Round 3 Preview
North Coffs v Coffs Swans
The next chapter of this cross-town rivalry will be played out at the Coffs Coast Leisure Park (opposite BCU Stadium), with North Coffs seeking to further their strong start to the season.
These traditional rivals have played out some classic contests over the years and neither coach will have to talk up their troops for this one. Expect a physical encounter, with the Roos favourites despite the Swans big win away from home last week.
The Kangaroos have been very quick out of the blocks, with the opposition playing catch-up to reach the high standard the side set over the off-season.
The experienced firm look like they have a new lease of life with a blend of recruited talent filling in the missing pieces from last year. The goals were shared last week in an impressive showing against the Tigers away from home. Sam Dawes and Brad Giri will again play an important role in dictating the flow of the match.
The Swans have been the only other side not to drop a game to date and will find their arch-rivals a much tougher proposition. Nick Millard and Blake Ford must stand up in the middle for the Swans to have a chance. Evan Duryea again is the X-factor and needs support in the forward line.
Dave Box has done a good job to date instilling some work ethic and urgency into a traditionally laid-back squad.
Both sides showcase an ability to rebound well off half-back. Tully Wollaston (Norths) and Rob Eddy (Swans) are accountable defenders but invariably the hard work comes out of the middle. The Swans were monstered in last yearâs Elimination Final in this area and will need to prove they have improved in this area to stop North Coffsâ run.
Grafton v Port Macquarie
Early form suggests these sides will sit either side of the top four come the end of the season. Grafton have a kind draw in playing their opening four matches at home, so this match holds extra weighting considering their winless start to 2009. The Tigers are a good shot if the 'Pies travel light.
They were competitive without threatening North Coffs last week but would be pleased with how their youngsters stood up under pressure.
Ryan Sheather enjoyed a strong game last week, with Luke Hayman and Dale Beaver looming as targets around the forward line.
A strong combination between Daniel Zacek and ruckman, Graeme Connolly will be pivotal to the side moving forward.
Port enjoyed a physical hitout against the Saints but fell short again away from home. Jesse Schmidt has kicked 14 goals in the opening two rounds and will again attract strong attention this weekend. The side will look for a more even contribution in this match and will start slight favourites.
Nambucca Valley v Sawtell/Toormina
The Saints engine kicked into gear last week with an improved showing and will be keen to keep the momentum going in its trip south to Macksville Park.
Todd Matthews hit form last week and will enjoy working off his brother Luke as the season progresses. Mark Couzens is an evergreen performer and is a core component of the Saints leadership group. Daniel Pritchardâs return made a noticeable difference in straightening the side up against Port Macquarie.
Nambucca Valley were valiant last week with Jimmy Angel inspirational across half-back. The effort is well embodied in the likes of midfield generals, Luke Benson and Monty Schmidt. Here though lies a side is full of negating players which in that lies a consistent deficiency in being able to put points on the board.
Sawtell have been blessed with other avenues to goal besides Ben Hooke and this will again prove a key component of their premiership defence.