Saints move into fourth spot
IT wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination but dogged determination by Sawtell/Toormina has them sitting inside the top four for the first time in 2021.
Sawtell/Toormina coach Bec Minichilli admits the result means that the Saints are now quietly starting to mention the ‘F word’ – finals.
“We do think about finals now. It’s been no secret that this year has always been about rebuilding our culture but I think while we’ve focused on rebuilding our culture we’ve almost forgotten about how good we could be,” Minichilli said.
“That game against Woopi (northern Beaches) a couple of weeks ago was a real turning point for us because even though we didn’t win we saw the standard that we can play at. Now we’re like ‘we can build our culture and win’.
“We feel like we’re stuck in a bit of a cheesy sports movie where we’re starting to turn it around and we’ll see if we can have a good run home.”
The windy conditions at Richardson Park saw the ball often camped on the eastern wing and there was just one goal kicked for the match between the Saints and Port Macquarie.
It was a fine goal though with Sawtell/Toormina’s emerging teen Lilli-Yana Moody collecting the ball just inside the centre square before going for a long run to get past two opponents and kick truly from 20 metres out.
It was much needed as the Magpies, who felt aggrieved throughout the match that they were on the wrong side of a series of 50:50 decisions, controlled territory in the first half but were unable to turn that advantage into scoreboard pressure.
The Saints coach said her girls simply hung in there and with a bit of tweaking to the game style, momentum shifted their way.
“I think the first half wasn’t to our standard at all, so to keep it up after half time I felt it was a really gutsy effort,” Minichilli said.
“I felt like we hung in there in the first half even though our skills weren’t where they were supposed to be but in the second half I think the girls dug in deep to work more as a team.
“From half way to our attacking 50 it was like no man’s land, there was no one in there in the first half and we really had to work on that linkage and once we got that in the third we played a lot better.”
SAWTELL/TOORMINA 0.0 0.0 1.2 1.3 (9)
PORT MACQUARIE 0.0 0.1 0.1 0.2 (2)
Goals – Saw: L.Moody. Port: Nil.
Swans still a chance for top-two finish
THE come from behind victory produced by the Lismore Swans means they’re still a chance of earning a double chance in the finals come the season’s end.
The Swans trailed Northern Beaches by five points at half time but came out strong in the third term to boot two goals to one to grab a two point lead.
In an tense, arm wrestle in the last quarter, it was the home team who managed to keep inside their attacking 50 metre arc for longer
“We started slowly but I was proud of the way the girls came out after half time,” Lismore Swans coach Ken McPherson said about his team.
“The girls maintained the structure for most of the match and in the second half they got the rewards for that.”
Both the Swans and the Blues are locked in a battle for second spot on the ladder. Both will play Sawtell/Toormina in the run home to the finals while Northern Beaches has a game in hand and that is in the last round when the Blues travel to Port Macquarie.
LISMORE SWANS 0.1 0.3 2.4 2.6 (18)
NORTHERN BEACHES 0.0 1.2 2.2 2.2 (14)
Goals – Lis: TBC. N.B: R.Bennett, S.King.
Breakers flex their muscle
THE Coffs Breakers were at their imperious best against Grafton.
Since being stung by the loss to Northern Beaches three weeks ago, the Breaker have played two hours of football and conceded just the one behind in that time.
On Saturday the Coffs team held Grafton scoreless while kicking 12 goals themselves – three in each quarter.
The consistent effort throughout the four quarters and across the oval pleased Breakers coach Brad Giri.
“I was really pleased with the effort. It was a four quarter effort,” Giri said.
A surprise leading goalkicker for the day was the Breakers’ usual full back Sarah Vidler. Vidler was moved forward and clearly enjoyed her run in attack kicking six goals.
Giri said there may be some more surprise moves when the Breakers play next in what will be their last match of the home and away season at Port Macquarie on July 31.
“We tried a few things like moving our full back to full forward and it worked well with Sarah kicking six. We’re trying a few things just in case we have to change anything in the finals,” he said.
COFFS BREAKERS 3.3 6.7 9.9 12.13 (85)
GRAFTON 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 (0)
Goals – Coffs: S.Vidler 6, D.Watson 2, C.Ronalds, B.Crawley, K.Griffith, T.Kachel. Graf: Nil.
CATCH-UP ROUND – Saturday, July 24
NORTHERN BEACHES vs SAWTELL/TOORMINA at Centennial Oval, Woolgoolga
(11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)
PORT MACQUARIE vs CASINO LIONS at Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie
(2.50pm – Seniors)
UNDER-17s CROSS CONFERENCE ROUND
GLEN INNES vs GRAFTON at King George V Oval, Glen Innes (10am)
INVERELL SAINTS vs SAWTELL/TOORMINA at Varley Oval, Inverell (10am)
COFFS BREAKERS vs TAMWORTH ROOSTERS at Fitzroy Oval/Old Camp, Coffs Harbour (11.30am)