Round 4 is all about the needs
The early season, “finding the feet” period is over. Each team has played every other team once and this week’s round is about what each team needs.
Sawtell Toormina Saints sit atop the ladder with three wins from as many matches. Spirits are high, but they did escape a bullet against Grafton last week, leaving it until the last quarter to hit the front. The Saints need to get back to stringing four quarter performances together if they want to keep their winning streak going.
Port Macquarie Magpies had a slow start in round one, a strong win against Grafton in round 2, then flexed their muscle last week to draw attention as possible premiership contenders. The Magpies currently have momentum going for them and need to keep this going if they want to instill a sense of belief within the playing group.
Sawtell beat Port in round one on their home patch where they played the conditions better. Sawtell will be looking to the return of Mitch Napier who was a prime mover in the first two rounds to give them better direction around the forward line, whilst Port are likely to be without the talismanic Jesse Schmidt for this match and will be looking to the rest of the team to step up and cover his absence.
Coffs Breakers find themselves in the unexpected position of having won one match and lost two. They need to get back on track with a win to ensure they maintain contact with the ladder leaders. The Breakers have too much quality across the park to be down for long, but will want to ensure they turn things around quickly.
Grafton Tigers looked to have turned a corner last round, nearly upsetting Sawtell when they lead at the last break. The Tigers desperately need to put in another good performance to prove to themselves that last week wasn’t a fluke. If the Tigers can compete in this manner again the first win of the season won’t be far away.
Breakers are back at home this week and this should the key to the match against Grafton. Poor kicking at goal was a problem for the Breakers last time out and is an aspect that coach Kevin Wilson will be sure to have worked on at training through the week.
The Tigers were good at home last week with a close to full strength line-up, led well by Chris Curthoys and Luke Stanford, but need to prove they can get the team to travel and deliver the performance away from Ellem Oval.
In the Women’s competition, Port Macquarie recorded their first win of the season last week and will be looking to atone for the round 1 loss to Sawtell. The Saints have been the form team of the competition to date but are coming off the bye and will need to click back into gear quickly.
Travel holds the key to this match, with Port needing a full team to really exert pressure as the Saints have excellent numbers and depth.
Round 4 fixtures – Saturday 12 May
Sawtell Toormina Saints v Port Macquarie Magpies at Richardson Park, Sawtell (Under 17 at 10:00am, Women at 11:50am, Reserves at 1:20pm, Seniors at 2:50pm)
Coffs Breakers v Grafton Tigers at Fitzroy Oval, Coffs Harbour (Masters at 11:00am, Under 17 at 12:30pm, Seniors at 2:20pm)
For full fixture details, click here.