Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Chasing the Premiers

Newspaper article Coffs Coast Advocate (Coffs Harbour, Australia)

Chasing the Premiers

Article excerpt

Byline: Greg White

ONE day out from the start of the 2009 AFL North Coast season, Luke Turner takes a quick look at the contenders for this year's flag.

Sawtell

THE dominant side of the decade has been quiet during the off-season but most of their competitors are quick to name the Saints as favourites.

Russ Matthews stays on as coach with the biggest issue being a lack of height.

They recently won the pre-season Tablelands Cup without frontline ruckmen Courtney Tune and Josh Edwards.

Again, pressure will be on the midfielders to back up centurion goal kicker Ben Hooke. A number of beefed-up junior players like Elliott Schmidt and Jack Gillingham will see more senior action this year. They might not be as strong but will again be prominent come finals time.

North Coffs

AFTER a heavy grand final loss, the 'Roos have been the most active club over the break.

A number of high quality recruits have joined the squad in a heavy training regime under Trent Cook and coach Danny McFadden.

In-form Sam Dawes is crucial to their chances, and word is a well-credentialed ruckman has landed in town to cover for the likely loss of Graeme Connolly.

Darren Funston is lean and will play an active role again across the centre and half-forward. Stalwarts Josh Drum and Brad Giri have again thrown their hats in the ring to head an imposing midfield.

Given the side stays healthy, expect them to give the competition a great shake.

Coffs Swans

THIS side has a different flavour this year with Dave Box taking over.

There will be a heavier reliance on youth without veterans Tristan Snow and Peter Chadwick.

Box has wasted no time in placing a hard-lined stance on training attendance which will benefit the side. They will take valuable lessons from their finals capitulation last season. …

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