ANZAC round preview
Two mouth watering clashes headline round 3 of the AFL North Coast Senior competition, each having their own added significance.
Coffs Breakers and Sawtell Toormina Saints are the competition’s two unbeaten sides and will face off in the first local derby of the season. Not only are bragging rights up for grabs, so too is the chance to move a game clear at the top of the ladder and set the early pace in the premiership race. Both teams have been impressive in the early outings of the season and should be at full strength, making this a genuine test of where each club is at.
Last season’s corresponding fixture was the match of the season. Breakers battled back late in the fourth quarter to record a nail biting 2 point win, their first ever victory over the nearest neighbours. This result really took the rivalry to a new level.
Adding further significance to the match is Breakers are using it to pay tribute to the ANZACs by wearing a commemorative jumper that has been designed with the support of the C.ex Group and RSL Sub-Branch. These jumpers will be auctioned off at a post match function with all proceeds going to Legacy. Prior to the match a bugler will play the Last Post and a minute’s silence will be observed with the pre-match ceremonies scheduled for 1:45pm.
This continues the fantastic support that Breakers have shown for the community, having worn pink jumpers in each of the last two seasons and providing a significant donation to breast cancer research.
The second match of the round sees a rejuvenated Grafton Tigers play host to a Port Macquarie Magpies outfit that has struggled so far in 2017. Neither side has posted a win in 2017 and this match represents an outstanding opportunity for both clubs to get their season headed in the right direction.
Grafton showed massive improvement on Thursday night in their rescheduled match against the Breakers off the back of a number of key personnel inclusions. The big question for them is which team will show up on Saturday? Will it be the one that lost by almost 200 points to Sawtell, or will it be the one that took the match right to the Breakers? If it’s the latter, the Tigers are in with a huge chance of recording their first win since the 2015 season.
For Port Macquarie to record their first win of the season they not only need to contend with the long road trip to Grafton, they also need to overcome the loss of several key players. Both Jesse Schmidt and Kyle Lynch are out of the side due to work commitments, whilst Scott Dalton has representative coaching duties and will be unavailable. These would be big losses to cover for any team, but with Port already thin on the ground this makes a hard task even harder.
Last season Port travelled light to Grafton to play against Tweed Coast Tigers in the first ever round of Cross Competition footy. A hard fought and gutsy win following injuries to several players proved the catalyst to set up Port’s strong showing across the season and they’ll be hoping for a repeat performance on Saturday.
Round 3 fixtures:
Coffs Breakers v Sawtell Toormina Saints, Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park 1 (2:20pm)
Grafton Tigers v Port Macquarie Magpies, Ellem Oval, Grafton (2:20pm)