Tigers tear away from the pack with emphatic win
GRAFTON Tigers made amends for a round 3 loss to Port Macquarie Magpies with a thumping 20.24 (144) to 4.1 (25) win at Ellem Oval on Saturday.
In a clear indication of how close this season is, the average winning margin has been just over 14 points, but Grafton put a dent in this record against an understrength Magpies outfit.
Port were restricted with availability and travelled light, only able to field 18 men.
In recent seasons this probably would have been enough to have been competitive, but the Tigers are a very different proposition in 2020.
After years of hurt, the Tigers took the opportunity to exact some revenge with a ruthless second term kicking nine goals and holding Port scoreless.
The only respite for the Magpies came in the Tigers kicking accuracy, sending more wide than through the middle.
The resulting tally of behinds can partly be credited to the windy conditions that added a layer of difficulty to the task, but was every bit as much an issue with execution.
Noah Swarski was a stand out for the Tigers who also welcomed back two old stagers in Dale Beaver and Ryan Sheather.
Lee Anderson marked his return from a round 1 hamstring strain with four goals, an effort that was matched by James Martin.
John Cameron, Nico Wheaton, Swarski, and Mitch Lollback each chipped in with two goals.
Port were brave all day and couldn’t be faulted for effort. They were well led by Rod Sonogan, Braden Saggers (two goals), young Max Bylsma, and Nathan Cameron-Hancock, who is carving out a place for himself in this team.
Grafton Tigers 20.24 (144) defeated Port Macquarie Magpies 4.1 (25)
At Fitzroy Oval, the match between Coffs Harbour Breakers and Sawtell Toormina Saints was headed for the second draw in as many weeks when Sawtell’s Curtis Smith popped up and kicked the match winning goal with less than a minute left on the clock.
Prior to this, the Breakers had fought back from a 17 point deficit at three quarter time to boot two late goals and level the scores.
It looked as though Breakers had done enough to sneak away with a draw but Smith’s late heroics rescued a deserved victory for the Saints, who had led at every break.
That goal was Smith’s third of the day to top the scoring charts for Sawtell. Alec Baldwin and Ronan Singleton kicked two goals each and Luke Neal laded the Saints other goal.
Breakers best players were the usual suspects of the returning Chris Frangos, Josh Lansdowne, Michael McMahon, and captain Aidan Wallace. McMahon’s only goal of the game drew Breakers level in the dying stages and followed closely on from Nick Stanlan-Velt’s third.
Sawtell Toormina Saints 8.13 (61) defeated Coffs Harbour Breakers 7.13 (55)
In the women’s match of the round, Coffs Harbour took another step on the road towards a maiden premiership with a comprehensive win against Sawtell Toormina.
The Breakers were too strong across the park and never gave their opponents a chance to get into the match.
A five goal blitz in the opening term saw them well on the way to victory and while they couldn’t maintain this intensity, they ran away with the game.
Sawtell tried hard but couldn’t match their rivals work rate. One big positive for the Saints was the return of Bec Minichilli from a neck injury sustained in round 1, who will add much needed experience and leadership to the line-up.
The Saints have the bye next round and will use the much needed break to regroup and re-energise tired bodies ahead of a big push to the finals.
Breakers best were the midfield duo of Cass Ronalds and Tarryn Arnold together with their key forwards Amy Johanson and skipper Katika Adams, who played her first match of the year. Both Johanson and Adams booted three majors.
Coffs Harbour Breakers 9.11 (65) defeated Sawtell Toormina Saints 0.0 (0)