By JESS WEBSTER

 

NEAFL ROUND 4

Redland Bombers (9th) v NT Thunder (6th) at Tidbold Park, 1.30pm
*This match will be streamed live on ThunderVision (youtube.com/territorythunder)
*This match will be replayed on NITV on Tuesday at 9.30pm
*Live Champion Data statistics available on the Official NEAFL App

 

SUMMARY

Redland will be searching for their first win this season when they host NT Thunder in the NEAFL’s annual ANZAC round showpiece match at Tidbold Park on Saturday afternoon. The Bombers haven’t been able to find consistency in their opening round matches, losing to Canberra (21), Gold Coast (92) and Sydney University (57). Meanwhile, NT Thunder has had mixed results, dishing out a 57-point thrashing to Aspley in Round 1 before losing a rare match at home to Brisbane (26) points.

Both sides will go into this clash confident of coming home with a win – the Bombers have never lost to NT Thunder by more than three goals at home, and NT Thunder will be fresh after a bye last week. It will be a good test for NT Thunder’s young brigade travelling for the first time this season, while the Bombers need to win these crucial games at home if they want to play finals footy in 2017.

Check out the full teams here.

RECENT ENCOUNTERS

Round 16, 2016: NT Thunder 10.15 (75) d Redland 9.9 (63) at Tidbold Park.
Round 9, 2016: Redland 11.13 (79) d NT Thunder 7.10 (52) at Traeger Park (Alice Springs).
Round 4, 2016: NT Thunder 10.9 (69) d Redland 5.15 (45) at TIO Stadium.

TALKING POINTS

1. NT Thunder were smashed in disposals by Brisbane in Round 2 (393-263) but only lost by 16 points. Their ability to score quickly, and efficiently, from turnovers is one of their biggest weapons. Redland has turned the ball over to their opposition far too often to start the season, and they cannot afford to play into NT Thunder’s hands this weekend.

2. Cameron Ilett has added another string to his bow this year by playing off half-back, which not only shows his ability to adapt to a new role with ease, but also the confidence NT Thunder coach Andrew Hodges has in other players to fill his midfield role. The inclusion of Matt Rosier to the side this week will add extra fire in Thunder’s engine room, and expect the diminutive on-baller to set the tone in the middle of the ground.

3. Based on form, Redland won’t go in to this match as favourites to win. But they do have the ability to match up quite well against NT Thunder. The twin towers of Jackson Paine and Sam Michael up forward, the experience of Adrian Williams and Peter Yagmoor in defence, and ruckman Craig Malone, provide great structure. If the Bombers can use the pace of Aaron Christensen and get big performances from midfielders Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds, Damian Steven and Clay Cameron, they are every chance for an upset victory.

ROOKIE WATCH

Draft prospect Tony Olango will play his first match for NT Thunder since injuring his knee in November. The Kenyan-born 201cm ruckman was selected in the Under-18 Allies side to compete in the National Division 1 Championships last year, and boasts plenty of raw talent sure to catch the eye this weekend.

STATS THAT MATTER

NT Thunder has never lost at Tidbold Park in five matches dating back to the 2012 season. They’ve never beaten Redland at the venue by more than three goals, with an average winning margin of just 11 points.

PREDICTION

Redland by 3 points.

 

 

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