Grand Final Replay headlines Round 2
Sawtell/Toormina v North Coffs
It is not on the same scale as a Grand Final but North Coffs can take a step towards redemption today at Richardson Park.
The Saints smashed the Kangaroos in the decider last year and looked strong again in their opening round win over Nambucca Valley. Their rivals were just as impressive, easily disposing of an insipid Grafton.
The balance was on show for the Kangaroos and will need to be again to have a chance. Most crucial will be the drive provided by Levi Sands and Trent Cook across half-back. Cook, in previous clashes has tagged Saints linchpin, Mark Couzens. No doubt the Kangaroos’ hierarchy will consider that option once more on the match-up board.
It is not only Couzens where North Coffs must be wary. Jack Gillingham was dominant in the centre and across half-forward against the Lions. Ben Hooke also kicked five goals and with the ball delivered on a platter, there are few, if any, players in the competition quicker on the lead.
It will be interesting to see if the Saints miss Daniel Johnson against quality opposition.
North Coffs, themselves, have plenty of experience where it counts. Greg Jarman is as fit as ever and back in the fold, and along with Brad Giri, racked up a high number of clearances in tight spaces. Tall forwards, Brendan Norton and Ryan Turner operated well and will pose a fresh threat for the Saints.
The X-factor is the left-footed, Dean Funston. An ex-Vic Country representative, Funston played well in bursts in his first game on the North Coast and could be the trump card the Kangaroos need to get over the line.
Grafton v Coffs Swans
Both sides will be looking to register their first points for 2010 when they clash at Ellem Oval.
Grafton were short of a gallop and will be expecting a cleaner display against a Swans line-up that showed promise despite their opening round loss to the Magpies.
Kris Rundell’s men will be better prepared, physically, for this match. Their run and quickness of disposal are potential weapons that were utilised to perfection last weekend by the Kangaroos against the same opposition.
Evan and Fraser Duryea, again, are the players vital to the Swans chances this year.
It was clear last weekend that Grafton lack attacking options. Without Shawn Purton, Grahame Blackwell is the only big man up forward. Kodie O’Malley is the one the Tigers hope puts his hand up as an avenue to goal otherwise David Box and Peter Robinson will have a day out rebounding off half-back.
The Tigers need more from Justin Darby and the midfield, to allow Daniel Zacek to play more as an attacking half-forward option.
A big improvement is needed for Grafton to have a chance in what is a big game for both sides this early in the season.
Port Macquarie v Nambucca Valley
The Magpies should register their second straight win when they host the Lions at Stuart Park.
Port were the surprise packet of the first round, coming from behind in the early stages to swoop the Swans away from home.
Their side has the ingredients for success, with Scott Payne returning to his vintage best with a game-high six goals up forward. Dean Nankervill was superb off half-back and will be an important part of the Magpies success this season.
Craig Dicker proved last weekend to be a strong signing for the club and worked well with physical on-baller, Shannon Skreja.
Nambucca Valley could only manage one goal against the Saints. Reports were they were rusty and should get better as the season progresses.
The talent lies mostly with Ray McGrath and Jimmy Angel. The rest of the side are honest toilers, and that won’t be enough to overcome a Magpies’ onslaught over four quarters.