End is nigh for loser
IT'S do-or-die for Grafton and Port Macquarie this afternoon when they meet in the knockout 1st Semi Final.
Both teams have struggled to get their best outfit on the park all season and their results have reflected this challenge.
At full strength, both sides are competitive and capable of springing an upset but full strength has been the exception rather than the rule in 2017.
Grafton proved this last week when it went within a goal of beating minor premiers Coffs Breakers.
Sadly for the Tigers the last week's effort did take a toll on them with injuries looking likely to sideline three key players for today's match at the C.ex Coffs International Stadium.
Port Macquarie has looked at its strongest over the course of the past month and has strung together a series of improved performances.
Even in last week's loss to reigning premier Sawtell/Toormina, the Magpies competed strongly throughout.
Experienced players Craig Dicker, Rod Sonogan, Luke Long and Scott Dalton have provided the foundation whilst younger players such as Luke Boxhall and Fraser Carroll have made important contributions.
Club champion Jesse Schmidt has endured an injury interupted season but returned to the Magpies line-up last week and adds much needed polish to the forward line.
Coffs Breakers and Sawtell/Toormina both have the weekend off ahead of their 2nd Semi Final meeting next week.
The winner of that clash earns the direct route into the grand final.
AFL NORTH COAST
1st Semi Final at C.ex Coffs International Stadium.
2.20pm: Port Macquarie v Grafton