NT Thunder has made four changes to its line-up to take on Sydney University in Darwin on Saturday night, with injury and rest having a bearing on the team that defeated Redland in the last game.
Fresh off his call-up to the AFL State Combine testing, Kieren Parnell returns to the side after he was managed through a minor knee complaint.
Joining him in Thunder’s defensive line is fellow young-gun, Joel Jeffrey who has been rested since finishing with the Allies Under 18s at the national championships.
Up the other end of the field, Tiwi Islander Adam Tipungwuti has been named after sickness forced his withdrawal late from the last round, while David Johnston comes in for his tenth game of the season, his big size affording the coaches with the option to play him up forward or down back.
Johnston’s inclusion is the ideal replacement for Jack Monigatti, who along with Thunder Academy player Tyson Woods, has been rested for this Saturday.
Head Coach Darren Reeves said the inclusion of Tipungwuti forced the Woods change.
“We were impressed with Tyson’s debut game last round, he was lively up forward and came into his own more so in the second half, but both he and Adam are a similar size, and we don’t have room for both players this week so have gone with the experience of Adam.
“Adam is a classy player who can win matches,” he added.
After debuting for the club in Round 2 this year, Brodie Carroll is set to miss his first game after he sustained a hand injury in the last game.
Joining him on the sidelines, also due to injury, is Kevin Maroney after he received a knock to the elbow and hasn’t recovered in time.
“Brodie has been one of the real highlights for us this season, and with each passing week, he has gotten bigger and stronger and has started to impose himself at NEAFL level, so it’s disappointing to lose a player of his quality.
“Likewise, with Kev, he is a really impressive youngster that goes hard at training and also started to find great touch in our games, but we can’t dwell on either injury too long because it’s the reality of the situation,” Reeves said.
It’s the first trip Sydney have made to the NT since April last year and Reeves said the last outing against the Students proved that Thunder could cause an upset.
“Sydney Uni are two and zip against us so far this year, and back in Round 2 they were in control from start to end, but our performance against them in Round 10 was a lot more on our terms, and with a very young side playing for us that day we were right in it until the last quarter.
“We know they’re a well-skilled, hard-running outfit who have a finals berth within their grasp, so we will have to be at our best, playing with effort and energy to give ourselves the best chance at success,” he said.
NEAFL Round 19
NT Thunder vs Sydney University
6:30pm ACST, Saturday 10 August
TIO Stadium, Darwin
B: Joel Budarick, Josiah Farrer, Kieren Parnell
HB: Joel Jeffrey, Damian Williams, Ben Rioli
C: Jess Budarick, Cohen Thiele, Dylan McLachlan
HF: Nigel Lockyer, Jacob Templeton, Kieran Delahunty
FF: Adam Tipungwuti, Trent Melville, Malcolm Rosas
FOLL: Jack Hannath, Nathaniel Paredes, Abraham Ankers (c)
INT: Brandon Rusca*, David Johnston, Chris Williams, Phillip Wills, Ben Taylor
EMG: Will Farrer, Joel Stevens, Ed Barlow
IN: Joel Jeffrey, David Johnston, Kieren Parnell, Adam Tipungwuti
OUT: Brodie Carroll (hand), Kevin Maroney (elbow), Jack Monigatti (rested), Tyson Woods (rested)
*Indicates 23rd player