Which Junior teams will claim Grand Final glory?
The stage is set for a great day of AFL action when the Junior Grand Finals showcase the future of footy in the region.
There is one certainty on the day – Port Macquarie Magpies will take home the Under 11 trophy. But will it be the Swoopers or the Flyers that lift the cup at game’s end? The Swoopers are undefeated in 2019 and go into the match with favouritism upon them. It just remains to be seen how they will manage the dual effect of a week’s rest and the pressure that goes with expectation.
The Flyers were excellent last week and really stood up when it was most needed. Their best game is good enough to get the victory but there is little margin for error against the Swoopers.
The Under 13 Grand Final represents the first of two chances that the Bellingen Bulldogs have to claim their first Premiership since 2006. The Doggies club has more than doubled in size in the last four years to field teams in all four grades and a premiership is the last piece in the puzzle. With the Under 13 team finishing in top spot on the ladder and being the first team to qualify for the Grand Final they are well placed to achieve their lofty goal.
Nambucca Valley Lions are the team standing in their way in the Under 13 competition. The Lions are looking to add this title to last year’s Under 11 flag to complete what would be an incredible double for a club in just its third year in the competition.
The Youth Girls match-up is between Grafton Tigers and Bellingen Bulldogs.
In the three seasons of Youth Girls footy the Tigers have played in all three Grand Finals but are yet to taste victory. Coming off an undefeated season, this is their best chance to claim glory, and would be a fitting end to the Youth Girls age group for a couple of older players who move into Women’s footy next season.
The Bulldogs have enjoyed an incredible first season in the Youth Girls competition, making it all the way to the Grand Final. They continue to improve week on week, with the Preliminary Final performance their best to date. They go into this match as the underdogs but will play without fear and could spring a big surprise.
The Under 15 sees a re-match of last year’s Grand Final between Grafton Tigers and Sawtell Toormina Saints. Roles will be reversed this season with Grafton going into the match undefeated and as firm favourites. The Tigers are a big, strong, mobile team that has a relentless attack on the footy and will take some stopping.
Sawtell have a well structured game plan that can cause the Tigers problems. The key question is whether the Saints can match the physicality of their opponents to win enough possession to allow the game plan to take effect.
A fundraiser will be conducted at the Grand Final where donations will go to drought affected farmers in the North West of the state. AFL North Coast has a long association with AFL North West NSW and any help we can give to a region that is gripped by the worst drought in generations will be greatly appreciated. Please look for donations tins at the main entry, cafe, and canteen and give whatever you can manage.
Grand Finals – Sunday 25 August, C.ex Coffs International Stadium
9:30am Under 11 – Port Macquarie Swoopers v Port Macquarie Flyers
11:10am Under 13 – Bellingen Bulldogs v Nambucca Valley Lions
12:50pm Youth Girls – Grafton Tigers v Bellingen Bulldogs
2:30pm Under 15 – Grafton Tigers v Sawtell Toormina Saints
Entry to the Stadium is by gold coin donation.