Northern Beaches Blues exceed expectations in local AFL

If you told Northern Beaches coach Rory Evans early this year that his team would have suffered only one loss by the halfway stage of the season, he would never have believed you.

By Brad Greenshields

But after the Blues ran away from Port Macquarie in the second half on Saturday to win by 64 points, that’s exactly the position the Northern Beaches outfit finds itself.

The Blues have now recorded four straight wins and sit in second position and building.

Saturday’s encounter at Centennial Oval was the first time this season Northern Beaches passed the 100-mark on the scoreboard with the Duryea brothers, Fraser and Evan, kicking nine of the team’s 15 goals with five and four respectively.

Evans admits the position the Blues are now in has come as a pleasant surprise.

“Unexpected a little bit if I’m being honest. Not because of who we’ve got and the way we play but I just thought it would take a little bit longer to get our game plan worked out with the new group,” Evans said.

Port Macquarie was noticably fatigued in the final term when the Blues kicked six goals to one with a bit of a breeze at their back to stretch the final margin.

Magpies coach Matt Clarke said being tired late is no sign that his young team lacks fitness.

“We only had one on the bench. Within the first five minutes three of our guys were injured,” Clarke explained.

“We knew it was going to be a tough slog from there but we’re a fit side, they (Northern Beaches) are an older side so we knew we would probably be neck and neck fitness wise even though we had limited rotations.”

NORTHERN BEACHES 2.4 7.5 9.8 15.14 (104)
PORT MACQUARIE 2.1 3.2 5.2 6.4 (40)
Goals – NB: F.Duryea 5, E.Duryea 4, M.Huthnance, D.Pearce, L.Paige, M.Davey, L.Symons, B.Petrolo. Port: M.Bylsma 2, J.Schmidt, B.Saggers, J.Hall, K.Taylor.
Reserves: Northern Beaches 9.4 (58) def Port Macquarie 5.7 (37)

Sawtell/Toormina exacted some revenge on Grafton in a replay of last year’s grand final.

This time the Saints turned the tables by kicking nine goals to three in the second half after a closely fought first half.

Sawtell/Toormina playing coach Brandt Lee said he wasn’t surprised it took his team a half of football before they put their foot down.

“Over the last couple of weeks we haven’t had our strongest team together and I think in the first half we were getting used to playing together again and just trying to gel together,” Lee said.

“With everyone being back for the first time in a couple of weeks it probably just took us a while to kick back into gear. Once we did I think we started to play our best football.”

Captain Matt Dwyer was a rock at full back for the Saints while Angus Anderson showed his recent nab League experience playing for the Sysney Swans Academy had served him well.

Lee said the young players in the team again drove Sawtell/Toormina toward victory.

“The young guys step up for us every week. Even though we’ve got experienced leaders like Luke Matthews back in the team now, it’s the young guys like Tyler Donovan, Ronan Singleton and Luke Neal who are impressive,” the coach said.

“Those younger guys, when they play well, we know we’re going to be in for a good win.”

SAWTELL/TOORMINA 3.2 6.4 10.7 15.9 (99)
GRAFTON 4.1 5.5 6.8 8.10 (58)
Goals – Saw: C.Perks 4, R.Singleton 3, A.Anderson 3, A.Pyke, T.Perks, L.Matthews, K.Upsall, H.Anderson. Graf: T.Churchin 3, D.Perich 2, N.Swarski, A.Ashby, N.O’Neill.
Reserves: Sawtell/Toormina 15.8 (98) def Grafton 1.2 (8)
Under-17s: Grafton 15.15 (105) def Sawtell/Toormina 6.7 (43)

The Lismore Swans jumped out of the blocks quickly at Nambucca Heads to have the four points sewn up by the main break.

Kubilay Karhan and Andrew Baker both kicked four goals in the 39-point win over Nambucca Valley. Aaron Clarke kicked three goals for the Lions.

Lismore coach Ashley Pritchard said the fast start was something he’d been waiting all season for.

“It was really pleasing because we’ve been starting sluggishly all season. Even at training we start slowly until we think this isn’t what we’re about and we pick it up after that,” Pritchard said.

“So we started well but then we did the same thing in the third quarter that we normally do in the first quarter and we let Nambucca kick four straight goals. It’s something we still need to work on because we just can’t afford to have those lapses or it will cost us at some stage down the road.”

NAMBUCCA VALLEY 0.2 1.3 5.3 8.3 (51)
LISMORE SWANS 5.2 8.3 10.4 14.6 (90)
Goals – Lis: K.Karhan 4, A.Baker 4, M.Schafer 2, T.Whalan, S.Coates, T.Mowbray, O.Paterson. N.V: A.Clarke 3, M.Townsend, R.McGrath, J.Hare, S.Lhuede, A.Boatfield.

The Coffs Breakers won easily against an undermanned Casino to remain undefeated and on top of the AFL North Coast ladder.

The Breakers led by 100 points at half time and finished the contest with 16 different goal kickers but Casino never threw in the towel in the face of a scoring avalanche.

Nicklaus Stanlan-Velt led the goal kicking for the victors with six goals. An amount that could’ve been even greater if Stanlan-Velt didn’t don a Casino jumper for the third quarter to help even up the onfield numbers.

