Blues flex pre-finals muscle
NORTHERN Beaches tuned up for the finals with a hard fought but convincing win over Port Macquarie.
The Blues kicked two goals in each quarter to secure a 41-point win but Port made them work hard for it.
Coach Adrian Roberts said the Blues showed some positive signs which are coming at the right time of the season.
“We started off a bit slowly and fumbled a little bit but when we didn’t fumble, we showed that we can transition the ball from one end to the other really well,” Roberts said.
“It was a good hitout before the finals start and now we’ve got a week off. We’ve just got to keep getting ourselves ready for the tough opposition we’re about to play.”
The Magpies were chasing a finals berth themselves and again defended strongly. Port’s co-coach Kye Taylor said the willingness of the group to give their all when they don’t have the ball is a credit to the women.
“All year our pressure around the ball has been really good. I think we lack a bit of outside run at times and our skills still need some refining but that’s something we can teach, the skill work and stuff like that,” Taylor said.
“The pressure and the tackling is stuff that we can’t teach, that comes from within them and it is really good to see.”
For Port Macquarie there were two avenues to the finals for them. The direct route was knocking off the Blues but having failed to that, they were reliant on Sawtell/Toormina beating Grafton.
The Magpies coaches were being kept abreast of the scores from Ellem Oval through the match but didn’t tell the players until after the final siren that the Saints had done them a favour.
Taylor said it’s been a big journey from pre-season to this point for his team to become a finalist.
“From the start of the year I think we had two or three players that had played footy before to making the finals is a huge achievement,” he said.
PORT MACQUARIE 1.0 1.0 2.0 2.1 (13)
NORTHERN BEACHES 2.1 4.2 6.3 8.6 (54)
Goals – N.B: B. Schofield 2, G. Boyle 2, J. Midavaine, B. Hargreaves, E. Deckelmann, S. King. Port: C.Templeman, S.Hidson.
IN nine matches this year Sawtell/Toormina had an average score of 10 points per game. In the final match of the season it all clicked for the Saints as they kicked 9.8 (62) to end their season with a bang against Grafton.
Grafton needed to win to give itself a chance of sneaking into fourth position but from the get-go on Saturday it was Sawtell/Toormina who played with a grim determination.
So often in the first half the Saints were first to the ball and more desperate in the contest. The strong play resulted in the Saints kicking five goals to nil in the first half to almost end the match as a contest.
Grafton team manager Chris Goodall summed up the match succinctly: “Sawtell, particularly in the first half, simply wanted it more”.
Lilli-Yana Moody used both her run and damaging left foot with aplomb to kick three goals and be the catalyst for the big win.
GRAFTON 0.0 0.1 1.1 1.2 (8)
SAWTELL/TOORMINA 3.1 5.2 6.4 9.8 (62)
Goals – Saw: L.Moody 3, R.Minichilli, V.Schoeffel, C.Muir, M. O’Dwyer. Graf: L. Doyle.
AFL NORTH COAST FINALS SYSTEM
1st Semi Final (3rd vs 4th) – Winner to Preliminary Final, loser eliminated.
2nd Semi Final (1st vs 2nd) – Winner to Grand Final, loser to Preliminary Final.
Preliminary Final (Winner 1st Semi vs Loser 2nd Semi) – Winner to Grand Final, loser eliminated
Grand Final (Winner 2nd Semi vs Winner Preliminary)
SATURDAY, AUGUST 14
At C.ex Coffs International Stadium
11.30am – Under-17s 2nd Semi: Grafton vs Sawtell/Toormina
1.20pm – Reserves 1st Semi: Grafton vs Northern Beaches
2.50pm – Reserves 2nd Semi: Coffs Breakers vs Sawtell/Toormina
SATURDAY, AUGUST 21
At C.ex Coffs International Stadium
10.00am – Womens 2nd Semi: Coffs Breakers vs Northern Beaches
11.50am – Womens 1st Semi: Lismore Swans vs Port Macquarie
1.20pm – Seniors 2nd Semi: Coffs Breakers vs Sawtell/Toormina
3.30pm – Seniors 1st Semi: Lismore Swans vs Port Macquarie