Tigers down, not bowed
THE Crown Hotel Grafton Tigers were well beaten, but not disgraced, by Port Macquarie Magpies on Saturday.
Final scores saw the Port Magpies 15.10. 100 d Grafton Tigers 13.10. 88.
The Tigers preferred style of tough physical football was countered in the first half by Port's sheepdog style, dropping players off the contest around the packs creating loose men and allowing the ball to enter the forward 50 without any pressure.
The Tigers back line lead by Ryan Sheather and Rick Leeson battled tirelessly, but weight of possession took its toll and the Magpies were able to post some easy goals.
With the Tigers trailing by 23 points at half time the instructions from the coaching panel were to man up and kick long straight down the middle of the ground.
The change in game plan produced opportunities for the Tigers forwards allowing Mark Blundell, Scott Onus and 15-year-old Cameron Ross to bag two majors apiece and put the home team 7 points in front with 5 minutes remaining.
At this point the Tigers momentum was halted after a bizarre incident when Ross was allegedly struck in the midriff by the Port boundary umpire resulting inexplicably in a Port free kick, 50-metre penalty and goal.
Two more free kicks allowed Port to score twice leaving the bewildered Tigers 12 points behind at the final siren.
Best players for the Tigers were Scott Onus, Ryan Sheather, Rick Leeson and Mark Blundell.
THE Tigers veterans battled hard in the Seconds with Dave Youman and Blair Littlechild having great games in the middle, showing the way for the new recruits playing their first game however the Tigers were up against a much more polished Port outfit who ran away with the game by 55 points 10.11.71 to 2.4.16.
THE Under-18 came home strongly after a slow start and went agonisingly close to a victory, going down 11.12. 78 to 11.8. 74.
The Tigers held an eight-point lead, but allowed two late goals.