D-DAY: AFL North Coast juniors fight for grand final berth
TIME has flown and the AFL North Coast junior competition finds itself heading into the last of the home and away rounds this weekend.
Although 2020 has been a shorter season than normal, players have valued the chance to train and play as it not only provides an outlet to be physically active, but also maintains social connections that are so important in this challenging environment.
Highlights of the season have included:
- The return of the Camden Haven Bombers in the under-11 competition where they will finish in the top four;
- The continued growth of the Nambucca Valley Lions that entered an under-15 team for the first time in their brief existence;
- The emergence of Sawtell Toormina Saints and Bellingen Bulldogs as dominant forces in the Youth Girls competition;
- The re-emergence of the Coffs Harbour Breakers and Port Macquarie Magpies in the under-15 age group after each club experienced a challenging season in 2019;
- The outstanding number of Youth Girls players at Grafton despite the graduation to senior ranks of the core of last years team;
- The continued growth of the Northern Beaches Blues and South West Rocks Dockers clubs which are really embedded in their local communities.
A further highlight of 2020 has been the number of night matches played across the region, which are always enjoyed by players and coaches alike. This includes the first ever night matches played at both Richardson Park, Sawtell and South Kempsey Oval.
With more grounds getting match standard lighting it’s expected that night matches will be an ongoing feature on the North Coast.
The condensed finals series sees the top two teams in each age group progress straight to a grand final on Sunday September 27.
At this point, seven of the eight combatants are confirmed across the various age groups, with five clubs represented.
Although disappointed to know their season is almost at an end, the good news for footy players is that the off season will be shorter than in previous years thanks to the delayed start. Bring on 2021!
AFL North Coast junior finalists
Under-15s: Port Macquarie Magpies vs Coffs Harbour Breakers under-15s
Youth Girls: Sawtell Toormina Saints vs Bellingen Bulldogs
Under-13s: Nambucca Valley Lions vs Sawtell Toormina Saints/Port Macquarie Swoopers
Under-11: Port Macquarie Flyers vs Coffs Harbour Breakers