Port Seniors, Sawtell Women into GF

Port Macquarie Magpies have broken a three year duopoly and will make their first Grand Final appearance in the Senior grade since 2015.

The last three Grand Finals have been local derbies featuring Coffs Harbour Breakers and Sawtell Toormina Saints but the Magpies ensured this run wouldn’t stretch to a fourth year when they dispatched the Saints in the Preliminary Final.

Port were comfortably in control by half time, holding a 32 point lead, and continued to look as though they were in control early in the third. Sawtell then had a period of dominance through the middle stages of the quarter where they controlled the play and made all the running but couldn’t take full toll on the scoreboard. The Saints kicked four consecutive behinds before they finally slotted a major, and it was this inaccuracy that cost them dearly. They headed to the last break trailing by 15 scoring shots to 16, but behind by 21 points due to their poor conversion rate.

Port lifted in the last term and were able to boot six goals to one to run away with the win by 51 points. Rather than take a toll, Port’s exertions in the previous week seemed to stand them in good stead to back up at the Stadium where the large ground and soft surface can be energy sapping.

Ryan Barnett, Braden Saggers, and Jesse Schmidt kicked three goals each for Port, while the team effort was rounded out by Kaleb Crowhurst with two.

For Sawtell, Will Christopher kicked three goals, Angus Anderson had two, and Jonah Horan chimed in with one to round out their scoring.

Port Macquarie Magpies 15.9 (99) defeated Sawtell Toormina Saints 6.12 (48)

The Women’s match between Coffs Harbour Breakers and Sawtell Toormina Saints was ferocious from beginning to end. Both team’s attack on the ball was relentless with neither outfit prepared to give an inch.

Saints were up for the contest right from the offing and were able to kick the first two goals of the match to hold a handy 11 point quarter time lead. Breakers started to exert more influence late in the opening term and were able to extend this into an ascendancy for much of the second term, kicking the only goal of the quarter to narrow the lead to just four points at the long break.

Breakers kicked the first goal of the third term to put their noses in front for the first time but the Saints soon countered to reclaim the lead.

The last quarter started with Sawtell holding a three point lead and it looked as though they would pull away when they kicked the opening goal of the quarter, but Breakers responded with 10 minutes still to play and it was game well and truly on. If the tackling had been fierce to that stage it went up another notch from that point. Try as they might, neither team could find open space or a target inside 50m as play went from end to end. Sawtell had a late chance to seal the win but could only manage a behind from a set shot in front of goal but that was enough to round out a four point win in an absolute nail biter.

The Saints have peaked at the right time after struggling all season with injuries and have earnt the right to defend the Premiership they won last year. Keira Basset kicked two goals, with Justine Bowman and Rachael Green contributing one each.

Breakers bow out of the Finals in straight sets but their effort and endeavour can’t be questioned. Katika Adams, Danielle Watson, and Bec Goodenough each kicked one goal on a day when just one more was needed but couldn’t be found.

Sawtell Toormina Saints 4.2 (26) defeated Coffs Harbour Breakers 3.4 (22)

A report on the Reserve Grade and Under 17 Semi Finals will appear online on Tuesday (3 September).

For full results click here.