Port Macquarie Magpies Jesse Schmidt helped lead the way for his side in their one-point win over the Grafton Tigers.
Port Macquarie Magpies Jesse Schmidt helped lead the way for his side in their one-point win over the Grafton Tigers.

Grafton Tigers go down in one-point thriller

AFL: Port Macquarie Magpies produced a nailbiting one-point victory over the fast finishing Grafton Tigers in round three of AFL North Coast’s Seniors competition.

It was the first win of 2020 for the Magpies, and the end of a dream start for the previously unbeaten Tigers.

The Magpies maiden win for the season is also the first in the top grade for rookie coach Blake Nelson who was best served by young gun Max Bylsma, the ever green Jesse Schmidt, and Ryan Barnett.

Port raced out of the blocks early, with a five goals to one opening quarter, taking a 25-point lead into quarter time. A tight second quarter saw each side only add one major, with Port retaining their quarter time margin into the main break.

The Tigers hit back in the third quarter, winning the term and giving themselves a sniff at their third straight win, going into the last change only 18 points down.

Early last quarter goals saw all the momentum with the visiting Tigers, as they kicked six goals straight and hit the lead for the first time, before Port steadied late in front of their home fans.

Key goal kickers for the Magpies were Jesse Schmidt, captain Kye Taylor, and Braden Saggers with two each.

Grafton were missing a number of key players including brothers Ben and Chris Holder, Mitch Lollback, Evan Whitty, and Blake Richards. But those who played gave themselves every chance at the win. Doug Perich and Noah Swarski each kicked three goals, while Sam Morrison added two.

Port Macquarie Magpies 11.9 (75) defeated Grafton Tigers 11.8 (74)

In the Women’s competition, the Coffs Harbour Breakers continued their unbeaten start to the season, registering a comfortable victory against the Northern Beaches Blues at Centennial Oval.

The Breakers were wasteful early, registering two goals eight behinds in the first half. But their defence held firm, keeping the hosts scoreless at the main break.

The Blues kicked their first goal in the third term, to get within 18 points at three quarter time. But the Breakers kicked away with another two goals in the last quarter.

Emily Pavey, in her debut season, was the only multiple goal kicker for the game, finishing with two.

Coffs Harbour Breakers 5.12 (42) defeated Northern Beaches Blues 1.2 (8)