AROUND THE TRAPS WITH ROD "ROCKET" MACPHERSON
Magpies New Nest
Port Macquarie Magpies had their first training run on their new home at Wayne Richards Park on Tuesday in heavy rain and were very impressed with the surface. They host the Coffs Swans on Saturday and are very confident about their chances. They will be unleashing their new giant ruckman form Armidale who stands at 207cm. He is so tall that he has to stoop under power lines.
Swans coach Tristan Snow is lamenting the loss of over a dozen players over the off season and expects a tough year for his young side. On the bright side former star Darby Pearce has returned bigger (all that good living on the tablelands no doubt or mum’s home cooking) and hopefully, better. Snowy claims he is topping 100kg!
Darby’s younger brother McKinley may only be 16 years old but already stands at 186cm and oozes talent. Star Magpie forward, Jessie Schmidt broke his leg (again) during the cricket season but has been passed fit to play on Saturday. The Pies will be far too strong in a passionate contest for the Paul Sheldon-Peter Morgan cup.
Tigers Looking at Back to Back
The Grafton Tigers will be presented with their 2011 premiership flag on Saturday on the freshly renovated Ellem Oval and would just love to do the same next year. They host a much improved Sawtell side boasting a list longer that Morgan Freeman. The Saints have been bolstered by the acquisition of many former Nambucca Lions players who have decided to stick together at the one club following the failure of Nambucca to field sides in 2012.
Sugar Ray McGrath will line up at full forward and is coming off some great practice match form where he booted 15 goals against Armidale. The Saints are super fit and I predict a top two finish for them. Watch out for the debut of Ricky "Count" Zappula hailing from the Essendon District. The Tigers had better have an extra ‘stake’ on the BBQ for this bloke. Tigers by 7 points.
On a sadder note I would like to express my sadness at the passing of young Lions player Nathan Copeland who was recently claimed in a kayaking mishap. Nathan was a Lions’ foundation player and sad loss to the AFL family.