HOPEFUL: After coming within a whisker of clinching the premiership last season, Westlawn Tigers will be challenging for the trophy again in this weekend's grand final.
HOPEFUL: After coming within a whisker of clinching the premiership last season, Westlawn Tigers will be challenging for the trophy again in this weekend's grand final. Matthew Elkerton

Ultimate guide to Clarence football grand finals

FOOTBALL: Barnier Park will be flooded with colour, fun and fiery contests as the North Coast Football Clarence branch grand finals take to the field.

From senior women all the way down to the first competitive age group in the Under 12s, there will be close encounters across tonight and tomorrow.

WOMENS 2ND DIV: Tigers out to avenge 12 months of heartache

THE WOUNDS of last season's heartbreaking penalty shoot-out loss to Majos are still raw for the Westlawn Tigers, and it is a motivation the club hopes will get them across the line against Yamba Breakers.

The Tigers were the standard bearers of the NCF women's second division north competition, and have filled their side with a good mix of youth and experience.

It all comes from the family feel of the team with at least five mother-daughter duos.

Add in the fact that coach Jo Powell and manager Sharon Powell having been with the younger members of the team for almost 11 years, the bonds in the side are unbreakable.

"We're almost like surrogate mothers for a lot of the girls,” Powell said. "It has been awesome to watch these girls grow and develop over the years, not only as players but as people.

"To get to play alongside them this season has been special as well. Now it is just one more game to go.”

After returning to the field following a meniscus clean-out in her knee last year, the former Matildas representative has led from the front.

The side will need all of her experience to overcome a plucky Breakers outfit who have come along in leaps and bounds this season under the guidance of coach Alfredo Paz.

The Breakers defence has been its strong suit, but the Tigers girls might just have the key to unlock it.

2ND DIVISION MEN: Cougars face tough challenge

AFTER playing through a disrupted season which saw a four-team second division competition formed midway through the year, nothing could unseat Coutts Crossing Cougars from the top.

The Cougars had a knack of grinding out the tough games, and were not afraid to settle for a draw in the late stages to ensure they came away with a point from the contest.

But there was one side who had the club's number, a resilient Yamba Strikers.

The defending second grade premiers hold a 5-3 win over the Cougars, and also finished with two draws against their grand final opponents throughout the regular season.

While they struggled to overcome a red hot Coutts side in the major semi-final, the Breakers will take plenty of confidence out of their 6-1 destruction of Corindi last week.

3RD DIVISION MEN: Redbears rise for injured mate

ILUKA Redbears have been dealt a saddening blow ahead of their men's third division grand final against Yamba Strikers after 18-year-old striker Henry Mayer was ruled out following a shocking work injury earlier this week.

With Mayer in hospital, it is understood the Redbears are only more fired up to go out on Barnier Park and pick up the win in his honour.

But they will need to pull out all the stops to overcome a strong Yamba Breakers outfit in the grand final.

The Breakers have enjoyed a week off to rest any niggling injuries, and will have a massive supporter base behind them with the club having six sides in grand finals action.

But Iluka showed plenty of form in their comfortable 3-0 win over the Coutts Crossing Blue side last weekend, filling the team with confidence.

The last time the two sides faced off in competition was in the final round of the season and Yamba won 2-0.

UNDER 16s: Grudge match to settle grand final score

IT WILL be a grudge match of the ages as Lower Clarence rivals Yamba Breakers and Maclean Bobcats go toe to toe in the under-16s grand final tonight.

Played on neutral ground at Barnier Park, the clash will pit school friends and former teammates against each other in a battle of the ages.

For Maclean Bobcats coach Mark Grainger, who has coached a lot of the Breakers players over the years, it just adds to the excitement.

"A lot of these kids have played in the same team over the years, so we all know each other and we know what to expect from each other,” he said.

"This has certainly been the grudge match of the season. I know the players get into each other for the week leading up to it, and this week has been no different. It just spices it up.”

A mix of guts and determination resulted in the Bobcats fighting their way from third on the ladder to get into the grand final, despite a few niggling injuries around the side.

The Breakers, on the other hand, have been the form side of the competition, losing only one game all season and comfortably dispatching Westlawn Jaguars in the major semi-final to earn a week off before the grand final.

The last time the two sides faced off was back in June when the Breakers came away with a 5-2 win, but Grainger said the scoreline would be a much tighter affair this time around.

UNDER 15s: Grafton ready to unite against Tigers

MINOR premiers Grafton United has suffered one loss all season, it's just that it came in the major semi-final against rivals Westlawn Tigers.

But United rectified its error with a typically professional 3-0 dispatch of the Maclean Bobcats in last weekend's preliminary final.

Westlawn, who before the finals had conceded 11 goals in three meetings against the Grafton side, will take a lot of confidence after the 3-1 win in the major semi-final. The Tigers will be led from the front by North Coast representative Myles Hartmann, while three of their girls will also be looking forward to the women's second division decider.

UNDER 14s: Lower Clarence clubs to battle in decider

THE RIVALRY between the Yamba Breakers and Maclean Bobcats will be at fever pitch when the two Lower Clarence clubs clash in the under-14 decider.

The Breakers have been unstoppable in this season, finishing the preliminary rounds undefeated and amassing an incredible positive goal difference of 72.

The major cause for that is the side's brick-wall backline who have only conceded 10 goals in 12 games.

But it all counted for nothing when Maclean managed a shock win in the major semi-final to earn the first berth in the grand final.

The Breakers will be out for revenge, but the Maclean side knows it has the ability to win.

UNDER 13: Very little can separate grand finallists

THE grand final of the Under-13s competition will prove to be one of the closest tussles across decider day at Barnier Park.

The season was a roller coaster ride for all teams with three clubs at the top end unable to be separated on points.

It was only goal difference, being two points above Maclean Green, that got the Yamba Breakers the minor premiership.

But it was the Breakers efforts in the major semi-final to hold out a fast-finishing Maclean side that gives them the edge over their opponents.

But the Green Machine was firing on all cylinders last weekend and will be raring to go when the sides clash one last time in the grand final.

UNDER 12: Tigers to meet a fired-up Dragons

IT WILL be a clash of the undefeated outfits in the North Coast Football under-12s decider with minor premiers Westlawn Tigers taking on Majos Dragons.

The Westlawn side will go into the clash as favourites having been the standard bearers of the Under-12s season.

But the Dragons have not been beaten by any side other than the Tigers this season, and their effort against Maclean Bobcats in the preliminary final last week will give them a lot of confidence.

The Tigers have been lethal on goal and will not let any opportunity slip past them, so the Dragons will need to be on their game in the grand final.



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