AROUND THE TRAPS WITH ROD ROCKET MACPHERSON
Grand Final Day – Race Still Wide Open
Grafton will go into today’s grand final as favourites to defend their crown, and rightly so but in reality that means absolutely nothing when they face off against Sawtell/Toormina at 2.30pm this afternoon. Both sides perform on the big stage and have good form going into the game. The Tigers boast the tightest defence in the league lead by Ryan Sheather, Kelly Thompson and Justin Darby and their forward line is one of the most potent. That is one reason that they start favourites today however this game will be determined in the middle and that is where the Saints will have to win it. Todd Matthews is a key for them and he has the ability to nullify the Tiger’s clearance specialists Ron Davis, Evan Duryea and Sam Morrison.
Sawtell best and fairest, Courtney Tune, is in fabulous touch and will get over Graeme Connelly around the ground although Dan Gordon and Connelly will make him work in the ruck. The Saints hope to have Jake Saunders back from injury which will boost their running power. Craig Parsons was rotated through the midfield last week and will attract plenty of attention from possibly Josh Lollback. There will be critical contests all over the ground as neither of these two sides take a sideways step. I expect plenty of fireworks and a tough physical match that won’t be decided until late in the game. The Tigers may just have an edge with their big forwards with Lee Anderson a danger man late in the game.
Swans have Momentum
Sawtell would have breathed a sigh of relief at the sight of Port Macquarie being eliminated last week but the way the Coffs Swans clinically dismantled the powerhouse Pies should have send some alarm bells going off at the sleepy seaside village. Rick Johnson (coach) would dearly love to hang up a consecutive flag at the sponsor’s premises but this is no pushover. Kyah Schwartz will get plenty of ball and Eric Linares and Pat Myles have been consistently good.
Young Swan McKinley Pearce is a dominant running forward well supported by evergreen crumber Jason Phillips while Al Clayton and Jason Sincock must have 50 years of experience between them. Anyone else smell an upset?
Here Come the Kangaroos
Port Macquarie U18 coach Craig Carroll was a keen spectator last week as North Coffs demolished Camden Haven to burst into another U18 grand final today. Brendan Norton, Mitch Papley Kane Latham and Cody Papley who were brilliant would have impressed him. Port were very impressive themselves in the second semi with Brayden Eastwell in particularly damaging form. The big man was outstanding last week and was well supported by the high marking Kyle Lynch. This will be a great contest with both sides in top form at the right time.
AROUND THE TRAPS
What a day in store at BCU today. All grades look wide open with the U18 clash looking a real beauty. The north coast weather has been kind and crowd numbers have been up on 2011 with another good turnout expected today.
Red heads are famous for freckles and sunburn right? Well after watching North Coffs’ Papley brothers (Mitch and Cody) in last weeks preliminary final add class to that! These kids ooze talent and their one touch football was a delight to watch.
Congratulations to Scott Bellamy on his appointment to umpire his first senior Grand Final. Scott is a popular official with all clubs and has been close to selection for many years and was a happy man when appointments were announced during the week.