NT News

NIGHTCLIFF MENTOR IS NOT HAPPY

- GREY MORRIS

NIGHTCLIFF’S three-time premiershi­p coach Chris Baksh expected a different slant on the NTFL draw when it was released to the public on Wednesday.

But a near carbon copy of last season’s fixture, complete with playing St Mary’s and Waratah twice in the first six rounds for the second year in a row, has left Baksh scratching his head.

“It’s a bit frustratin­g they can’t roll out a new draw from year to year,” he said.

“They’ve had time to do it and, as it stands, we’re playing the same teams again.

“We did give them our own feedback, but it looks like it wasn’t used to input this season’s draw, at least from my point of view.

“Maybe it will be used to input next season’s work towards a new draw.”

Paramount on Baksh’s list of queries was a second consecutiv­e trip to Bathurst Island to play the Tiwi Bombers.

“I think it’s great for Territory football to go over there and we do love it, but it’s a bit of a case where all the clubs should be doing it for the good of the competitio­n,” he said.

“I always thought there was an agreement to play over there every second year when the Tiwis came into the league.

“Going over to Bathurst Island is a big ask of the playing list, the volunteers and even the supporters.

“Flying your colours is one thing, but every year becomes a challenge.”

Baksh was pleased with the return of representa­tive football and an early season version of the grand-final rematch.

“Being able to back up last

season’s representa­tive game with another one in January is exciting and a big thing for the game up here,” he said.

“It’s something for the players to strive for away from club footy and playing last season’s grand final opponents is good in terms of seeing where you are at.

“Even if there will be two completely different sides by the end of the season.”

The AFLNT’s community football manager Leigh Elder said he could understand the Tigers’ position. But he said there was no set agreement on who played on Bathurst Island and when.

“We accept the fact the draw is not ideal and not everyone is going to be 100 per cent happy, but it’s worth noting they (Nightcliff) are also the only club that gets six home games with all the grades linked,” Elder said.

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Chris Baksh.

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