Tahs take depleted side into Battle of Beaches
TERRITORY football’s Battle of the Beaches takes on extra importance today when the second and third placed sides on the Premier League ladder go in search of four premiership points.
Nightcliff is two games and 31 percentage points ahead of beachside rival Waratah, and will start favourite on its own turf at PSC BM Oval.
But second-year Tigers’ boss Chris Baksh knows the red-and-white jumpers will come to play when the 4pm game gets underway.
“It’s why we’re looking forward to the Waratah challenge, they’ve shown they can play some good footy, making it all the more important we focus on our game,’’ he said.
“But Tahs are a dangerous side and they’re well coached, so we have to be on our game.’’
Half of Waratah’s successful ruck setup will be missing today, with New York giant Alex Aurrichio out of the side, leaving the big-leaping Zach Westerberg to carry the load.
Justin Beugelaar’s absence in the back half and Sam Weddell up forward will also hurt Tahs, who beat Nightcliff in their Round 3 clash at Gardens Oval.
Nightcliff will only have half of the Butcher boys, with goalkicker John unavailable but hard working on-baller Danny – one of his side’s best in the win over Wanderers last week – will start this afternoon’s game.
The Nightcliff midfield of Faron James, Shaun Wilson and Jonathan “Boyo’’ Peris in company with follower Phillip Wills will give them plenty of drive.
That means the goalkicking will be left in the hands of the competition’s leading goalkicker Trent Melville and smart movers Liam Holt-Fitz and Michael Hagan, the former Buffalo.
Much interest will centre on the ruck duels.
Tigers Jonno Miles and Hugo Drogemuller will go in against Westerberg to decide who gets their hands on the football.
Waratah's Zach Westerberg (leaping, left) will play a crucial role for his team against the Tigers today