ANY thoughts the gap between reigning premier Sawtell/Toormina and the rest of the AFL North Coast has diminished over summer have quickly been put to rest.

The Saints flexed their muscle in the opening match of the season, handing out a 143 point thumping to Grafton at Richardson Park.

From the word go Sawtell/Toormina had its foot on the pedal, quickly establishing a match winning lead and didn't let up at any stage.

When the final siren sounded the Saints ran out comfortable winners 28.20 (188) to Grafton's 7.3 (45).

The contest was a lot closer at Port Macquarie where kicking five goals to one in the third quarter paved the way for the Magpies to get the four points ahead of the Coffs Harbour Breakers.

Port Macquarie led by only the barest of margins at the main break but kicked away to win 13.10 (88) to 8.10 (58).

Jesse Schmidt and Adam Mannes led the scoring for the home team kicking three goals each.

The next round of matches sees the inaugural cross conference matches being played.

Grafton and Port Macquarie will be playing the Lismore Swans and Tweed Coast Tigers respectively at Grafton while Sawtell/Toormina and the Coffs Harbour Breakers will be travelling to Ballina.

The Saints will face the Byron Bay Magpies while the Breakers will meet the Bombers on their home ground.

Sawtell/Toormina Saints 11.4.70 d Macleay Valley Eagles 9.11.65
Under 18:
Sawtell/Toormina Saints 18.6.114 d Grafton Tigers 3.1.19