Lions roar into semis
Reports By CHRIS McKINLEY
AT THE start of the year not many though it was possible but Nambucca Valley will be playing finals football in their inaugural season.
When the club formed at the start of the year, Lions committee members though it would be hard slog for two or three years as they waited for the talented Under 18s to develop but yesterday's 90-point thumping of Coffs Swans has seen dreams turn into reality.
And no-one is happier with the Lion's shock qualification than captain-coach Jimmy Angel.
"If you remember at the start of the year I predicted a top four finish when a lot of others wouldn't," Angel said.
"But it's been a big effort by the club."
Nambucca Valley won every quarter against an undermanned Swans outfit who were missing up to half a dozen regular first grade players.
It probably wouldn't have made much difference in the end though considering the way the Lions attacked the ball and continually ran in numbers towards open spaces to create the play.
"That was our best game of the year especially as far as a four quarter effort goes," the Lion's coach said.
"We just kept on running and running towards the end of each quarter which was pretty good.
"It's pretty hard to pick out the best players from the match because we were just so even across the ground which is the most pleasing thing."
Momentum has been building down at Macksville since the mid-season break with new players practically falling out of trees to put on a Lion's guernsey.
One of those players was Michael Ward who came across from rugby league looking for a way to have a runaround.
If Ward thought this code was easy when started he definitely has excuses for thinking it now after leading the goal kicking in a big match with four goals.
He was ably supported up front by the tall timber in Angel and Adam Fitzhenry who both finished with three goals each.
Young Fitzhenry actually had a field day as he also kicked a bag of ten goals in the earlier under 18s clash.
The Swans seemed to have limped through the second half of the season without barely giving a yelp and might almost be relieved that their season has come to an end thanks to next week's bye.
Again Scott Morgan put his hand up for his team when a big effort was needed.
Morgan is nowhere near the bodyshape that he was when he made his senior debut but he still puts a lot of forwards to shame through sheer heart alone as it continues to pump the red and white blood that runs through his body.
The news though was all Nambucca Valley and now people are wondering if their late charge can continue in the finals.
Nambucca Valley 5.2 11.5 14.8 18.14 (122) d Coffs Swans 2.0 4.0 5.1 5.2 (32).
Nambucca Valley - M. Ward (4), A. Fitzhenry (3), J. Angel (3), T. Tairua (2), T. Baade (2), G. McIntyre (2), D. Kelly, C. Davies.
Swans - T. Waterfall (2), I. Crawley, A. Garrett, S. Morgan.
Nambucca Valley - M. Townsend, D. Linares, M. Ward, J. Angel, T. Baade.
Swans - A. Garret, S. Morgan, S. Camac, R. Duguid.
Under 18s: Nambucca Valley 19.10 (124) d Coffs Swans 5.3 (33).