Saints face sternest test

THIS is an interesting clash, with Sawtell arguably facing its greatest challenge this season to secure the four points.

The road trip to Port Macquarie does strange things to some teams, with the form guide often counting for little.

Sawtell is flying as a club this season and has not lost a game in any grade. The club’s resources will be stretched by having to field sides in all three grades at Stuart Park.

The Saints were patchy but still won by 100 points against Grafton at home last week. Again their young brigade starred, taking the focus off the older heads like Luke Matthews and Mark Couzens. Ben Hooke will have to work hard for his goals against one of the best defences in the league. Craig Dicker will probably get the job on the leading goalkicker and the duel could well decide the result.

Fellow defender Greg Dean was one of the Magpies down on their usual output last week against North Coffs.

Dean will need to be more prominent, especially if the home side is missing Dean Nankervill.

The midfield was also second to the contested ball.

Matthew Lill worked hard but the absence of captain Shannon Skreja hurt the Magpies’ cause.

Port’s inability to win the hard ball also contributed to their ill-discipline as the contest progressed. Port is by no means out of the race for a top-two berth, and this match offers the perfect opportunity to build momentum for the last half of the season.

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