MATCH PREVIEW: Canberra v NT Thunder

By MADDY McCASKILL


Canberra welcome the NT Thunder to the Capital tomorrow night. Photo: Jacob Gaynor

NEAFL ROUND 11


Canberra Demons (5th) v NT Thunder (9th) at UNSW Canberra Oval, 6.30pm *This match will be streamed live on ThunderVision (youtube.com/territorythunder) *Live Champion Data statistics available on the Official NEAFL App


SUMMARY


Let’s hope NT Thunder brings the heat down south as they face Canberra Demons this weekend in the nation’s capital. For the first time in Demons history, they will be fighting for their fourth straight win which will see them hold their place in the top six.


On the other side, Thunder are coming off a disappointing 37-point loss to Aspley and are slogging through the season with only three wins under their belt.


Canberra have been proving each week their young side is more than capable of bringing the pressure and similarly, NT started strong but have not strayed too far from the rest keeping their losses to an average 44 points.


It’s halfway through the season which means it’s crucial for both teams to be playing their best footy. This is if Demons want a chance to make history and NT a bid to turn their season around.


RECENT ENCOUNTERS


Round 12, 2017: NT Thunder 21.16 (142) d Canberra Demons 7.9 (51) at UNSW Canberra Oval Round 6, 2017: Canberra Demons 12.10 (82) d NT Thunder 10.17 (77) at TIO Stadium Round 18, 2016: Canberra 15.14 (104) d NT Thunder 15.7 (97) at UNSW Canberra Oval


TALKING POINTS


1. The Demons pride themselves on their pressure which is reflected in their ability to create turnovers from their tackling. They are currently ranked third in the competition averaging 71.4 tackles per game and have shown their strength and speed in taking down their opponents. They defensively strong across the field and NT Thunder will have to be quick to get away.


2. It’s hard not to ignore this may be unfamiliar territory for the Thunder playing in the middle of winter in Canberra, with temperatures set to plummet to five degrees by match time. While it’s going to be difficult, it is not impossible which they proved last time they came to Canberra scoring a 91-point victory over the Demons. If they can forget about the weather and play the footy they know how to, they could come out on top.


3. Thunder’s full-forward, Darren Ewing will have all eyes on him as his 600th NEAFL carer goal is right in reach. He is currently sitting on 595 and was able to kick five in their loss to Aspley last week. It could be a massive day for Thunder if Ewing achieves the milestone and if the rest of the team can deliver on the scoreboard.


ROOKIE WATCH


Speaking of Darren Ewing, it will be a big night for young defender Alex Paech if he gets the job on ‘Boof’. The 18-year-old has been responsible for playing on the opposition’s best forwards at times during the season, including Gold Coast’s Peter Wright and Brisbane’s Josh Walker. Another good performance to his name would put him in contention for a Tribal Sport NEAFL Rising Star nomination.


STATS THAT MATTER


NT Thunder are ranked last in the competition for contested possessions and contested marks averaging 128.1 and seven respectively per game. Canberra average 139.4 and 9.3 per game, which puts them on the other end of the scale. This could be a huge advantage if Demons can deliver with their pressure on the day as contested possessions are vital and have helped them take control of the clearances in the past.


PREDICTION


Canberra by 14 points.

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