The Lions were without their coach on the sidelines and were probably eight players short of their best 22 and deserved a goal for their efforts but couldn’t quite produce one from their six scoring shots.

Breakers captain Liam Beacom was in charge of the magnet board on Saturday with coach Kevin Wilson absent and the skipper said the team were concerned about making sure they improved ahead of the second half of the season.

“We had a talk with Kevin on Thursday and decided to use the game more as practice than anything so we can start doing the things we want to going forward into the season,” Beacom said.

“We haven’t been 100 per cent happy with how we have been playing and there’s been a couple of games where we’ve fallen behind before we knuckled down and managed to get the win. We’d prefer to be playing better than that so we concentrated on Saturday on playing the style of football we want. We didn’t worry too much about the scoreboard.”

COFFS BREAKERS 24.21 (165) def CASINO LIONS 0.6 (6)
Goals – Breakers: N.Stanlan-Velt 6, D.Cook 2, D.Walls 2, H.Cekanauskas 2, B.Walker, C.Pellegrino, J.Lansdowne, J.Sincock, L.Beacom, F.Antonysamburuma, B.Neary, J.Hayes, W.Chadwick, D.Homan, A.Wallace, C.Dickson. Lions: Nil.
Under-17s: Coffs Breakers 28.23 (191) def Inverell Saints 1.4 (10)

Michael McMahon of the Coffs Breakers gets a handball away despite being tackled by a Casino Lions opponents. Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

SENIOR LADDER

PWDLWIN %FORAGST%
Coffs Breakers7700100795366217.21
Northern Beaches641175.00457307148.86
Lismore Swans750271.43872396220.20
Grafton731350.00689419164.44
Sawtell/Toormina630350.00468426109.86
Port Macquarie730442.86615562109.43
Nambucca Valley710614.2923068033.82
Casino Lions70070.00169113914.84

Port Macquarie’s Max Bylsma makes a spectacular marking attempt against Northern Beaches. Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

ROUND 8 FIXTURE

CASINO LIONS vs LISMORE SWANS at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino
(2.50pm – Seniors)
SAWTELL/TOORMINA vs COFFS BREAKERS at Richardson Park, Sawtell
(10am – Under-17s; 11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)
PORT MACQUARIE vs NAMBUCCA VALLEY at Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie
(2.50pm – Seniors)
NORTHERN BEACHES vs GRAFTON at Centennial Oval, Woolgoolga
(11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)
Grafton’s under-17s playing against Inverell Saints at Ellem Oval at 10am.

Hayden Cekanauskas handballs to Coffs Breakers teammate Josh Hunt. This Photo and Lead Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

Womens AFL

The big result of the weekend was no doubt Sawtell/Toormina’s women winning their first game of the season.

Sawtell/Toormina’s players were all smiles after recording the Saints’ first win of the season. Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

Playing against Grafton who went into the match also not winning a game, the stakes were high at Richardson Park.

The Saints controlled the majority of field position against a below strength opponent and won each of the first three quarters to set up the win.

Sawtell/Toormina coach Bec Minichilli said securing that first win was a joyous occasion.

“It was total elation when they won because it was just what they’ve been looking for,” Minichilli said.

“I think we needed to keep the motivation up going forward and it’s on and up I reckon.”

SAWTELL/TOORMINA 1.1 2.4 4.6 4.6 (30)
GRAFTON 0.1 0.1 1.3 1.3 (9)
Goals – Saw: A.Lane, F.Lane, N.Schultz, M.O’Dwyer. Graf: L.Doyle.

Northern Beaches ensured it’s still in a favoured position to gain the coveted double chance come finals time with a strong win over Port Macquarie.

Four unanswered goals in the second term set up the 41-point win for the Blues.

NORTHERN BEACHES 1.1 5.5 5.8 6.12 (48)
PORT MACQUARIE 1.0 1.1 1.1 1.1 (7)
Goals – NB: J. Midavaine 2, A. Cross 2, A. Miller, B. Schofield. Port: F.Bagley.

Lily Doyle kicked Grafton’s only goal on Saturday. Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

WOMEN’S LADDER

PWDLWIN %FORAGST%
Coffs Breakers550010030247642.55
Northern Beaches430175.0016499165.66
Lismore Swans530260.00196117167.52
Port Macquarie520340.009015358.82
Sawtell/Toormina410325.005515435.71
Grafton50050.004328115.30

Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

ROUND 8 FIXTURE

CASINO LIONS vs LISMORE SWANS at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino
(2.50pm – Seniors)
SAWTELL/TOORMINA vs COFFS BREAKERS at Richardson Park, Sawtell
(10am – Under-17s; 11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)
PORT MACQUARIE vs NAMBUCCA VALLEY at Wayne Richards Park, Port Macquarie
(2.50pm – Seniors)
NORTHERN BEACHES vs GRAFTON at Centennial Oval, Woolgoolga
(11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)
Grafton’s under-17s playing against Inverell Saints at Ellem Oval at 10am.

Sawtell/Toormina celebrate a goal kicked in the second quarter against Grafton. Photo: Green Shoots Marketing

First published at AFL North Coast – Tuesday 8 June 2021. See; https://aflnorthcoast.com.au/2021/06/07/blues-exceed-expectations-with-winning-streak/

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