Club Preview: Grafton
Tigers on the way up
A strong off-season has a rejuvenated Grafton Tigers outfit confident of a finals berth in the AFL North Coast competition.
The man charged with leading the side back to the top four, Grahame Blackwell, says all the ingredients are in place for a strong club performance in the 2009 season.
“We came close last year but this year we would like to see all sides playing finals football,” he said.
“Rod Newman joins the club from Ulladulla and he looks a great prospect that will complement our core group nicely.”
Depth has been an issue in past years with the Tigers side but with consistent performers like club Best and Fairest, Justin Darby, Ryan Sheather and the skilful, Daniel Zacek, the Tigers have cause to be optimistic against the strong southern sides.
Blackwell also looks to young players like Tim Whalan and Kelly Thompson to add missing components to the midfield.
“We have performed well at home but inevitably fitness and our away record only allowed us to win four games last season,” he said.
“The talent is there in the group to match it with the bigger names in the competition, it is just a matter of it all coming together on the day.”
There is cause for optimism, with the club starting their pre-season with a trip up the highway to face QAFL outfit, Logan. In a see-sawing affair, the Tigers eventually provailed by 9 points.
The club has also been thriving off the field in the lead-up to the season with the Jacaranda Hotel announced as the club’s major sponsor.
This is all part of a fresh outlook with the committee comprising a number of new faces dedicated to running the club and leading them to greater success.
The Tigers kick off their season on April 18 with a trip to Fitzroy Oval to face the Coffs Swans.