Ready to rumble


This weekend's AFL matches (tips in bold):

Friday night: Melbourne v Geelong.

Saturday: St Kilda v Western Bulldogs, Fremantle v West Coast.

Saturday night: Essendon v Richmond, Adelaide v Port Adelaide.

Sunday: Brisbane Lions v Sydney, Carlton v Collingwood, Kangaroos v Hawthorn.


It's the fiercest rivalry in the league and this week the Swans look set to rumble.

Full of confidence after last week's victory over Port Macquarie which broke a five year hoodoo, tomorrow the Swans will come out firing on their home ground to beat their cross-town rivals for the first time since the opening round of 2001.

The new blood that is actually old blood has made all the difference to the Swans in the first weeks of the season and you can bet as much as their playing coach does every Saturday on a Quadrella that a strong performance from Peter Chadwick and Matt Lane will see the Swans half way home to breaking the five year bogey.

North Coffs also earned their first premiership points last week but this year they already look like only a shadow of their former days when they would devour opposition like their president Brad Greenshields does a hot dog.

Last week they dominated possession through the middle of the ground with their young midfielders but the forwards failed to capitalize with the ease that they once would.

The task for the forwards will be even more difficult this week after John Henry failed to escape a suspension despite being reported for only the first time ever in 21 years of senior football.

Expect the fireworks in this one and maybe some long overdue celebrations at the Coffs Hotel.

I'm sure everyone just hopes that if the game is drawing to an exciting conclusion that the siren is loud enough to be heard.

TIP: Coffs Swans by 28 points.


THE undefeated top of the table team against a team that is yet to record a victory.

On paper it seems a simple enough task to select a winner but it isn't as easy as you might think.

It is true that Nambucca Valley is the only team in AFL North Coast yet to record a win but they've hardly been playing like wooden spooners in the opening fortnight.

Last week they only trailed North Coffs by a goal at half time and the week before led Grafton by nine points at the final change before faltering in the last stanza.

The Lions Scott Beattie and Trent Baade collected plenty of the ball around the ground while young Monty Schmidt showed what a summer of growing can do for the confidence of a teenager.

Sawtell though haven't got anywhere near top gear yet and are already on top of the table.

Even more ominously was the appearance at Grafton last weekend of Jai Hardy and Dave Meyers in reserve grade.

If and when they return to the senior team, it can only serve to boost an already imposing line-up.

At home the Saints should be too strong but the margin will be nowhere near any of those we have seen in recent years when a top of the table meets the cellar dwellers.

TIP: Sawtell by 38 points


IF Grafton are going to be a force to be reckoned with in 2006 then tomorrow's clash at home against Port Macquarie is one that the Tigers simply must win.

A gutsy win chasing down a deficit in the season opener followed by a respectable loss last week against the reigning premier is a solid start that earns the club respectability but if they're going to be feared rather than respected then tomorrow is more about show time rather than show business.

Port struggled to get a full complement of their senior team last week to Coffs Harbour which indicates that most of their players that work on Saturdays have organized to get this weekend off and the Magpies appear set to have a real crack at this one.

Port have always been a very well drilled outfit but the confined spaces of Ellem Oval can bring undone the best laid plans especially when defenders start realizing that they're not far away from kicking a goal if they just push a little further downfield.

Grafton have improved enormously over the summer and this weekend will be the time when the club finally has all opposition sitting up and taking notice of them.

TIP: Grafton by 15 points.

Passers by quick to rescue at possible Coffs Creek drowning

Passers by quick to rescue at possible Coffs Creek drowning

Mother and four year-old girl rescued at Coffs Creek.

Pledged cash for bypass still on hold

Pledged cash for bypass still on hold

Election promise of $200m to build Coffs bypass now three years old.

Suns rise for season opener

Suns rise for season opener

Coffs Harbour's Waratah League season tips off tonight.

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