Overnight rain will guide the final decision whether this round of AFL North Coast footy will continue.
Overnight rain will guide the final decision whether this round of AFL North Coast footy will continue. Leigh Jensen

Wet could delay Lions, Pies match

THE giant-killing Nambucca Valley Lions are shaping as the real deal in this season’s AFL North Coast competition and it is the Port Macquarie Magpies drifting next into their line of sight.

The Magpies travel to Macksville this weekend after the resurgent Lions defeated the defending premiers Sawtell by less than a goal in the first round.

It was a low-scoring encounter – Nambucca won 7.6 (48) to 6.7 (43) – but Magpies coach Scott Payne is confident that they can get their season back on track.

“We are determined to start focusing on football this week,” he promised.

“Our season starts again and watching the likes of Rod Sonagan, Hayden Kennedy and Ethan Durbridge on the training paddock has been an encouraging sign for the team.”

Port Macquarie suffered tragically with the death of club stalwart Paul Sheldon during their opening fixture, and the Magpies will wear black armbands in both grades as a mark of respect for their esteemed late member and his family.

The CSR reserve grade Magpies have the bye this week but the Norco Milk Under-18 side will take on a Nambucca outfit that gave them a good run in a recent trial match.

The junior Magpies won their first encounter against Coffs Swans 19.23 (127) to 4.10 (34) and welcome back key representative players Brad Smith and Drew Stanley into this week’s squad.

The Under-18s kick-start the action at Macksville Sportsground at 12.45pm while seniors get under way at 2.30pm.

In other North Coast AFL senior fixtures, the Coffs Swans take on the other big winners from the opening round, Grafton, at Fitzroy Oval.

North Coffs will play the other match against Sawtell at Coffs Coast Sports and the Leisure Park’s No 1\Oval.

Meanwhile, operations manager Matt Crawley had put off plans last night to watch the royal nuptials, instead taking in what the weather was doing.

“There are fears about the game at Macksville but I won’t announce any closures prematurely,” he said.



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