Season is all over for Grafton as Tigers bow out to Port
THE AFL North Coast season is officially over for Grafton Tigers.
The 35-point loss to Port Macquarie Magpies in the 1st semi-final signified the end of a 2014 that never quite got going for the seniors outfit.
After the Magpies flew to an early lead the Tigers trailed at every juncture at C.Ex Coffs International Stadium on Saturday, down by 20 at quarter time, by 36 at half-time and 39 at three-quarter time before reducing the deficit to 35 in the final quarter.
Adam Eckermann booted five majors for the Magpies. The defending premiers will now take on the loser of this Saturday's major semi-final clash between Sawtell Saints and Coffs Swans.
The Tigers were best served by Sam Morrison and Mark Blundell, who each kicked three goals.
But they struggled to reel in the Magpies as a lack of fitness and preparation became evident.
"We struggled all year for numbers at training and that was what probably cost us on the day," Grafton Tigers president Rod Sheather said.
"We didn't get quality numbers for the past two weeks and that showed on Saturday.
"A few players carried injuries into the game, Port got the jump on us in the first quarter and we never quite recovered."
Sheather said Port had improved during the season but stopped short of saying they will raise the premiership flag on August 23.
"Port came good after they picked up a few recruits, but Sawtell will be the team to beat."
The club now turns its attention to its Presentation Night, to be held on Friday, August 27 at the Village Green Hotel.
Then on the weekend of September 20-21 players and officials will head off for the club's end of season fishing trip.