Tim Benson in action for Northern Rivers.
Tim Benson in action for Northern Rivers. Marc Stapelberg

Darling downs come up short

THE first Northern Rivers-Gold Coast AFL showdown with Darling Downs came up short but left coach Steve Huckerby with a lot of food for thought.

The Downs 19-7-121 defeated the locals 8-2-50 at Fripp Oval, Ballina, on Saturday despite Michael Young from Byron Magpies putting in a powerhouse performance to win the Frank Reid Medal.

He edged out Shaun Wadwell (Lismore) and the charismatic Rory Redfern (Ballina), another major contributor.

Dean Webb maintained his goal-kicking form by booting four goals and his physical presence will give the Swans more confidence in their premiership defence.

"They had twin peaks, one of whom kicked eight goals, and we did not have the size to shut them down," Huckerby said.

"When one big fella kicks eight it's a hard game to win.

"We tried to close the corridor but this experience will catapult into competitive representative footy for the future.

"The recent rain and lack of training hampered our cohesion, whilst they were well organised

"But I believe this was a turning point for rep AFL here. In future all six clubs will contribute to a strong team giving everything and leaving nothing on the field."

Huckerby praised facilities at Fripp Oval but also said it was time the AFL along with local councils decided where the AFL headquarters would be.

They needed to ensure it happened for juniors and seniors, especially with more Gold Coast teams wanting to join the league in 2013.



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