Local derbies to be great value
LOCAL rivalries come to the fore this weekend, as all four clubs face off against each other in the inaugural Local Rivalry Round Double Header tomorrow at the International Stadium.
For the cost of only a gold coin, a football fan can watch five matches, starting at 9:30am.
NORTH COFFS v WOOLGOOLGA
The earlier of the two senior matches (1:45pm), has a buoyant Woolgoolga facing the reigning premiers North Coffs.
Having looked almost invincible over so many years, it appears there just may be a chink starting to appear in North Coffs' armour, and people are already saying that a fifth consecutive title is out of the Kangaroos' reach.
On the other hand, Woolgoolga appear to be a team on the up after recording their first victory last week.
Having taken a while to get their act together, all parts of the game plan clicked into place last week, with the team kicking 19 goals, including 15 from the three tall forwards, Simon Wall, Nathan Skinner and Dave Barwise.
As with all matches that involve North Coffs, this game will be won in the midfield.
Last week North Coffs coach David Velt expressed concern at his midfield's lack of accountability.
On the wide open expanses of the Stadium, if you allow you're opponent to get away, you just might be signing your own death warrant for the day.
The most under-rated player in the Kangaroos midfield has recently been probably the most damaging player the Kangaroos have.
Keep an eye out for the form of Jason Bencich. He has taken his fitness to another level over pre-season, and is now reaping the rewards each Saturday.
TIP: North Coffs by 21 points.
SAWTELL/TOORMINA v COFFS SWANS
'You only need to stop two men.'
That's what most opponents have been saying about a simple game plan to stop Sawtell/Toormina's current unbeaten run.
But it's easier said than done, when the two players are the calibre of Luke Matthews and Mark Couzens. The Coffs Swans will need to find an answer tomorrow to the pair who've kicked 26 of Sawtell's 38 goals so far this season.
For a long period now, Brad Brennan has been the Swans' leading run-with player, and he'll probably get the job on Couzens, but the match-up on Matthews is a bit harder to make.
Someone strong in the air, as well as on the ground, is required to do the job.
As much as he'd hate to admit it, veteran Tony Waterfall has to be the money man for the job.
It's probably an insult to other players on the ground that many, myself included, believe that the outcomes of these two match-ups will determine the fate of the match.
Saints' captain Jai Hardy has been in solid form, as have teammates Dave Carey, Josh Edwards and Harley Scmidt.
It's just that little bit of extra support that will see the Saints home, and keep them as one of the early season premiership favourites.
TIP: Sawtell by 35 points.
GRAFTON v NAMBUCCA VALLEY
With all the hype being around the double-header this weekend, it's easy to forget that in Grafton one team is certain to open their account tomorrow.
Both Nambucca Valley and Grafton have gone close to gaining four points this season, but have found themselves falling down at the final hurdle.
Nambucca Valley are starting to serve notice that they're not the pushover most people thought they would be.
Lions players such as Jimmy Angel and Michael Townsend are probably walk-up starts to the upcoming representative match, while Trent Baade, Daniel Linares and young Ben McCormack are all putting their hand up when it comes time to be stand up and be be counted.
Grafton at home though are a tough nut to crack.
It's their ability to play well on the small Ellem Oval that keeps scaring more fancied opponents when they visit.
Home ground advantage will see Grafton home in a gripping contest.
TIP: Grafton by 23 points.
This weekends matches:
Under 18s Sawtell v Coffs Swans
Reserves Sawtell v Coffs Swans
12:30 Reserves North Coffs v Woolgoolga
13:45 Seniors North Coffs v Woolgoolga
16:15 Seniors Sawtell v Coffs Swans