Tigers roar in perfect start to 2020 season
AUSSIE RULES: Unprecedented is a highly appropriate and much used word in this challenging year. While not quite unprecedented, there's something happening with the ladder in the AFL North Coast Senior Competition that has been an all too rare sight for the past six or seven years.
For the first time in a long time, Grafton Tigers have won back to back matches to start the season undefeated after two rounds, and sit proudly atop the ladder!
While Saturday's win was far from a classic performance (highlighted by 10 goals, 26 behinds) a win is a win. When victories have been as infrequent as they have in recent times for the Tigers, they're to be celebrated no matter how they come about.
The Northern Beaches Blues were clearly down on players and did well to compete as long and hard as they did.
Tigers coach Adi Campbell will no doubt be drilling home at training this week that the team needs to be more ruthless, especially in front of goal, but will also be pleased his team followed up last week's shock win over defending premiers Coffs Harbour Breakers with a solid second performance.
Evan Whitty backed up last week's three goal performance with a further three, with the remainder bagged by individuals kicking one each. Included in the goal kickers were returning brothers Aaron and Joel Ashby, further proof that team success is generating interest across the Clarence.
The Blues' two goals were kicked by Jed Denys and Karl Wisdom in the third quarter when the game was already well beyond the Blues' reach.
Grafton Tigers 10.26 (86) defeated Northern Beaches Blues 2.2 (14)
Sawtell Toormina Saints are also unbeaten in 2020 after a narrow two goal win over Coffs Harbour Breakers in the derby.
Sawtell led all day but couldn't establish a healthy gap over the Breakers in wet and challenging conditions.
Breakers' best effort came in the third quarter and by the last break had whittled the Saints' lead to just one goal to set up a tense finish.
Sawtell responded well to the challenge by kicking two goals to one in the final quarter to walk away with a 12-point victory.
Mitch Napier led the Sawtell forward line well with two goals and received great support from Angus Anderson who bagged a further two.
Breakers matched this effort with two goals each to Josh Hunt and Michael McMahon, but it was Sawtell's greater number of individual goal kickers that got them across the line.
Sawtell Toormina Saints 8.5 (53) defeated Coffs Harbour Breakers 6.5 (41)
The performance of the round came from the Coffs Harbour Breakers Women's team which put the competition on notice with their victory over Sawtell Toormina Saints.
Rather than appearing rusty in their first match of the season the Breakers were quickly out of the blocks and into their stride with two goals in the first quarter.
Key to the match for the Breakers was their ability to constantly keep the ball moving forward in the wet conditions, whether that was in the air or on the ground. Their defence was rock solid, keeping Sawtell scoreless for three quarters and only conceding two behinds in the third term.
Speedster Cass Ronalds found a way to run on top of the wet surface rather than getting bogged down, leading to a two goal effort. She was joined on this tally by Amy Johanson, with Jesse Abbott rounding out the scoring.
It was a challenging day for the Sawtell team who will look forward to getting back to a dry track which will undoubtedly suit their style better.
Coffs Harbour Breakers 5.6 (36) defeated Sawtell Toormina Saints 0.2 (2)