Lions hungry in grand final replay
THE sun has been out all week, which hopefully means North Coast Football can get back to some normality.
Of the men’s first division fixtures scheduled so far, only 30 per cent have been played, with Woolgoolga and Northern Storm the only two teams to have played both weeks, so not many others have seen much action.
A grand final replay is usually a highly anticipated event, particularly when it’s a local derby, but this afternoon’s clash between Coffs United and Coffs Coast Tigers at Maclean St is lacking something, because the Tigers look to be struggling early.
Because there hasn’t been much play the perception regarding the Tigers might be wrong, but a loss to Byron Bay in the Solo Cup, followed by a 3-0 negative result at Woolgoolga, has Coffs Coast searching for form.
The Lions look ominous again after winning their Solo Cup opener 9-0 and leading Westlawn 5-0 a fortnight ago before lightning forced the match to be abandoned.
Westlawn will be the first team to face Boambee’s new-look line up, in Grafton this evening.
Any secrets new coach Friedi Meinel has been holding have been kept from us until now, with no Solo Cup entry and Ayrshire Park closed for the first two weeks of competition.
Of most concern to Boambee fans is the prospect of a season without striker Brady Parker.
The talented goal scorer has moved on to the NBN League in Newcastle, where his famous left foot will no doubt become well known.
Westlawn will be the first to find out who Boambee has to replace him.
It’s hard to say at this stage how either Orara Valley or Maclean is shaping, because they’ve hardly been sighted.
Maclean hit the ground running with a big win over Tuncurry Forster in the Solo Cup but the Bobcats have been unable to get on the pitch for nearly a month.
This afternoon Orara Valley faces Maclean at Dairyville and last year the Dingoes were very hard to beat on their home ground.
Every year there’s a team that rises up the table and in 2011 early indications are that that team will be Sawtell.
The Scorpions line-up is not that different to last year’s but Leo Baumgartner has pulled on the green and white as coach and that always makes a difference.
Sawtell has also been blessed with big numbers. It’s normal to see 40 players at training, creating healthy competition for each spot on the pitch.
Northern Storm faces the Scorpions tonight at Toormina Oval and Storm coach Jade Porter believes his team turned a corner last week when defeating Woolgoolga.
In the only Sunday fixture of the round Woolgoolga must travel to Urunga.
The season so far has resulted in a win and a loss for Woolgoolga, while it’s one from one for Urunga.
The Raiders love playing at home but the Wolves will be keen to bounce back from last week’s loss.
Coffs United facing Woolgoolga just shades Boambee against Corindi-Red Rock as the match of the day in women’s first division action this afternoon.
Coffs had the wood on Woopi last year and seemed to find its goal-scoring form whenever the two met.
The way the Wildcats ran riot over Urunga a fortnight ago under the tutelage of Al Courtenay suggests that this afternoon will provide a different scenario.
There’s also a strong rumour that many Lionesses are donning bridesmaids’ dresses today as two club members tie the knot.
Little separates Boambee and Corindi-Red Rock on paper and it’s expected little will separate them on the pitch when they meet at Ayrshire Park this afternoon.
Maclean is yet to strike a ball in anger in 2011. After winning the second division grand final last season and entering the top flight, big things are expected of the Bobcats’ talented young group.
And what a way for it to start, playing Urunga after it has suffered its heaviest defeat in several years.
The Raiders will be wanting to put that first-round disaster behind them and get back to what they do best – scoring lots of goals.
While playing numbers are an issue at Northern Storm, it’s hard to see the Twisters challenging for the three points this afternoon during the marathon of football at Toormina Oval.
NORTH COAST FOOTBALL
Men’s 1st Division
3pm today: Coffs United v
Coffs Coast Tigers
3pm today: Orara Valley v Maclean
5pm today: Westlawn v Boambee
7pm today: Sawtell v
2pm tomorrow: Urunga v Woolgoolga
Women’s 1st Division
3pm today: Coffs United v Woolgoolga
3pm today: Boambee v Corindi-Red Rock
3pm today: Maclean v Urunga
3pm today: Sawtell v Northern Storm