Round 4 Preview
Sawtell v Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie will be looking to continue their unbeaten run in recent history when they take on Sawtell at Richardson Park.
Port’s last loss was midway through last season against the same opposition at the same ground. Since then, Port have not looked back and are a formidable prospect both away and at home. They have formed their reputation on all-round strength and an ability to rebound and turn defence into attack over the ground. Scott Abercrombie and John Bain finish off well and this was well demonstrated as they kicked 13 goals against Grafton last start.
Sawtell’s preparation is not ideal leading into this match. A poor second half performance cost them a win against the Swans and last week’s match against the Lions was washed out. A definite game plan and some individual brilliance in key positions is needed this week if they are to have a chance against the reigning premiers.
Young players like Todd Matthews and Tristan McCormack will need to step up and the likes of Mark Couzens and Daniel Pritchard are important for the Saints in playing shut-down roles in the midfield. Daniel Johnson is probably Sawtell’s main weapon and his penetrating left foot has to kick-start Sawtell’s attack in this game.
The Magpies have also experienced an interrupted preparation with only one game in the last two weeks. On the big trip to Grafton, they were slow to get going and only sealed the game in the last quarter against a competitive outfit.
Sawtell will need their forward-line to take advantage of the premium opportunities Port will allow them in this contest. Ben Hooke will need to be active and kick a big tally for Sawtell to fire. Saying this, they lack a genuine tall target and with Port possessing more size and attacking ability they should get the points in an intriguing clash.
North Coffs v Grafton
The Kangaroos will be disappointed by their start and finish against the Swans last weekend. They leaked goals during these stages compared to the middle part of the match where they were tight and took advantage of their opportunities. A consistent four quarter performance is needed for them to make advances in the competition this season.
Grafton were gallant in defeat against the conquering Magpies, with Sean Purdon kicking another large bag to lead the goalkicking tally. They are a different side away from home and surely this will have been addressed by their leadership group to ensure they get a full-strength line-up at the Coffs Coast Leisure Park on Saturday.
Sam Dawes continued his strong early season form; with the prize recruit kicking four goals and being prominent in both midfield and across the half-forward line. Mick Glaetzer is another fellow recruit who showed promising signs in his first game in North Coffs colours. Coach, Danny McFadden will hope to address the sides attacking options, with the side currently relying too heavily on Dawes and Darren Funston to present and kick their goals.
North Coffs should return to the winners circle in this match but a lot will depend on which Grafton side turns up on Saturday.
Nambucca Valley v Coffs Swans
The Swans should continue their strong early season form as they travel to Macksville Park to take on the struggling Lions.
Whilst the Lions rested up last week, the baby Swans gave us a glimpse of what they are capable of during stages of last week’s clash with Evan Duryea, Blake Ford and Zac Bullivant stand-outs across the ground in what is a rejuvenated outfit this season.
The Lions look battered and bruised already and need to find some pace in their list to capitalize on any mistakes the Swans will make in this match. They possess height with the likes of Mick Townsend and Tom Haskew, so an ability to attack could well test the Swans who demonstrated they are adept to winning contested ball in the midfield.
Away from home, the Swans will move the ball too well and find make it hard for the Lions to salvage any pride from the match.