Two drastically different results in round 6 of Senior Competition action that contribute to a similar outcome – the top two teams now have a very handy buffer over their rivals.
By Poult – AFL North Coast NSW
One match was settled by an extremely late goal, whilst the other was settled as a contest by half time.
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 at the death 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 a clear indication of how close this season is, the average winning margin in Senior matches has been just over 14 points. However Grafton put a dent in this record when they inflicted the first blow out of the season on the under strength Port Macquarie Magpies.
Port were restricted with availability and traveled light, only able to field the bare 18. In recent seasons this probably would have been enough to have at least been competitive but the Tigers are a very different proposition in 2020. After years of being on the receiving end, the Tigers took the opportunity to exact some revenge, which was highlighted by the ruthless performance in the second term when they kicked nine goals and held Port scoreless.
The only respite for the Magpies came in the second half when the Tigers kicking for goal left a lot to be desired. 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 about 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 one hamstring strain with four goals, an effort that was matched by James Martin. John Cameron, Nico Wheaton, Noah 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)