Saints and Tigers to bookend Senior Grand Final day
The Under 17 Grand Final could be a preview of the top grade, not just because it’s the same two teams competing in Sawtell Toormina Saints and Grafton Tigers, but because many of the players will be doubling up in both matches.
Whilst both clubs will be desperate for the win to set the tone for the later match, they’ll be every bit as desperate to ensure that their players get through in one piece.
Sawtell completed the home and away season without dropping a match and are expected to keep that run going. There was a similar optimism 12 months ago before Breakers sprang a huge surprise on that day, but the Saints will have learnt hugely valuable lessons from the experience and will be well placed to ensure that lightning doesn’t strike twice.
The core of this group has been together for many years through the Junior ranks and are a well drilled outfit. Whilst many will look to players such as Angus Anderson and Ronan Singleton who will double up in Seniors, it’s the evenness of performance across the park that contributes much to the team’s success. Players such as Brayden Bowen, Hamish Anderson, Jaymus Troutman, Tate Frost, and Will Lloyd form a key backbone of the team, whilst the addition of Harrison Lee and Kyan Upsall from Bellingen has added extra depth and quality.
The core of the Grafton team were last season’s Premiers in the Under 15 age group and will know they have to be at their best to add the older age group to their list of titles. Much of the responsibility will fall to Mikey Luxton, Jye Boehme, Ned O’Neill, Alby Popko, Nico Wheaton, and Noah Swarski who are all in the frame for the Senior grade, so will be looking for help from players such as key forward Harry Anderson and speedster Tom Mullins to share the load.
The key to this clash could well be which of the playing groups is best in the moment and isn’t thinking ahead to the Seniors clash. In round 8 of this season the Saints claimed a four point win and this match could well be equally as close.
The Under 17 Grand Final is at 10:00am on Saturday 10 October at C.ex Coffs International Stadium, with gates opening at 9:00am. Tickets must be pre-purchased through the Eventbrite website.
Previews of the Women’s and Seniors Grand Finals will appear online tomorrow.