Time for teams to step up – round 10 of Senior Competition

Photo: Deb Novak, Grafton Daily Examiner

The acid will be applied to several teams in round 10 of the AFL North Coast Senior Competition to determine whether they’re contenders or pretenders.

Port Macquarie Magpies take on the Grafton Tigers at Wayne Richards Oval in a match that is the second in run of three consecutive home games. Last week’s loss at home meant the impetus the Magpies hoped to generate is stalled and will know that they can’t let another opportunity slide by.

The Magpies need to win, and win well.

In the other change room, Grafton know they need to win if they are to be any chance of closing the gap on the ladder and grabbing a spot in the finals series. In that sense the long road trip to Port couldn’t have come at a worse time as the club is unlikely to be able to field its strongest team despite the return of several injured players.

The Tigers need a herculean effort to record what would be one of the great wins in the club’s history.

At Fitzroy Oval/The Old Camp, Coffs Harbour Breakers will be looking to back up their best win of the season with a victory over old enemy Sawtell Toormina Saints.

The Breakers have endured a stuttering title defence and haven’t been able to build any meaningful momentum. They are yet to beat Sawtell after three attempts in 2018 but had a strong win on the road in Port Macquarie last week in a performance that can set down a marker to build a really successful second half of the season upon.

Breakers need a win over the local rival to prove to themselves they can be a real threat come Finals time.

Sawtell are flying high, unbeaten after nine rounds, and with a relatively small injury list that sees them installed in the familiar position as premiership favourites. Despite the club’s familiarity with this scenario this is a new look team in 2018 and it’s up to the senior heads to lead the younger players through the pitfalls of being the hunted as they navigate the second half of the season.

The Saints need to keep their positive momentum going to ensure a successful season.

In the Women’s match between Coffs Harbour Breakers and Sawtell Toormina Saints, the Breakers will be desperately searching for that elusive first win.

The Breakers form line has been on a steady upward curve over the past month. Their key stumbling block has been slow starts, leaving themselves too much to do in the back end of games, but last week they matched it with the Magpies for the first three quarters in what was a great sign.

The Saints haven’t played for three weeks and Breakers will be hoping that their new found strong start to a match will allow them to catch the Saints cold.

Breakers need a win to prove to themselves that they can compete with the other teams.

Sawtell’s leaders were outstanding in the representative fixture played two weeks ago and will be chomping at the bit to get back on the park. Their skills have been silky all season but this could be tested if the wet weather remains and the match is played in greasy conditions.

Sawtell need to get back into their early season groove to lead the charge to the Finals.

Round 10 fixtures – Saturday 7 July

Port Macquarie Magpies v Grafton Tigers at Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie (Under 17 at 12:30pm, Seniors at 2:20pm)

Coffs Harbour Breakers v Sawtell Toormina Saints at Fitzroy Oval/The Old Camp, Coffs Harbour (Under 17  at 10:00am, Women at 11:50am, Reserves at 1:20pm, Seniors at 2:50pm)

For full fixture details, click here.