Norths keep dream alive
North Coffs 14.6-90
Port Macquarie 12.7-79
North Coffs: D. Funston 5, T. Cook 2, J. Coad, S. Dawes, G. Golsby-Smith, J. O''Connor, B. Giri, T. Freebody, T. Ryan
Port Macquarie: J. Hart 5, M. Newton 2, J. Schmidt 2, D. Humphries, M. Gallagher, N. Tritton
North Coffs: S. Dawes, D. Funston, T. Merrick, T. Heather, B. Giri, G. Golsby-Smith
Port Macquarie: S. Skreja, D. Nankervill, J. Hart, J. Schmidt, D. Humphries, M. Lill
Umpires: M Turner, Thomas, Wood
North Coffs progressed to the Preliminary Final with an inspired performance against the Port Magpies in an epic encounter.
The finals experience of both sides was showcased in a physical clash that suited the 'Roos, who got the jump on the southeners early in the first quarter. Tyler Ryan kicked the first goal early in the contest to lead his side to a four goal opening quarter.
Sam Dawes was easily the best on the paddock in another fantastic display, exceptional in the ruck, playing tall in the absence of the Connolly brothers. His presence in the middle helped overcome Port's early burst in the second quarter, as Dean Nankervill and Shannon Skreja formed a dangerous combination.
Jacob Hart won an absorbing duel against Matthew Gleeson down back. Whilst up the other end, Darren Funston in moving to half-forward was enigmatic and a great attacking option for the 'Roos. Jordan O'Connor stepped up and played well up the ground to help the 'Roos dominate field position.
The downfall for Port was their turnovers moving forward. Too often they turned the ball over with careless options continually putting them on the back foot. Brad Giri was one to take full advantage of these mistakes, pumping the ball forward with regularity. Tom Merrick and Tim Heather provided a lot of run for the 'Roos and also aided their side in attack.
Merrick picked up a hamstring injury in the final quarter which would leave him in some doubt for two weeks time. Port captain, Matthew Newton seemed to suffer a similar fate but battled on but was limited in attack after half-time. This prevented his kicking range, twice not making the distance from under 40 metres out.
North Coffs, after a tight second quarter, came out after half-time and gained a five goal lead going into the last quarter. To Port's credit, they came hard at the 'Roos and were within 2 goals with 10 minutes to go but the Kangaroos held on for a tight win in one of the best finals in recent history.
Coffs Swans 9.4-58
Coffs Swans: M. Attwood, D. Pearce, D. Elks, J. Sincock, M. Andrews, L. Maher, B. McLean, J. Stacey, L. Connor
Grafton: M. Blundell 3, C. Ross, L. Bassett, G. Blackwell
Coffs Swans: D. Elks, J. Sincock, J. Phillips, B. McLean, M. Andrews
Grafton: S. Morrison, J. Kennedy, M. Blundell, G. Blackwell, L. Bassett
Umpires: Maasaad, Bellamy, Macpherson
A strong final quarter has helped the Coffs Swans overcome a plucky Grafton outfit in the Reserves.
The Swans seemed to control the match in the opening half with the experience of Jason Phillips and Jason Sincock helping the Swans stay resolute and dominate the centre of the ground, courtesy of Leroy Maher's superiority in the ruck.
The third quarter saw Grafton make their charge, courtesy of young, Sam Morrison in the centre. Mark Blundell used his class to help Grafton to a four goal quarter at full-forward.
The Swans, with an even contribution well shown on the scoresheet, held on in the final quarter with a three goal burst. Damien Elks held the red and whites together, in reversing a big loss to the Tigers a few weeks ago to keep their finals aspirations alive.
Nambucca advanced to the Preliminary Final, with Port Macquarie forfeiting due to a lack of numbers.
See Photos section for more photos from Week 1 of the Finals.