respective opposition the previous round. Geelong is just behind NT with only percentage keeping the Cats at bay.
Both the Dogs and MUGARS have tough opposition ahead, but Thunder must capitalise now while they still have the advantage of the Territory.
VFLW Round 11: NT Thunder vs Casey Demons – 5:30pm ACST Saturday 20 July, TIO Traeger Park, Alice Springs