Sport

Tatura’s Sean Martin in NTFL grand final

By Alex Mitchell

The Top End’s biggest footballing showdown is tonight and a Goulburn Valley product will again be battling for premiership glory.

Tatura product Sean Martin will run out for Southern Districts in tonight’s Northern Territory Football League Premier grand final, as he has all season.

A Bulldog utility, whose magnet is thrust around on the clipboard so much it is deteriorating, Martin has locked down a key defensive role in the Crocs and will look to shut down a Nightcliff foe in tonight’s decider.

After taking the Tiwi Bombers to the cleaners in last week’s preliminary final to the tune of 120 points, Martin was raring to go as his club searches for a second consecutive flag.

‘‘We’ve been pretty excited this week and there’s been a great feeling at training,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s an opportunity to go back-to-back for the guys that played last year.

‘‘It would be great for me to finally win a senior premiership, but a few of the boys from last year, I think 10 to 12, are going for back-to-back, so there’s a bit of experience.’’

Martin found his way onto an NTFL list via Shepparton premiership player Nik Rokahr, with the Morrison medallist part of last season’s grand final-winning side.

‘‘A good mate of mine Nik Rokahr from the Shepp Bears, he played up here last year,’’ Martin said.

‘‘I played against him early last season and I got in contact with him after the game in the clubrooms and asked him about the experience and how you’d go about playing up here.

‘‘He was nice enough to give me (Crocs’ coach) Shannon Rusca’s contact and it all went from there.’’

Martin has played every game with the side this season and said living there rather than flying in for each game had been crucial in helping him get used to the hot conditions.

The Crocs piled on 11 final quarter goals to smash the Bombers last weekend and will need to harness all of that momentum to see off Nightcliff tonight, which beat them by 90 points a month ago.

‘‘The prelim was pretty extraordinary to be honest, everyone played for each other,’’ Martin said.

‘‘We’d lost to them two weeks before which was pretty devastating, we’d gone in confident but unfortunately they ran through us.

‘‘Last week we tried to rectify that and we didn’t take our foot off the pedal. The main focus was attack, attack, attack.

‘‘(The Nightcliff) game was one to forget, but I also think it’s a good opportunity to learn where we went wrong.

‘‘We had quite a few out but we can’t rely on them making the difference, it’s gonna take a full team effort.’’

The NTFL Premier League grand final kicks off tonight at 8.45pm. Nightcliff’s line-up includes new Tongala signing Cam Illett, as well as former Blue Chris Baksh, who is the coach.