Chance of Swans challenge
WHILE the two combatants in the NAB Challenge match to be played at BCU International Stadium on March 12 won’t officially be known for another five days, speculation is rife that Sydney is almost certain to be one of the teams playing.
The Swans lost their NAB Cup quarter-final on Friday night and therefore must take part in the NAB Challenge matches to complete their pre-season preparations.
There have been two previous AFL matches played in Coffs Harbour and both have featured Sydney.
The first match was in 1995, against the then Brisbane Bears, and the second against Carlton in 2003.
Considering the strong links that Sydney has built with the Coffs Harbour community via the introduction of the club’s new Northern NSW Academy, there are plenty of reasons for the club to strengthen its ties with the city by playing under the stadium’s new lights in less than a fortnight.
Regional manager for AFL Northern NSW Mark Heaney says he knows just as little as everyone else in the region as to who the two teams coming to Coffs Harbour will be but he admitted that if Sydney was one of those teams it would make plenty of sense.
“It would be a good idea if Sydney came here to play in the match,” Heaney said.
“You would like to see them here for a variety of reasons, including their crowd-pulling ability and the support the Swans have built up in the area through hard work with the school visits, community camps, as well as the Swans Academy, which has only just started up to offer a pathway to the elite level for young players in the region.
“At this stage though it’s pure speculation as to which teams will be playing at the stadium.
“We probably won’t know officially until this Sunday at the earliest.”