Buffs show courage to upset Crocs in boilover O’Sullivan leads the way in ruck
Dennis has Magpies focused on rare finals berth
DARWIN Buffaloes stormed back into premiership contention with a gutsy 16-point win over flag favourites Southern Districts at TIO Stadium last night.
Led by a magnificent defence and a never-say-die attitude, Darwin booted the last six goals of the match to beat the reigning premiers by 16 points.
Ruckman Ryan O’Sullivan continued his stellar season with a best on ground performance and 45-year-old Darryl White got three goals.
White said the heart of the Buffaloes was still pumping strongly under the coaching of Matt Campbell.
“This club’s got a big heart and always show a lot, it was fantastic to get up like that,’’ he said.
Districts had the better of the first quarter, booting a goal in the first two minutes through Michael Mummery on the way to 20-point lead.
It was not all smooth sailing for the reigning premiers, inform small forward Dean Staunton left the ground on a stretcher after colliding with Buffalo Liam Philpott and Sam Smith (knee) limped off.
A snapped goal by veteran White was the first score of the second quarter, coming after some heavy work by Jalen Clarke and Cameron Stokes.
Will Farrer’s soccer effort bounced through to give Districts their first score of the second term and a 17-point lead.
Charlie McAdam drifted forward to snap a clever goal with the outside of his boot and the busy Lee Dale marked and goaled to stretch the lead to 29 points.
It was White who stepped up again midway through the third term when he took a mark on an angle and steered it through before Chris Willi- PALMERSTON big man Matthew Dennis knows his side can do some serious damage in the NTFL finals.
But getting there is the main task in front of his side ahead of the Christmas break in the 2018-19 NTFL season.
Out of the finals since 2009-10, the Magpies are sixth on the Premier League ladder but only 20 percentage points behind fifth-placed St Mary’s.
Today’s clash against fourth-placed Waratah at Gardens Oval provides another litmus test for a Magpie side fresh from an upset win over free flowing Darwin Buffaloes.
A win today and Palmer- BUFFALOES V STH DISTRICTS BEST 1.1 3.4 5.7 11.8 4.3 7.4 7.8 8.10 GOALS UMPIRES ams ran on to a clever O’Sullivan handball and kicked the Buffs’ second goal in a minute.
Districts did kick the first goal of the last quarter when a long right-foot snap from Will Farrer was shepherded through.
But that 19-point lead was reduced to one in the next three minutes when Chris Williams, Ryan O’Sullivan from a long way out and White from a clever mark and a 50m penalty kicked goals. ston could be in the top five with seven games remaining after the Christmas break, placing them in a lofty position after years in the doldrums.
Dennis, a colossus in the ruck for the Magpies since their opening-round win over Tahs, wants another big effort from his teammates today.
“A big second half of the season will get us into the finals and we’re definitely playing well enough to get there,’’ he told the Sunday Territorian.
“We played some really good running football against the Buffaloes without Alwyn Davey and Aaron Lonergan and that says a lot for the club as a whole.
“It hasn’t been an easy road for us. Ten games into the season we’ve played the top three sides twice, which means we should have a slightly easier run from now on.’’
Dennis finally convinced Bundoora teammate Josh Grabowski to make the trek north on Saturday and Magpie officials were mightily impressed by his performance.
“I’ve been trying to get him up here for four years and what you saw on Saturday night is what he is capable of,’’ a beaming Dennis said.
And his own form? “The sore knee is responding pretty well to treatment and I’m contributing something to the team, that’s all I’m concerned about,” he said.
Districts star Jared Brennan in the clear at TIO Stadium
Matthew Dennis battles against Waratah’s Zack Westerberg
Buffaloes’ Chris Williams