Adam Tipungwuti in action

Tipa and friends return to challenge Swans

04.07.19 18:18

NT Thunder has made only four changes to the side ahead of its clash with the much-fancied Sydney Swans in Darwin on Saturday night.

After a hard-fought loss to Southport in trying conditions last weekend, the team will go into the NEAFL’s Round 14 with some star power returning to the line-up.

The inclusions are led by Tiwi Islander Adam Tipungwuti, who made his NEAFL debut with the Swans, kicking three goals in his first of two games for the southerners.

Tipungwuti returns to the lineup after having to attend to community and family over the past fortnight and is sure to add a spark to the Territory’s forward line.

With the inclusion of the Tiwis star, youngster Beau O’Connell will be rested after playing his third successive NEAFL game on the Gold Coast last weekend. His Academy teammates Brandon Rusca and Joel Stevens will be given another go at the top-level, while Joel Budarick is given his first mention in the side as an emergency.

The NTFL’s most recent Nichols Medal winner, Phillip Wills and versatile player, Josiah Farrer regain their spots after both were unavailable last weekend.

Rounding out the additions is big-bodied midfielder, Jacob Templeton who has missed the past two games due to a back injury.

Unfortunately for the side, the marking target provided by the 2018/19 NTFL leading goalkicker Trent Melville will be missing this weekend with the forward succumbing to a niggly foot injury.

Omitted from last week’s team are David Johnston and Chris Williams, with Head Coach Darren Reeves explaining their exclusion.

“Both Dave and Chris can be relied on to dig in and have a crack but by their admission as well as ours, are a little off the pace when it comes to how we will try and stick with or contain a quick, well-drilled outfit like the Swans.

“Having Adam, Temps, Joe and Willsy back give us that good mix of experience to match the enthusiasm of the young guys in the side who have been playing like they having nothing to lose,” he said.

A Sydney Swans supporter himself, Reeves said he was excited by the team this week.

“Coming up against an AFL side presents a wonderful challenge for us as a group, and the way we have been continually improving and progressing the past few weeks means we know that our best footy can match it with the best sides in the competition.

“We would really like to get a win at home as a reward for our work and for our fans, especially given the occasion of the last doubleheader with our women’s team, but so long as we keep going forward then that’s the main priority,” he said.

NEAFL Round 14

NT Thunder vs Sydney Swans
6:30pm ACST, Saturday 6 July
TIO Stadium, Darwin

B: Joel Stevens, Nigel Lockyer, Kieren Parnell
HB: Ben Rioli, Kieran Delahunty, Daniel Weetra
C: Jess Budarick, Brodie Carroll, Ethan Liddle
HF: Josiah Farrer, Nathaniel Paredes, Adam Tipungwuti
F: Dylan McLachlan, Jacob Templeton, Dylan Barry
FOLL: Jack Hannath, Cohen Thiele, Abraham Ankers (c)
INT: Damian Williams, Brandon Rusca*, Beau O’Connell, Ben Taylor, Jack Monigatti

EMERGENCIES: Chris Williams, Joel Budarick, David Johnston

IN: Josiah Farrer, Jacob Templeton, Adam Tipungwuti, Phillip Wills
OUT: David Johnston (omitted), Beau O’Connell (rested), Trent Melville (foot), Chris Williams (omitted)

*Indicates 23rd player

This game is part of the last NT Thunder VFLW/NEAFL doubleheader for 2019. The VFLW game vs Carlton begins at 3:30pm, gates open at 2:30pm.