St Mary’s have won the 2021/22 NTFL Men’s Premier League grand final, defeating Waratah 15.10 (100) to 10.5 (65) at TIO Stadium on Saturday night.
With the victory St Mary’s, which is renowned for its connection with the Rioli and Long families and is the NTFL’s most successful club, has won 33 premierships in 69 years in the league.
St Mary’s came into the match having lost the past two NTFL grand finals, and in last year’s decider were only six seconds away from winning the premiership.
Saturday night’s match was brutal at times and close for a half. Waratah even jumped out to an early three-goal-to-nothing lead, but St Mary’s kicked 10 goals to two in the second and third quarters to record a comfortable victory.
St Mary’s forward Calder was awarded the Chaney Medal for the best player on the ground for his four-goal performance. In the past two NTFL grand finals, Calder has kicked 10 goals.
Calder, a burly spearhead that resembles a full forward from a bygone era, would be one of the purest players at that position around the country.
All night Calder tormented the Waratah defence, which seemed powerless as his outstretched hands led up to St Mary’s ball-carriers.
He could have kicked more if he stuck some marks he normally would have taken.
St Mary’s Jack Kluske kicked three, Dylan Landt was typically damaging and Justin Robinson, who added two goals, was one of the premiers’ best on the night.
Corey Rich kicked three for Waratah.
The highlights of the night came back-to-back, when Waratah livewire Kurtley Silver snapped a brilliant goal after following up his play 100 metres up the ground.
Moments later, St Mary’s answered through Joseph Salmon, who somehow parted two Waratah defenders and snapped a rousing goal from 40 metres out on an acute angle.
By half time, St Mary’s had flipped a 13-point quarter-time deficit into a 13-point lead.
The eventual premiers put the foot to the throat in the third quarter, kicking out to a 37-point margin before trading goals with Waratah in the final quarter.
“You were far too good for us tonight,” Waratah coach Ryan Ayres said to the St Mary’s players after the match.
St Mary’s coach Anthony Vallejo said Waratah could be proud of their season and thanked people at St Mary’s for their contributions through the campaign.
He also thanked his mum. “She’s been the rock of this family [and] she loves the footy club,” he said.
Earlier in the night the Darwin Buffettes won the NTFL Women’s Premier League grand final, defeating Nightcliff Tigers by 18 points.
St Mary’s: 1.1 6.3 11.5 15.10 (100)
Waratah: 3.2 4.2 5.4 10.5 (65)