Magpies win in ?mudbath


AFL North Coast officials were adamant the final round of the competition was not going to be stopped by teeming rain, thunder, swamp-like conditions and difficult parking.

In a possible grand final preview, the Magpies tackled the Saints head-on in atrocious conditions to win 5.9 (39) to 3.8 (26).

Coach Matt Newton spoke passionately before the game about pride in the jumper, and commitment to each other in a submission to lighten even the wettest flame, as the Magpies looked to overhaul an intimidating Sawtell side.

"Today is a special day for the club, and we are all aware of that. We have a heap of old past players here today, and we want to show them that we are as passionate about the club as they were 25 years ago when it all began here," Newton said.

Newton, who speaks like an elder from an indigenous African tribe, such is his wisdom and command of the language. He also has the qualities as a footballer and the leadership skills of an elder, to take it all the way for the magpies in season 2006.

In the first quarter the Magpie midfield blasted the Saints with three goals to none. However, the Saints hit back taking advantage of the hurricane like conditions to get a sniff before the half-time break.

Newton again addressed his players, appealing for calm and a return to form similar to the first quarter, but the game was now an arm wrestle, with both teams desperate to take home a waterlogged win in trying conditions.

The three goal margin at quarter-time proved too much for the Saints, with Matt Newton sealing it for the side with a goal in the dying stages of the game.

Port Macquarie president Paul Sheldon said, "In all my years, I don't reckon I have seen footy played like it was today. AFL was the winner. I think we proved that we can play in all conditions, and that's why it's the number one supported football code in this country."

"We took a lot from today's game, knowing that we have the measure of the Saints who I believe will be the big threat in the finals."

Sawtell president Mick Britton said, "It was physical encounter and thought the first quarter three goals to none set the scene for the result."

PORT MACQUARIE 3.8 4.9 4.9 5.9 (39) SAWTELL 0.1 2.6 3.6 3.8 (26)

Goals: Port ? D.Butterfeild (2) M.Newton, S.Payne, L.Gemell

Sawtell ? T.McCormick, S.Matthews, S.Bilsburough

Best: Port ? L.Gemell, M.Newton, D.Butterfeild, G.Leslie, S.Skreja

Sawtell ? S.Matthews, L.Matthews, M.Bibby, C.Tune

Reserve grade: Port Macquarie 2.6 (19) d Sawtell 2.6.18

Under 18: Port Macquarie 7.4 (46) d Sawtell 4.7 (31)

At Stuart Park, Port Macquarie.

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FROM the first bounce the Kangaroos had their foot on the accelerator with wet weather tyres with no stage electing to rest on cruise control as they powered their way to a 119 to 0 victory.

A six goal first quarter set the tone for the day where the Tigers were undermanned and going to struggle against the depth of the Roos who coasted to a 17.17 (119) to 0.0 (0) win.

A haul seven goals to coach Darren Funston lead his team to and easy victory.

Brad Giri enjoying the heavy going was again at his best putting his hand up for votes along with strong performances from Tom Campbell, Jason Mayer and Jason Crispe.

The only negative for the day was North Coffs Brendan Ogden being booked for abusive language towards and umpire.

NORTH COFFS 6.9 7.14 13.16 17.17 (119) GRAFTON 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 (0)

Goals: Norths ? D.Funston (7), J.Mayer (3), B.Giri (2), S.Leeson, M.Crispe, J.Rendell, T.Campbell, D.Butler (1) Grafton ? No goal scorers

Best: Norths ? D.Funston, B.Giri, T.Campbell, J.Mayer, M.Crispe

Grafton ? S.Onus, T.Sheather, J.Darby, D.McGregor, J.Kennedy

Reserve grade: Grafton 3.11 (29) d North Coffs 0.2 (2)

Under 18: Grafton 9.16 (70) d North Coffs 0.1 (1)

At Advocate Park, Coffs Harbour

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THE Coffs Harbour Swans have received an added bonus for their 12.19 (91) to 1.2 (8) win on Saturday. They have landed second spot on the ladder and the double chance for the finals.

The Swans were like 'ducks to water' in their impressive 83 point victory over the Lions.

Best for the Swans were Tristan Snow, who looked partial to the wet conditions along with Jay Guthrie and Mat Lane who also relished the heavy going.

Other notable players for the Swans where Shane McGrath in the ruck and Scott Morgan working hard out of defence.

To Nambucca credit they just never give up, Trent Baade, Scott Beattie and Heath Addison work tirelessly for the Lions all day along with a big effort from Ewan Muek.

The lions never troubled the Swans as they continued to use the heavy ball well setting up Jay Guthrie who kicked three for the Swans along with Nick Butcher and Wade Hickey snagged two each.

Swans coach Jeff Reed said, "He was please to see all players having a go and getting plenty of ball now that we are heading into the finals."

"In addition to the double chance in the finals he was happy to have the weeks rest with a number of blokes carrying niggling injuries."

COFFS SWANS 3.5 7.12 10.15 12.19 (91) NAMBUCCA VALLEY 0.1 0.1 0.1 1.2 (8)

Goals: Swans ? J.Guthrie (3) N.Butcher, W.Hickey (2), M.Burrow, Z.Whitbread, D.Colman, M.Lane, T.Snow (1)

Best: Swans ? T.Snow, M.Lane, J.Guthrie, S.McGrath, S.Morgan

Nam. Vall ? S.Beattie, T.Baade, H.Addison, E.Muek

Reserve grade: Coffs Swans 3.3 (21) d Nambucca Valley 2.3 (15)

Under 18s: Coffs Swans 7.10 (52) d Nambucca Valley 0.2 (2)

At Fitzroy Oval, Coffs Harbour.

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