It was the NT Thunder of old at TIO Stadium on Saturday afternoon as a flurry of goals in the final term paved the way for a comfortable 70-point win over Redland.
The floodgates opened as Thunder’s trademark run and carry came to the fore.
Redland were within 21 points at the start of the last term until NT Thunder put on the afterburners, booting the next eight in a row in a classic finish to a 18.14 (122) to 8.7 (55) victory.
As predicted, little separated the sides early as the Bombers cling to a remote finals chance, with only 11 points the difference at quarter-time.
But the second quarter belonged to NT Thunder champion Cameron Ilett, who rose to the occasion in vintage style to break the match open in the home side’s favour.
His move into the forward line sparked three second-quarter goals, the first coming at the 17-minute mark before two in two minutes brought the crowd to its feet.
First, Ilett shrugged off an opponent for a contested mark, and from the following centre bounce, took a diving mark in the goal square to push the margin out to a commanding 39-point lead at half-time.
Needing a spark to bring themselves back in to the match, Redland responded in the third to shut down NT Thunder’s run, kicking three goals to one to bring the margin back to a manageable 27 at three-quarter time.
Jackson Paine’s third to start the last gave them a sniff, but from there the floodgates opened as Thunder’s trademark run and carry came to the fore, broken up only by Paine’s fourth in the dying stages of the match.
Ilett was again superb for his side with fellow midfielder Matt Rosier important in the clinches. Sam Smith and young guns Davin Ferreira and Nick Yarran were lively, while captain Shannon Rioli kicked two last-quarter majors in his 100th club match ahead of his 100th NEAFL match next week.
Bombers defender Adrian Williams again impressed for Redland for the second week in a row, ably supported by Adam Boon,
Paine and Clay Cameron (one goal) were focal points in attack, and defender Peter Yagmoor was solid in his return to the side.
NT Thunder face rivals Aspley at TIO Stadium next week, while Redland head down the highway to take on Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
NT Thunder v Redland Bombers at TIO Stadium
NT THUNDER 4.3 9.7 10.10 18.14 (122)
REDLAND 2.4 3.4 6.7 8.7 (55)
GOALS – NT Thunder: C Ilett 3, T Olango 2, S Rioli 2, N Yarran 2, D Ewing 2, H Drogemuller 2, J Shannahan, S Talbot, D Ferreira, B McLean, M Coombes. Redland: J Paine 4, D Steven, C Cameron, J Huddy, B Rees.
BEST – NT Thunder: C Ilett, M Rosier, S Smith, D Ferreira, N Yarran, S Rioli. Redland: A Williams, A Boon, J Paine, C Cameron, P Yagmoor.