AFL North Coast home and away season review

The Nambucca Valley Lions made the step up to first grade action this year.


THIS year’s AFL North Coast season has been an historic one, with both the Lismore Swans and Casino Lions joining the competition for the first time.

In a year in which the AFL North Coast celebrated its 40th season, eight seniors teams from Port Macquarie to Lismore took part while a record six women’s teams played in 2021.

The Grafton Tigers women played their first season as a stand-alone club after previously combining with the Northern Beaches Blues women in 2019.

The Nambucca Valley Lions also made the step up into the seniors competition after winning last year’s reserves premiership.

With the finals series underway, what better time to look back at the 2021 home and away season, starting with our local pride of Lions.

Nambucca Valley Lions: After winning last year’s reserve grade premiership, it was a tough transition stepping up to first grade this season with the Lions winning just two games in 2021.

The Lions showed tremendous heart throughout the season, managing with reduced squad numbers throughout.

As the Lions’ Jacon Newbury said after a round three loss to the Northern Beaches Blues in May, “Entering first grade for the first time in 10 years was always going to be a tough nut for the Lions to crack but the determination they showed today proves the boys are committed and learning.

“The lads are excited for what the future holds.

“Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same can be said for a successful football club.

“Keep up the hard work boys, the reward will come and it will be worth it!”

Coffs Harbour Breakers: The all-around powerhouse club of 2021, the Breakers seniors, women’s and reserves teams all finished their seasons as minor premiers.

The three Breakers teams had just 4 losses between them all season. The Breakers seniors’ team will look to add a third premiership to their 2017 and 2019 flags, while the women’s side look for back-to-back flags after their 2020 premiership.

Sawtell/Toormina Saints: Last year’s runners up started the season slowly but were the standout team of the second half of the season, winning seven straight games heading into this year’s finals series as the seniors team finished second.

The Saints will be out to add to their record 10 AFL North Coast seniors premierships.

Lismore Swans: Made an instant impact in their inaugural season on the North Coast with both their seniors and women’s team finishing third on the ladder, as the club now looks to make history by winning a premiership in their debut season in the AFL North Coast competition.

Port Macquarie Magpies: Took until the last game of the season to secure a finals berth, finishing fourth with a final round win against the Northern Beaches Blues.

Was one of three clubs whose seniors and women’s sides both made finals.

Northern Beaches Blues: Looked like a finals side for much of the season, but a losing run late saw them just miss out on this year’s finals series.

The Blues women were the only side to beat the Coffs Harbour Breakers this season on their way to finishing second.

Grafton Tigers: Like their AFL namesakes Richmond, the defending premiers failed to make this year’s semi-finals.

The Tigers under 17s finished as minor premiers, while it was the women’s first season as a stand-alone team.

Casino Lions: The Lions first season in the AFL North Coast seniors competition was a tough return to senior footy for the first time since 2017, with the Casino club going winless in 2021.



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