FINAL ROUND: The Coffs Swans head into today’s local derby against North Coffs as hot favourites. Photo: Leigh Jensen
FINAL ROUND: The Coffs Swans head into today’s local derby against North Coffs as hot favourites. Photo: Leigh Jensen Leigh Jensen

No let up from high-flyers in final round

LOCAL rivalries come to the fore in the final round of matches before the AFL North Coast finals begin next week.

While the make-up of the finals has already been decided, the fact that two of this afternoon's encounters involve local rivals adds a nice touch of spice to the round.

The Coffs Swans may be on the hunt for a premiership and North Coffs may be winless in 2014 but don't for a second think the Kangaroos will simply let their traditional rivals walk away with the four premiership points in today's match.

Coffs Swans playing coach Jay Guthrie doesn't want his players taking the opposition lightly in this final round.

"We want to play as normal football as we can because it's when you go in half-hearted that you start getting injuries," Guthrie said.

"We'll be trying to fine-tune the things we want to do in the finals.

"If we can cement that now, it's going to be easier come finals time."

Last week's victory by Sawtell/Toormina means the Saints would need to lose by about 200 points to Grafton today to be knocked off top spot on the ladder.

A highly unlikely scenario but Saints coach Jim Angel doesn't want to see any signs of complacency at Ellem Oval.

"Grafton are going to go hard at us," Angel said.

"At the end of the day the scoreboard is kind of irrelevant but this game for us is more about making sure some of the guys coming back into the team are on the same page by doing what everyone else has been doing for the past couple of months."

While Camden Haven is only in its maiden season of senior football, the rivalry with Port Macquarie has already built up a deep intensity.

The Bombers have been unable to overcome the Magpies in their first two meetings but Port Macquarie is more than aware their southern neighbours would love to notch a win to halt some of the momentum Port is taking towards the finals.

"They can't make the finals but I'm sure they would just love to knock us off," Port Macquarie president Craig Carroll said.

"We don't need to amp it up for a game like this. All the players know there's enough motivation out there."

North Coffs v Coffs Swans at Coffs Coast Sport and Leisure Park (1.30pm start)
Grafton v Sawtell/Toormina at Ellem Oval (2.20pm start)
Camden Haven v Port Macquarie at Laurieton Oval (2.20pm start)