Grafton AFL’s new coach Adrian Campbell and secretary James Hourigan.Photo:
Grafton AFL’s new coach Adrian Campbell and secretary James Hourigan.Photo: Debrah Novak

A Tigers tale

ADRIAN Campbell has AFL running through his veins.

No surprises there.

You see, Campbell has been playing the game for close to 30 years and was born in the AFL heartland of Hamilton, Victoria.

The 38-year-old AFL fanatic has taken on the top job with the Grafton Tigers in 2011 with stunning results.

The Tigers have experienced plenty of seasons of famine. Been belted from pillar to post and endured hard times recently on the footy field.

But thanks to Campbell the Tigers are no longer considered the easy-beats of the competition.

In fact after four rounds of the North Coast AFL competition the men in yellow and black are sitting pretty on top of the first grade ladder.

“It's all to do with player attitude,” Campbell explains.

“The boys this season have a willingness to train and it's paying dividends.

“We are training more than we have in the past which is setting them up for game day.”

Campbell, who has experienced success as both a player and coach, admits getting a winning culture in the club has been long overdue.

“I don't think the boys have had that ‘winning culture' feeling in the past,” he said.

“We need to keep that culture going ... it's somewhat of a priority for us.”

A one-eyed Essendon supporter, the Tigers' new coach has claimed three flags as a player and one as a coach but adds his playing days are numbered.

“I coached down in southern NSW in Balranald for one year ... it was in 2006 and we won the premiership,” he said.

“I've had two games this season with the Tigers but I'm getting on a bit so I think I'll concentrate on coaching.”

For Campbell it would be an amazing turnaround if the Tigers make this year's grand final after languishing on the bottom of the table in 2010.

“We just have to remain competitive and see where we are at towards the end of the season,” he added.

Campbell revealed the Tigers have soared to the top of the table with practically the same playing personnel as last year

“It's much the same group of players except we have added Ron Davis and Evan Duryea,” he said.

“They have certainly strengthened our team. I coached Ron while in Balranald and Evan is from Woolgoolga.”

Coming from a mad AFL area has been interesting for Campbell who admits things are a bit more laid back up north.

“In a way it's a very different culture up this way,” he said.

“Where I come from it's more of a business.

"But here its more grass roots with no cash involved which is good.”

The Tigers hope to continue their amazing run when they take on a strong Nambucca side at Macksville on Saturday.

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