Easy-beats no more

TWO seasons ago the Grafton Tigers were the whipping boys of the North Coast AFL and now opposition sides are wondering how the hell they can beat them.

What a difference a couple of seasons, a new coach and a sprinkling of genuine match-winners can make to a side.

Being thumped by more than a hundred is a thing of the past for the Tigers, who have started 2012 where they left off last year.

With the Grafton Ghosts red-hot favourites to win their third premiership on the trot, all of a sudden the Clarence has another champion side putting Grafton well and truly on the sporting map.

Adrian Campbell's lads have scored a massive 283 points for, while conceding a miserly 86 from their past two outings.

In their opening round of the competition the defending premiers smashed a hapless Sawtell-Toormina side to the tune of 140-46.

They backed their efforts up last week to hand North Coffs a lesson in Aussie rules with a commanding 143-40 victory.

So where does that leave the competition?

Sawtell-Toormina fans expected big things from their first grade side this year after a strong off-season recruitment drive and the same can be said about the Kangaroos.

But after looking at the first two rounds neither side will be a threat to the Tigers unless complacency sets in.

Coffs Swans have been belted from pillar to post, haemorrhaging far too many points, and are favourites to win the wooden spoon.

That leaves Port Macquarie, which won its first-round game in a canter against the Swans before having the bye last week.

Like the Tigers, the Magpies appear to be the real deal and I guess we'll find that out in round five when they take on the reigning premiers. It promises to be a blockbusting match-up between two quality sides, which will no doubt be out to prove their early dominance on the competition

They say winning can be contagious and for local Aussie rules fans watching their side play an exciting and expansive game of footy has been long overdue.

For some spectators watching a one-sided game of footy can become boring, with limited excitement. But for Tigers' fans I have no doubts they've been basking in the sunshine of late, as their side continues to rack up the points.

And why not? For the Tigers it's payback time.

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