Blues challenging Breakers in top of the ladder clashes

Northern Beaches will need a strong performance from key defender Alana Hanson if the Blues are to get a win over Coffs Breakers. Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

FITZROY Oval will be the place to be for top of the ladder action in both the seniors and women’s competitions.

Northern Beaches travels into town on Saturday to face Coffs Breakers sides that are still undefeated after eight rounds of the 2021 AFL North Coast season.

Vying for the match of the day honours are the pair of encounters being played out at Wayne Richards Park. It will be third vs fourth in both the women’s and seniors matches at that venue where Port Macquarie will play host to the Lismore Swans.

The Magpies men find themselves locked in a neck-and-neck battle for fourth position on the ladder with Grafton and Sawtell/Toormina.

A win over the third-placed Swans would go a long way toward Port Macquarie winning that battle but coach Matt Clarke said looking toward the possibilities of what could be come final siren time is the last ting he wants his wants his players to focus on. Instead he wants them to think about the 100 minutes of football prior to that.

“I think it’s more important that we concentrate on the small steps in front of us rather than the leaps ahead,” Clarke said.

“Rather than thinking about staying in the top four it should be about quarter by quarter, even minute by minute and contest by contest. If that’s the focus then the result at the end will take care of itself.”

Last time the two teams met, the Swans won by 85 points but Clarke is sure this contest will be different.

“At training this week we’ve been working on what we can do about their key forwards and how we can nullify their scoring,” he explained.

“The good thing is we’re now starting to play against teams a second time and having had a look at them we can start to implement plans to go against what the other teams have instead of swinging in the breeze a little which is what we’ve been doing a little bit until now because of that unknown factor.”

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AFL North Coast leading goalkicker Andrew Baker flies high for the Lismore Swans in the Round 2 win over Port Macquarie. Photo: Adrian Etherson Photography

Coffs Breakers coach Kevin Wilson isn’t taking anything for granted despite his team’s lofty position on the ladder.

“We saw the Northern Beaches had a really good win over Grafton so we’re going to be up against it,” Wilson said.

One thing the Breakers have that’s an advantage according to their coach is the fact that his team is prepared for a tough battle due to the even nature of the competition.

“Every game other than really the Casino game has been a hard game so we’ve been pushed,” he said.

“It’s good that we’ve been overcoming those challenges and maintaining where we are on the ladder.

The Northern Beaches women are looking to overcome yet another challenge it’s failed to overcome so far.

Last week the Blues hit the 100 mark on the scoreboard for the first time, this time it’s trying to beat the Breakers for the first time.

Northern Beaches leadership group member Shania King said overcoming the team that beat them in last year’s grand final would be a giant stride toward reaching their season long goal.

“From last year our girls have come a long way and we’ve been working and working and working just to get our name on top,” King said.

“The Breakers are definitely our main competition and they know that.

“We’ve been trying our hardest to get past them and we’ve obviously shown that commitment at training.”

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ROUND 9 – Saturday, June 26

(10am – Under-17s [Breakers vs Grafton]; 11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)
(1.20pm – Women; 2.50pm – Seniors)
(2.50pm – Seniors)
(2.50pm – Seniors)
Note: Tamworth has forfeited its under-17s cross-conference match which was to be played against Sawtell/Toormina at Richardson Park.

Final scores from around the grounds will be posted on Twitter soon after the siren sounds in the senior matches – Follow @AFLNorthCoast