Lismore Swans march on in North Coast AFL

The Lismore Swans had a successful first AFL North Coast road trip as both their senior and women’s teams recorded wins at Grafton.

By Brad Geenshields – North Coast AFL

The wins mean Lismore’s two teams remain undefeated at this early stage of the season.

The Swans women jumped out of the gates quickly and had four goals on the board by quarter time to build a handy lead against the still inexperienced Grafton.

Club president Laura Cahill kicked five goals for the Swans with Amy Keen and 15 year-old Holly Wall also hitting the scoreboard with two goals each.

After going scoreless in their opening match, Grafton showed the benefits of gaining some experience from that first match when the Tigers managed to kick a goal in each of the second, third and final quarters through Lily Doyle, Emily Goodall and Mackenzie Bagnall.

Grafton coach Warren Bagnall explained that he’s set small targets for his team and the girls are ticking them off one by one.

“I said at the start of the game we’ve got a few goals to reach. The first one was to simply get a team on to the ground and we’d already achieved that a couple of weeks ago,” Bagnall said.

“The second goal I said to them was let’s try and make some improvements. Let’s see if we can score this week. They certainly did that.”

Swans coach Ken McPherson who only recently moved to the area from Wagga Wagga said he’s impressed with the team he’s only had for such a short period.

“The girls have just gelled really well to be honest,”  McPherson said.

“I’m trying hard to implement some game structures and a game plan and these girls are very smart and cluey and catch on quick to what we’re trying to do.”

Women: Lismore Swans 11.13 (79) def Grafton 3.3 (21)
Goals – Swans: L.Cahill 5, H.Wall 2, A.Keen 2, K.Parkes, G.Morris. Graf: E.Goodall, M.Bagnall, L.Doyle.

LIKE the women, the Swans seniors built up a strong early lead against Grafton kicking five unanswered goals in the first term.

The contest was relatively even over the next two quarters as Grafton was able to win a greater share of contested possession and take some advantage with an improved spread from contest before Lismore put its foot down in the final term kicking six goals to two to win by 65 points.

Andrew Baker had another big day in front of goal kicking eight goals for the victors to take his tally to 32 goals from the opening three rounds of the season.

Seniors: Lismore Swans 18.9 (117) def Grafton 7.10 (52)
Goals – Swans: A.Baker 8, M.Schafer 2, S.Smith 2, J.McGuinness 2, E.McNutt, H.Ashby, J.Ashby, J.McKenzie-Edwards. Graf: D.Perich 2, N.O’Neill 2, J.Boehme, L.Hayman, M.Luxton.

Above: The Casino Lions showed improved form in their match against Port Macquarie but still fell well short of a first AFL North Coast win. Photo: Jordan Smith Photography

THE Casino Lions might still have lost by a large margin but the improvement is there for all to see.

Port Macquarie was far too strong for the Lions at Queen Elizabeth Park running out 110 point victors but Casino coach Rod McKey was thrilled withe the stronger display from his team.

“We’re getting better every week and even in this game we got better the longer the game went,”McKey said.

“Our third quarter was better than our second and our fourth quarter was our best.

“Port kicked some quick turnaround goals early in the third quarter which put us on the back foot. In the fourth quarter we made some changes with players playing in different positions and it worked really well.”

McKey said in the early stages of the season the Lions best players have been captain Liam Fitzpatrick, club president Ben Hunt and 47 year-old Matt McDonald.

Unfortunately for the Lions, their best player so far in 2021, ruckman Byron McKay, suffered an injury late in the match against the Magpies and it may see him miss the majority of the remainder of the 2021 season.

Port Macquarie has now won two of their first three matches of the season, all of them on the road.

The Magpies’ coach Matt Clarke was happy with not just the four points but how his team stuck to the structures he’s trying to implement despite missing some personnel.

“Obviously with back-to-back road trips we were light on for numbers and we didn’t have a bench up in Casino.”

Seniors: Port Macquarie 24.20 (164) def Casino Lions 7.12 (54)

NEXT WEEK – ROUND 4, Saturday, May 15
NAMBUCCA VALLEY vs NORTHERN BEACHES at EJ Biffin Playing Fields, Nambucca Heads
(2.50pm – Seniors)
(1.20pm – Women; 2.50pm – Seniors)
SAWTELL/TOORMINA vs CASINO LIONS at Richardson Park, Sawtell
(10am – Under-17s (Saints vs Breakers); 1.20pm – Reserves (Saints vs Breakers); 2.50pm – Seniors)
PORT MACQUARIE vs GRAFTON at Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie
(11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)

Port Macquarie will play its first home match of the 2021 season this Saturday against Grafton. File image


Lead photo: Laura Cahill (centre) kicked five goals for the Lismore Swans against Grafton. Photo: Adrian Etherson Photography.

First published at – Tuesday 11 May 2021.

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