AERIAL BATTLE: Grafton Tigers under-13s player Latrell Mundine was one of 17 Tigers at the Northern NSW AFL Carnival this week.
AERIAL BATTLE: Grafton Tigers under-13s player Latrell Mundine was one of 17 Tigers at the Northern NSW AFL Carnival this week. Lisa Watkins

Best and Fairest for young Tigers star Popko

AUSSIE RULES: Seventeen Grafton Tigers took part in the Northern New South Wales Representative Carnival for the North Coast Force this week with youngster Alby Popko being named best and fairest for his efforts .

The Force finished with their best ever record taking a runners up, two third-place finishes and a fifth against teams from the North West all the way down to the Illawarra.

Popko was joined by young Tigers' Harry Anderson, Jye Boehme, Mikey Luxton, Tom Mullins, John Neill and Ned O'Neill as they fell in close losses to eventual finalists Hunter and Illawarra to narrowly miss out on a place in the final.

Wins over Central Coast and North West meant the team finished third on the ladder and faced off against Central Coast in the third place play-off where the Force prevailed to come away with a deserved bronze medal.

Latrell Mundine, Sam Petch and Josh Vassallo featured in the under-13 side that finished strongly to record their best overall finish at the Carnival, claiming a runners-up spot, winning three of four round-robin games before losing out to the Hunter Valley in the final.

Declan Acton, Noah Swarski and Evan Whitty had a strong showing with the under-17 team and helped their side to a third place finish with a comeback win over North West.

Mackenzie Bagnall, Tyleah Larcombe, Grace Pearson and Chelsee Ryan rounded out the competition in the youth girls side who were unsuccessful, but have a strong future ahead.