NT Thunder will play their last match of the home and away NEAFL season against the sixth placed Southport Sharks at Fankhauser Reserve on Saturday. Southport’s ladder position will promise a fight to secure a spot in finals as Thunder look for a victory to improve their own standings, heading into the business end of the season.
Thunder hosted Southport back in Round 7 at TIO Stadium and marked the only time the two teams have met this year. A snappy Sharks outfit was able to come back and produce a hard fought win that was set up in the second quarter when they kicked six goals to Thunder’s two. Sharks dangerous duo in Andrew Boston and Jack Anthony were the most damaging up front, kicking three majors each for the game and contributing to the (15.9) 99 to (18.8) 116 victory.
Thunder has come straight off a gutsy 38-point win at TIO Stadium against competition leaders, the Sydney Swans reserves. A confidence boosting victory that was orchestrated after the first break kept the top-team scoreless for the first time all season and marked Sydney’s first loss to a non-AFL side.
Saturdays clash at Fankhauser Reserve will determine Thunder’s final ladder standing heading into finals.
NT Thunder Head Coach Xavier Clarke is confident the team can rise to the occasion.
“They (Southport) are a great side. They beat us up here (Darwin), so we’re looking forward to going down there.
“They’re playing for finals and some consistency like us, so it’s a good challenge for us to get back on the road and hopefully put in another four-quarter effort.
“If we dish up a game like that (against Sydney) with a consistent effort, anything can happen.
“We made it hard for ourselves because we have to travel for most of the finals. But that’s fine – if we get that effort, we can play anywhere.”
Midfielder Sam Talbot will return to the side following an infection while Michael Bowden has also been named to return against the Sharks in Thunder’s last match of the home and away season.
Liam Patrick and Michael Hagan are unavailable for the clash.
Thunder fans can catch the action live on NEAFL TV here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2c3fuk9n40
SOUTHPORT vs NT THUNDER
12:00pm AEST Fankhauser Reserve
Saturday 20 August 2016
By Levi Dobson