Northern Territory has capped off a successful NAB AFL U18 Championships campaign by defeating Tasmania in the final game to claim the Division Two title. It was the Territory’s first championship win since 2004.
The Thunder overcame an early deficit to rebound and win the match 9.9 (63) to 5.9 (39). NT kicked off its championships in fine style with a massive upset win over eventual Division One title winners Victoria Metro. The young Territorians showed promising signs in their loss to South Australia a fortnight later and would go on to demolish NSW/ACT by over 80 points in their first game against a Division Two side. A disappointing loss to Queensland the following week failed to kill the side’s momentum and it was do-or-die against Tasmania. The four goal win was a reward for the Thunder’s hard work as they claimed its first championship title in eight years.
Jake Neade starred for the Territory getting plenty of the ball and applying great defensive and tackling pressure. Neade was one of the main stars for the Territory side throughout the championships and he was rewarded by winning HC Harrison Medal by being judged the best player in Division Two. Neade also gained selection in the All-Australian side. He was named on the interchange while coach Brenton Toy was given the honour of being named as the All-Australian coach. Several other players did their draft chances no harm by producing good football throughout the five championship games. It will be a nervous wait until the November draft and many of these footballers will hope to produce good football with the NT Thunder side in the NEAFL competition.
By – Jackson Clark