Lismore Swans’ Daniel Moloney (right) and team-mate Jak Johnson (left) lead in the race for the ball against Byron Magpies’ Kane Bullock (centre) in last Saturday’s Summerland AFL match in Lismore.
Lismore Swans’ Daniel Moloney (right) and team-mate Jak Johnson (left) lead in the race for the ball against Byron Magpies’ Kane Bullock (centre) in last Saturday’s Summerland AFL match in Lismore. Cathy Adams

Tigers favourite to take out SAFL

PERENNIAL Summerland AFL premiership contenders Byron Magpies and Ballina Bombers find themselves in unfamiliar territory at this late stage of the season.

Typically jockeying for spots one and two on the league ladder, the coastal clubs are stuck mid-table, vying for that double chance come the finals, now just five rounds away.

Seemingly unable to get into more than a canter, Byron and Ballina are nevertheless beginning to make their charge, with recent results pointing to an improved run home.

Grimly hanging on to second spot is Lismore, a game clear of their local rivals.

After three losses in a row, another defeat on Saturday will see the Swans back among the pack.

Yet to taste premiership success (after a merger of Lismore Roos and Goonellabah Swans), Lismore have had many bites at the cherry yet have been unable to take that next step.

The cause of local angst is newcomer Tweed Coast.

The second-year Tigers are hot favourites to take out the SAFL premiership, this season brushing aside the best the locals can muster.

Calling on the resources of the mature Gold Coast football scene – and a well-resourced contact book – the Tigers have Queensland State level players, Queensland rep players, VFL and QAFL fairest-and-bests and former AFL rookies at their disposal, including dual QAFL Grogan Medal winner Barry Round (2002, 2005), Queensland under-21 State representative Arnold Knight, and former Sydney Swans and St Kilda rookie James Wall, among a host of others.

And it’s showing on the park.

Only a first-round hiccup – by two points – was the Tweed Coast’s only blemish far this season.

Since then, it’s been one-way traffic.

Results this season have shown the Tigers systematically taking teams apart with their well-drilled side and stable structures.

The question on everybody’s lips associated with local football is: Which team will they play in the grand final?

The answer to that should become a lot clearer over the next five weeks, starting on Saturday.



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