Tigers fate: win three finals in row to defend title
REIGNING premier Grafton, steps onto C.ex Coffs International Stadium today knowing it must win three consecutive finals games to achieve the dream of three straight titles.
In their two previous campaigns the Tigers have come from top spot to win their flags and this will be a new challenge for them.
North Coffs has really struggled as a club over the past month and at best look like providing only token resistance for the rampaging Tigers.
At their best, and with their full list on the park, the Kangaroos can be competitive but it's hard to mount a case for an upset unless the Grafton bus breaks down and the Tigers start a quarter late.
Even then it is hard to see the Tigers losing this.
Grafton needs a hard run. It had a good hit out against Sawtell last week and finished full of confidence to take that game in a tight finish.
Evan Duyrea has had an outstanding season and will relish the open space while veteran Mark Blundell will look to turn back the clock with some impressive hauls at full forward.
The Tigers premiership credentials will be strengthened with the return of number-one ruckman Graeme Connelly last start and he will improve as he finds match fitness.
North Coffs coach/player Mick Young was confident his team still had the qualities to mount a serious challenge on Saturday but admitted that it was a "tough year" and that he "couldn't wait for it to end".
"It's amazing what we can put together on the day," Young said.
"Usually we'll just pick players from reserves, myself included and get a team together."
Young said that with the possible formation of a new Coffs AFL team next year, the club would cease to exist.
"Next year will be different. There will be the formation of a new Coffs Club which might make things a little easier," Young said.
"AFL North Coast will have to figure that one out and use all their resources to create the team."
The reserves game at 1pm is the Coffs Swans facing off against Sawtell/Toormina in what should be a really hard and tight contest.
The Swans sneaked into the four at the expense of North Coffs and are making a late charge. They are the reigning reserve grade premiers.
Camden Haven and Sawtell open proceedings in what should be another close and entertaining under-18 game which is due to start at 11am.
AFL NORTH COAST 1st SEMI FINAL DAY
At C.ex Coffs International Stadium
Seniors - 2.30pm: North Coffs v Grafton
Reserves - 1.00pm: Sawtell/Toormina v Coffs Swans
Under-18s - 11.00am: Camden Haven v Sawtell/Toormina