Tigers off the pace
ARTICLE COURTESY OF THE DAILY EXAMINER
By Gary Nichols
With only two wins and a draw to their name the Tigers are anchored firmly on the North Coast AFL ladder.
Season-ending injuries to key players and the absence of an under-18 side has made Newman’s task as coach that more difficult.
“We had serious injuries to six or seven players which hasn’t helped our cause,” Newman said.
“A few guys were required to have shoulder and knee reconstructions which proved costly. If we didn’t have so many injuries we would have been more competitive and ended much higher up on the ladder.”
Newman added competing with more established sporting codes has also made it difficult to attract players and increase their playing stocks.
“It’s hard getting players to commit and come across from rival codes,” he said.
“At least half our team is made up of people who have moved to Grafton from other areas and have an AFL background.”
It’s only the second year Newman has tried his hand at coaching a first grade AFL side and he is hoping the Tigers can finish the season with a win against Sawtell/Toormina to finish on a positive note.
“It’s my first year coaching the Tigers but I coached the Ulladulla Dockers on the South Coast two seasons ago,” he said.
“We play Sawtell/Toormina on Saturday and it would be great to have a win.”
Defeating the competition favourites will be a massive task for the Tigers, even with a home ground advantage.
“Sawtell are a very good side and unfortunately we haven’t got within 10 goals of them this year.”
The Tigers reserve grade side are currently sitting in third place on the ladder and win or lose on Saturday they are assured of a semi-final berth.
“Hopefully our reserve grade can knock off Sawtell on the weekend,” Newman said.
“They will probably play against North Coffs in the first semi-final and I think they’ll go fairly deep into the finals.”