Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Tigers Toppled as Swans Soar; Coffs Get Result but Grafton Remain on Top of Table

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Tigers Toppled as Swans Soar; Coffs Get Result but Grafton Remain on Top of Table

Article excerpt

THE Grafton Tigers winning streak came to an end on muddy Fitzroy Oval in Coffs Harbour on Saturday.

The under-manned Tigers paid the penalty for a poor third quarter and despite a brilliant five-goal fourth period were unable to edge ahead with the Coffs Harbour Swans running out 13.17 (95) to 11.10 (76) winners.

The game between first and second-placed teams on the North Coast AFL ladder was billed as the match of the year, with both sides coming into the game after victories last week and in good form.

Grafton entered the game without key players Grahame Connolley, Josh Sheather, Dale Beaver and Tim Whalan but still started the match as favourites.

Both teams struggled early on to find their feet in the muddy and slippery conditions.

The Swans kept the football inside Grafton's defensive 50 for the first 10 minutes of the match but scored just one goal before the Tigers lifted to finish strongly with majors to lead by 12 at the first break.

In the second quarter the Swans used their home-ground advantage and kept the ball to the dry areas of the field to find easy metres for their waiting forward line.

Grafton forwards Evan Dureya and Dan Zacek where tagged heavily during the match which shut down opportunities provided by the Tigers midfield.

The Swans' defensive tactics ensured they remained in front at the main break.

The Swans started the third quarter strongly, finding space around the middle and forcing Grafton's defensive line to work overtime.

Jackson Wright, Justin Darby, Will Darby and Ryan Sheather were tireless in defence as they fought hard to repel the constant attack which still resulted in a seven-goal haul for the Swans to see them lead at the final break by 36.

Starting the final quarter, the Tigers dug deep and finally found their stride and applied the pressure back on a tired Swans team with Ron Davis again finding plenty of possession in the midfield and helping forwards Dureya, Zacek, and Shawn Purton to kick five goals to close the gap. …

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