Magpies hold off Tigers
DEFENDING Summerland AFL premiers Byron Magpies withstood a last-quarter onslaught from Tweed Coast to open 2010 with a two-point win on Saturday, 16.7 (103) to 15.11 (101).
The game, played in hot conditions at Shultz Oval, Bangalow, saw evergreen forward Shem Aitken boot sixof Byron’s 16 goals.
Tweed Coast led by 22 points at half-time before Byron turned the tables when the Magpies started to play it long and direct.
The Bullock brothers, Kurt in the ruck and Kane on the ground, drove the Magpies forward at every opportunity to see the home side kick eight goals for the term, six of them unanswered.
With the aid of a handy breeze and some exceptional defensive work across half-back from Dan Tracey and Crispin Myers, a re-energised Byron skipped out to a 24-point lead at the final break.
As if taking their cue from Byron, Tweed Coast adopted theMagpies’ play with the breeze in the final term.
The Tigers’ five-goal quarter, however, was countered by the Byron Magpies’ two.
In Lismore on Saturday, the Swans toughed out a demanding encounter early with Ballina to run out winners by 59 points, 16.8 (104) to 6.9 (45), at Mortimer Oval.
Lismore’s strong-marking Dean Webb emerged early as the Swans’ go-to man at full-forward with the newcomer’s third goal after the half-time siren giving the home side a handy buffer.
Ballina were certainly within striking distance up until the third term but the Bombers’ inability to capitalise on their forward forays cost them dearly.
Lismore got into gear after a tardy start, kicking nine first-half goals with the home side receiving a greater return from their forwards, led by Webb, and midfield rockets Eddie Burton and Lincoln Shinners.
Team-mate Morgan Hindry was superb down back, thwarting the Bombers’ advances with a committed attack on the ball.
The Swans’ midfield running brigade were fed well from ruck duo Jason Bevan and Shaun Wadwell.
Coolangatta yesterday hosted Nimbin at Kirra to complete the opening round.