Classic Day of Senior rep footy

Honours were shared across the two Senior representative matches in what was a fantastic display of the best features of AFL in Northern NSW.

The North Coast Force Women’s team easily won the inaugural representative match against AFL North West on the scoreboard, however this didn’t do justice to the effort or enthusiasm by the North West Women who never dropped their heads despite the mounting scoreline.

The opening exchanges were very willing with both teams going hard at the ball in an attempt to grab the early advantage. North Coast Force fired the opening salvo with Britt Hargreaves slotting a long range effort. This was followed by goals to Maggie Mills, Keira Basset , and Katika Adams to see the Force hold a handy five goal lead at the first break.

This set the tone for the remainder of the match with the speed, cohesion, and superior skill level of the North Coast Force team proving too powerful.

The Force added a further eight goals through the remainder of the match and, despite sustained late pressure, managed to hold AFL North West scoreless. Full forward Keira Bassett led the scoring with an impressive haul of six goals for the Force.

Cass Ronalds was declared best afield for the Force with her foot speed and ferocious tackling seeing her exert immense forward pressure whilst also winning significant amounts of the ball whilst in the midfield.

For North West, young Kyla Hamilton brought her state team form to the contest and was adjudged to be the best performer on the day.

North Coast Force Women 12.10 (82) defeated AFL North West Women 0.0 (0)

The Men’s match was a much closer affair that was highlighted by fast skillful passages interspersed by strong physical contests. Ultimately the big bodied players from the North West proved too strong for the North Coast Force Men, claiming a 30 point victory.

North West were the first to hit the scoreboard with goals to Dave Richards and Ben Ellis, before the Force steadied with one of their own through Nick Stanlan-Velt.

North West were never headed throughout the match but the Force stuck to the task to trail by two goals at the first break and three goals at half time.

Early in the third quarter the Force got a run on and looked as though they would mount a serious challenge as their general play clicked and the North West players seemed to tire on the big Stadium surface. However turnovers from kicking errors really hurt the Force as every time they started to threaten they kicked the ball to the opposition.

North West rallied to repel the tide with the Force only managing to claw the lead back by two points.

In the last quarter the Force pushed hard but lacked composure as the clock wound down. North West continued to play the consistent footy that had served them so well to that point to seal the win and retain the shield for the first time in memory.

For North West, Nathan Vaisey continued his impressive club form to be awarded the medal for best on ground for his team. Angus Quail was the leading goal kicker with six, while Mikey Gould contributed five goals.

For the North Coast Force, Luke Matthews proved there’s plenty of life in the old body when he claimed his second Paul Sheldon Medal as best on ground in the past three years. Captain Luke Stanford battled strongly all day and was a leading possession winner, while Nick Stanlan-Velt was the key target up forward with five goals.

AFL North West Men 15.7 (97) defeated North Coast Force 10.7 (67)

The representative focus now turns to the Juniors where the Under 13, Under 15, Under 17, and Youth Girls teams of North Coast, North West, Central Coast, Hunter, Coast, and Northern Rivers will battle it out at the Northern NSW Carnival in Coffs Harbour on Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 July.