AFL North Coast action as Coffs Harbour Breakers edged Port Macquarie Magpies at Fitzroy Oval during round 4 of the competition on Saturday, August 8, 2020.
AFL North Coast action as Coffs Harbour Breakers edged Port Macquarie Magpies at Fitzroy Oval during round 4 of the competition on Saturday, August 8, 2020.

Familiar foes face off as AFL North Coast nears business end

NEARING the half way mark of the season the fixtures take on a very interesting twist as familiar faces back up for a second battle in seven days.

After the men’s competition had to be reworked in response to the ever changing landscape, Grafton Tigers will look to find a similar result to last week’s 11-point win over Sawtell Toormina Saints.

Heading back down south, Coffs Harbour Breakers could make it two on the trot after finally picking up a 29-point win against Port Macquarie Magpies last Saturday.

While a home game for Sawtell Toormina, the Saints have decided to hit the road again hosting the Tigers at Woolgoolga’s Centennial Oval, allowing the club to play all their senior games in one location.

The Grafton Tigers proved too strong in an upset over defending premiers Coffs Harbour Breakers in round one of the AFL North Coast season on Saturday, July 18. Photo: Brad Greenshields
The Grafton Tigers proved too strong in an upset over defending premiers Coffs Harbour Breakers in round one of the AFL North Coast season on Saturday, July 18. Photo: Brad Greenshields

Considering the Tigers’ victory in last week’s showdown it’s a big call by the Saints to forego home ground advantage.

The result represented the Saints first loss of the season, and first loss to the Tigers in many years, so coach Brandt Lee will want to make sure that it doesn’t become two in a row.

The Tigers are flying high, with three wins from four matches, and are already dreaming of a finals berth.

It’s a real boost for the competition to have the Tigers competing so strongly, and coach Adi Campbell and the key leaders won’t let the group’s focus wander beyond the next match.

The Breakers are feeling buoyed by breaking their duck for 2020 and will be keen to use last week’s win as a platform to launch another title tilt.

However, the experienced playing group will know that winning on their home patch is one thing, but they need to back it up by proving to everyone including themselves, that they can also win away from home.

AFL North Coast action as Coffs Harbour Breakers host Port Macquarie Magpies at Fitzroy Oval during round 4 of the competition on Saturday, August 8, 2020.
AFL North Coast action as Coffs Harbour Breakers host Port Macquarie Magpies at Fitzroy Oval during round 4 of the competition on Saturday, August 8, 2020.

Port Macquarie are still feeling their way with a new playing group and new coach at the helm. On paper, they appear to have a line-up that can be ultra competitive each week, they just need the combinations to gel.

Playing at home has always represented a huge advantage for the club and this group will know that they need to make Wayne Richards Park a fortress that holds trepidation for visiting teams.

In the women’s match of the round, the well rested Northern Beaches Blues host the battle weary Saints.

These teams last met in a midweek clash that saw the Blues claim their first win of the season.

Northern Beaches had the bye on the weekend so have had ten clear days to prepare for this clash which has also provided a great chance to recover from any general soreness that may have built up.

Sawtell in the meantime, had a bruising encounter with the Breakers and now face their third match in 11 days.

This is a huge challenge for any team but is made doubly tough for the Saints considering the number of new players to the code they have within their line-up who are unused to the physical rigours of AFL footy.