Warding off the northern invaders

20th May 2017 3:30 AM

CROSS Conference action returns today as AFL North Coast clubs look to exact revenge on their Northern Rivers counterparts who claimed three of the four matches in the first fixtures of the season.

Sawtell/Toormina was the only local team to win at the last attempt and will be looking to keep that good form going at home against Ballina.

Last season these two sides met at Richardson Park and Ballina sprang something of an upset when they downed the Saints.

Sawtell will be keen to even the ledger as they don't like losing at home but Ballina will be full of confidence after beating Breakers in the first of these cross over fixtures.

Sawtell has its past three matchers and is primed to keep that run going. Ballina is good at home on their smaller oval so the expanses of Richardson Park might prove a challenge for them.

Coffs Breakers only loss of the season came in the first round of C.ex Group Cross Conference matches went they went down to Ballina on that small ground.

This afternoon the Breakers play at home, which should guarantee a strong line-up, facing off against the Tweed Coast Tigers who overcame travel and the hospitalisation of a player to beat Port Macquarie last time around.

Tweed will provide a tough test for the Breakers but will have to lift their game above the level that saw them claim the victory over Port.

The Breakers at full strength will be favoured to win but won't want to take anything for granted.

Grafton has a chance to return to the winner's circle when it travels to Lismore to face the Swans while it will be a battle of the Magpies at Byron Bay when Port Macquarie travels north.

Port has a recent history of rising to the occasion when people write the Magpies off and they will be desperate to do that again.

The key for Port will be maintaining its intensity because Byron Bay will pounce if the southern visitors drop below the 100% effort mark at any stage.

AFL NORTH COAST
Coffs Breakers v Tweed Coast Tigers
Sawtell/Toormina v Ballina
Byron Bay v Port Macquarie
Lismore Swans v Grafton