SPORTS AWARDS: The year of the Tiger
LAST season, the Grafton Tigers AFL side were on their knees.
In fact, the past two seasons has seen the local AFL side pick up the dreaded wooden spoon in the North Coast competition.
In sport, there is nothing better than a good turnaround when the underdogs defy the odds, and for the Tigers it's been a spectacular rags to riches story.
This season the Tigers are just a kick away from a grand final victory, which is a remarkable achievement in itself.
Tigers' coach Adi Campbell has transformed the team from whipping boys to genuine title contenders and is quietly confident his side can bring home the coveted AFL North Coast premiership flag.
Campbell was last at the helm in 2014 and decided to take on the head-coaching role in 2020 to help out the younger brigade.
"Yeah, it's been a while since I coached but I decided to give it another crack and help the young guys out," Campbell said at training during the week.
"Plenty of older players have also made a return to lend a hand. It's a bit of a mixture of youth and experience.
"The oldest guy for us is Lee Anderson who is forty-two and the youngest is Ned O'Neill who is just fifteen years old.
"Ned plays forward pocket and came equal third in the goalkicking for the season.
"I was confident at the start of the season, once we got all the players at training, we would be competitive and give the title a real shake."
The Tigers finished the season with eight wins, two losses and a draw and will be anxiously awaiting who their opponent will be for the upcoming decider to be played at the Coffs Harbour International Stadium on October 10.
"We ended up two games clear of our rivals which put us straight into the grand final, "Campbell explained.
"We'll have to wait and see if we play Coffs or Sawtell. We drew against Sawtell earlier in the season and lost to Coffs last weekend.
"If we show plenty of commitment at our last few training runs and on grand final day I'm sure we can get the job done."
TEAM AND COACH OF THE YEAR NOMINATION
FOR reaching their first grand final in years, as well as overcoming back to back wooden spoons, the Grafton Tigers senior men and their coach Adi Campbell have been nominated for Team and Coach of the Year Awards at the 2020 Clarence Valley Sports Awards.
Last year it was the Grafton Ghosts first grade side that claimed the Team of the Year Award while Yamba Surf Lifesaving Club Boaties leader and sweep Ray Wiblen has took out the Clarence Valley Coach of the Year.
Nominations are now open for Volunteer, Club, Team and Coach of the year awards, and close on Friday, October 9.
To nominate simply download a form from the Clarence Valley Sports Awards Facebook page and email to email@example.com, or phone 6643 0574 for more details.
Organisers have confirmed the seventh annual event supported by The Daily Examiner, Grafton Shoppingworld and Clarence Valley Council will go ahead as planned at the Grafton District Services Club on Saturday, November 14. Ticket details to be released soon.