Blues and Tigers share the points in opening round thriller

Daley Bear gets a handball away in the match against Grafton.


BOTH Grafton and Northern Beaches left Ellem Oval rueing a missed opportunity as they had to settle for a draw in a thrilling opening round clash.

Within 15 minutes of the season start, reigning premier Grafton had eight of the first nine scoring shots as the speed of the Tigers around the packs was causing the Northern Beaches headaches.

The trouble was Grafton kicked just one goal in the early onslaught and let a chance to gain a big early lead slip by.

Northern Beaches on the other hand were left to wonder what they could’ve done better in the latter stages of the contest to hold on to the 16-point lead it held at three-quarter time.

Ned O’Neill kicked his third goal for the Tigers with three minutes remaining on the clock to tie the scores up but neither side was able to snatch the lead despite some desperate efforts on very tired legs.

Grafton coach Adi Campbell said it was more than just inaccuracy in front of goal that stopped the Tigers getting all four points.

“Missed opportunities and our work rate around the footy hurt us a fair bit like spreading the ball out of contests, we didn’t spread hard enough,” Campbell said.

“But it was a good fight back.

“To be almost three goals down in that last quarter and come back and draw it was good but we just ran out of time.”

Blues coach Rory Evans said he was reasonably happy with the result.

“If you said before the game you can come up here and face the premiers from last year and get a draw, the greedy person in me probably wouldn’t have taken it but the sensible person would’ve,” Evans said.

“It’s good to come up here and challenge them and do that.

“I’m not really focused on the last quarter.

“I’m probably more really happy with how we responded from the first half of the first quarter.”

Grafton 8.14 (62) drew with Northern Beaches 9.8 (62)

Goals – Graf: N.O’Neill 3, T.Churchin 3, D.Perich, T.Mullins. N.B: F.Duryea 4, J.Rak 2, B.Petrolo, M.Davey, P.Oake-Laurie.

Reserves: Grafton 10.8 (68) def Northern Beaches 7.11 (53)

Round 2 – Saturday, May 1

Northern Beaches v Coffs Breakers at Centennial Oval, Woolgoolga

(11.50am – Women; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)

Lismore Swans v Port Macquarie at Oakes Oval, Lismore

(1.20pm – Women; 2.50pm – Seniors)

Casino v Grafton at Queen Elizabeth Park, Casino

(2.50pm – Seniors)

Sawtell/Toormina v Nambucca Valley at Richardson Park, Sawtell

(10.00am – Under-17s; 1.20pm – Reserves; 2.50pm – Seniors)


Leave a Reply