Experience proves the key
Sawtell/Toormina 9.15-69 def. Coffs Swans 8.8-56
Goal Kickers: L Draper-Bell 2, T McCormack, G Johnson, T Mathews, M Elliott, E Brogmus, K Schwartz, L Cohen
Best Players: G Johnson, T McCormack, T Mathews, M Elliott, M Couzens, S Mathews
Goal Kickers: F Duryea 5, T Snow, S Adams, S Morgan
Best Players: D Box, R Eddy, P Chadwick, F Duryea, H Pearce
Umpires: L Turner, Bellamy, Supple
Sawtell, in front of a strong crowd, dismantled the Coffs Swans to regain top spot on the AFL North Coast ladder. The Saints were brilliant in shutting down the run and efficiency that has made the Swans a premiership threat this season.
Pressure must've been the focus during training this week and it was duly provided by the Mathews brothers who proved a fortress across the middle of the ground. Glen Johnson was agile across half-forward and was a meaningful target as Ben Hooke was kept quiet. Tristan McCormack provided options and a lot of run around the ground, whilst Michael Bibby and Harley Schmidt also showcased the Saints' physical superiority.
The Swans held sway in an entertaining first half, one of the best in recent times, before basic skill errors and turnovers were being converted into goals for the Saints. The younger Swans collapsed under pressure and although they threatened to come back late in the contest, especially after a great mark and goal from Scott Morgan, time eventually proved a thorn as the Saints gained a well-earned four points.
Fraser Duryea was a lone hand up forward but was relatively quiet after an enigmatic first term as the ball was predominantly in Sawtell's half. Dave Box was best for the Swans, whilst Rob Eddy was excellent in defence, and kept the Swans in the contest in a low-scoring encounter.
Port Macquarie 16.6-102 def. North Coffs 10.11-71
Goal Kickers: J. Hart 3, M. Gallagher 2, N. Tritton 2, J. Schmidt 2, D. Bylsma, S. Abercrombe, S. Gluyas
Best Players: J Brian, L Long, M Stakehulm, S Gluyas, J Schmidt
Goal Kickers: S. Dawes 3, D. Funston 2, T. Heather, J. O'Connor, T. Cook, L. Abercrombie, T. Smith
Best Players: S Dawes, D Funston, A Delves, J O'Connor, T Merrick
Umpires: M Turner, Maasaad
The Magpies again reminded their critics of their potential by gaining a 31 point away win against the inconsistent Kangaroos at the Coffs Coast Leisure Park.
Matthew Stakehulm and Jarrod Brian were important in the middle of the ground as the 'Pies benefitted from the return of Jacob Hart and Nathan Tritton up forward in a consistent team performance that the Port side is renowned for.
Port benefitted from a seven goal second-term to blow the game wide open and were able to maintain that lead to win comfortably despite a five goal spurt from the 'Roos at the end of the match.
North Coffs' topsy-turvy season continues as they were again heavily reliant on Sam Dawes and Darren Funston.
It was a pleasing win for the Magpies away from home that can set up their tilt heading into the finals.
Grafton 21.11-137 def. Nambucca Valley 9.8-62
Goal Kickers: D. Zacek 9, G. Blackwell 4, Z. Edwards 2, W. Bagnall, S. Onus, C. Schaeffer, L. Hayman, L. Chard, R. Sheather
Best Players: D Zacek, S Onus, K Thompson, R Sheather, J Darby, Z Edwards
Goal Kickers: B. Lockyer 2, R. McGrath 2, D. Cameron 2, J. Boatfield, H. Addison, S. Moorcroft
Best Players: L. Benson, R. McGrath, D. Linares, M. Schmidt, D. Cameron, J. Angel
Umpires: Staniforth, Macpherson
Grafton led throughout and were comfortable victory at their home-away-from-home at Centennial Oval.
Daniel Zacek's class shone through as he kicked nine goals and received good supply from the likes of Scott Onus and Kelly Thompson. Their win showcased their ability to score from clearances as Zac Edwards and Dave Gordon were strong in the ruck and around the ground.
Nambucca were unable to make any inroads on Grafton's lead but were competitive with Luke Benson and Ray McGrath best for the Lions.
An eight goal final quarter from the Tigers blew the end margin out and ensured they extended their points lead over Nambucca who remain winless this season.