Finals fever is starting to build for Juniors
A sensational home and away season of Junior footy is set to go to another level on Sunday when the competition reaches the Semi Final stage.
With the winners of all Semis progressing through to the Grand Final the following Sunday there’s plenty at stake for all sixteen competing teams.
In the Under 11 age group the undefeated Port Flyers take on Finals debutants South West Rocks Dockers, whilst Coffs Harbour Breakers and Sawtell Toormina Saints face each other in a local derby.
The Flyers showed last week that they can be ruthless when they need to be, dispatching their club mates and bringing their own Finals hopes to an end. The Dockers are the feel good story of the season, being the club’s first team into a Finals Series in its fourth year of existence.
There is a healthy rivalry between the Breakers and Saints that stems from being such near neighbours. Both teams are excited by the prospect of progressing to the Grand Final, and getting there by beating their local rival would be a bonus!
The Under 13 Finals are dominated by the Port Macquarie club which has supplied three of the four combatants in an unbelievable effort. Coffs Harbour Breakers are the only team that stands in the way of the season decider being an all Port affair.
The only thing that is certain in the 2021 Semis is that one Port team will bow out, with Port Swoopers and Port Bombers up against each other. The Swoopers have lost only once this season and go in as favourites to progress, but the Bombers are a strong outfit that knows they can win if they play at their best.
Port Flyers suffered only their second loss of the season last week to finish one place off the top of the ladder. The only match of the season between these opponents saw a narrow six point win to the Flyers in a great indication of how even the Semi is likely to be. With two strong wins to finish the season, the Breakers are not only in good form, their confidence is also high.
In the Youth Girls competition, Grafton Tigers look to face the biggest challenge of any team involved in a Semi when they take on the unbeaten Sawtell Toormina Saints. However, there’s nothing the Tigers love more than being underdogs and will look to their older girls who have gained experience playing Women’s footy this season to set the tone. The Saints are still smarting from last season’s Grand Final loss and are looking to atone for that this season, starting with the Tigers.
The other match sees reigning Premiers Bellingen Bulldogs up against Coffs Harbour Breakers in what is likely to be a tight tussle. The Breakers are yet to claim a victory over Bellingen in 2021 but know that there’s no better time than a Semi to chalk up a win. The Bulldogs will be desperate to give themselves the chance to defend their title in the big dance and will be primed for a big effort.
There should be two great matches in the Under 15 age group, with all four teams having been extremely competitive throughout the season.
Port Macquarie Magpies host Bellingen Bulldogs and will have been stung by last week’s surprise loss at home. They will be keen to bounce back in the best possible way but have already had one close match with the Dogs this season and will be expecting another. At full strength, Bellingen can match it with any team and the depth of their line-up will be their key to the match.
In the other match, Nambucca Valley Lions are at home to Coffs Harbour Breakers in what shapes to be a beauty. Both teams are in great form and sealed their spots in the Finals with strong wins last week. Both teams have won multiple matches this season by less than a goal so both are well equipped if this match goes down to the wire as expected.
The schedule for the Semi Finals on Sunday 8 August is as follows:
Semi Final 1 (1st v 4th) – Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie, Sunday 8 August
10:55am Under 11 Port Macquarie Flyers v South West Rocks Dockers
12:20pm Under 13 Port Macquarie Swoopers v Port Macquarie Bombers
1:45pm Under 15 Port Macquarie Magpies v Bellingen Bulldogs
Semi Final 2 (2nd v 3rd) – EJ Biffin Playing Fields, Nambucca Heads, Sunday 8 August
9:30am Under 11 Coffs Harbour Breakers v Sawtell Toormina Saints (Eastern Oval)
10:55am Under 13 Port Macquarie Flyers v Coffs Harbour Breakers (Eastern Oval)
10:55am Youth Girls Bellingen Bulldogs v Coffs Harbour Breakers (Western Oval)
12:20pm Youth Girls Sawtell Toormina Saints v Grafton Tigers (Western Oval)
1:45pm Under 15 Nambucca Valley Lions v Coffs Harbour Breakers (Western Oval)
The Grand Finals will be played at C.ex Coffs International Stadium on Sunday 15 August. Ticketing and live streaming details will be made available next week.