North Coffs is likely to beat an improving Coffs Swans today.
North Coffs is likely to beat an improving Coffs Swans today. TREVOR VEALE

Local rivals battling on

THE next instalment of the fierce local derby will be played out at Fitzroy Oval, with both Coffs Swans and North Coffs buoyant after important wins last week.

North Coffs reclaimed second with an impressive performance against Port Macquarie at home. It was a gritty effort by the Kangaroos and will see them head into today’s clash with renewed confidence.

Captain Josh Drum led by example in the midfield for the ’Roos and he has been finding more of the ball in recent weeks. Their men deep at either end were also pivotal to the result last weekend. Ben Sykes was a reliable spearhead up forward and while he only kicked a couple of goals himself, he regularly created opportunities for the small forwards.

After some criticism in this column, Kurt Connolly responded well and did the job on Port’s main man Michael Kemp in the last line of defence.

The Swans admittedly were not at their best but left Macksville with a crucial win that consolidated fourth spot.

They will need to improve markedly in this match and leading into the finals but the signs of improvement are there to see from the start of the season. The return of Darby Pearce gives the Swans greater strength in the midfield. He is forming a good partnership with Kris Rundell between the arcs and both are fundamental to the Swans’ chances going forward. Ben Miller can provide the Swans impetus in the ruck, while Evan Duryea has been in goalkicking form and gives the Swans a much-needed target in the forward line.

To win, the Swans will need to win the hard ball and that is easier said than done against the likes of the battle-hardened Kangaroos midfield.



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