Coffs Breakers key forward Fraser Duryea kicked five goals against Grafton.
Coffs Breakers key forward Fraser Duryea kicked five goals against Grafton. Brad Greenshields

Breakers' catch-up game brings four points

WHILE Coffs Breakers extended their unbeaten start to the season to two matches, the main talking point out of the catch-up clash at Ellem Oval was the improved performance of Grafton.

Beaten by 192 points less than a week before, the Tigers fought back against the Breakers to go down by just 39 points under the floodlights.

This result could've been closer if it wasn't for wayward finishing, with Grafton posting 20 scoring shots to the Breakers 24.

The match was in the balance at quarter time with the Breakers holding a three'-point lead, which was extended to 17 points at the half as the Breakers exploited some tiring Tigers.

"It was even in the first quarter, but they are probably a fitter side and just ran over us a little bit in the middle stages," Tigers coach Luke Stanford said.

"They kicked a few goals in a row and we just couldn't seem to stop the flow."

Breakers then set up the win in the third quarter by establishing a 37-point lead, which was always going to be too much for the Tigers to overcome.

To the home side's credit, it refused to give in throughout the final quarter.

It was a mammoth effort for the Tigers, who had up to nine different faces from their second- round shellacking at Sawtell.

Emerging junior stars Ronan Leslie and Kade Bagnall stepped up for coach Stanford, while the returning big man Lee Anderson added much-needed experience into the Tigers' backline.

"It was certainly a lot better effort from our boys," Stanford said.

"There is definitely some good signs heading into next weekend's home game against Port."

The third-round clash with the Magpies will be the Tigers best opportunity to get on the front foot and possibly secure their first win in two years, with the Port Macquarie side making the long journey up to Ellem Oval.

Stanford said the first game under lights was a major success and there was potential to host at least two more clashes in the evening.

"It was unreal playing at night with a full crowd there to cheer us on," he said.

Grafton expects to play another night clash against Sawtell/Toormina.

2.4 7.4 11.7 13.11 (89)
1.7 3.11 4.12 6.14 (50)

Goals - Coffs: F.Duryea 5, N.Stanlan-Velt 2, J.Hunt, D.Donelly, B.Gibbeson, C.Holten, L.Paige, C.Frangos. Graf: S.Duroux 3, R.McDonald, L.Stanford, C.Curthoys.

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