Coffs United vs Grafton United
Premier League new boys Grafton United face a baptism of fire in Sunday’s FFA Cup fixture against Premiers Coffs United, who are looking to bounce back from a humbling 5-2 defeat to Gold Coast PL side Broadbeach in pre-season.
Grafton United have confirmed they will field a Premier League Men’s team this year, and whilst they’re yet to test themselves in a trial match, President Kyle McPherson is confident they can hold their own against a strong Lions’ squad.
“Obviously the draw doesn’t favour us from the start, but we’re a new team and it’s a good test to begin. We’ll make the most of it and hopefully take the game to Coffs United”
The Lions’ are one of only a few Premier League teams to have played a pre-season game before this weekends FFA Cup Round One, and whilst they lost, coach Glen Williams was happy with the performance from his team.
“They (Broadbeach) were very sharp. We started well, and were leading early, but ran out of steam after half time. It was a great test for the boys, and overall I was happy with the performance.”
Sawtell Scorpions vs Boambee Bombers
Sawtell Scorpions face Boambee Bombers at Aryshire Park on Sunday. The game will be the first for both teams this year, and debuts for coaches Gary Phillips (Sawtell) and Troy Fowler (Boambee).
Sawtell fielded a very young squad last year, and often lacked leadership and experience – two qualities that new coach Gary Phillips has in abundance. Reserve Grade coach Adrian Bligh said the changes were already obvious without having played a game.
“He’s right up there (Gary Phillips), one of the best in the area – with the team he is fantastic and I think we’ll see the changes from day one. Sawtell is a new team this year, I think we’ll do well.”
Coffs Coast Tigers vs Northern Storm
This was a fixture that always promised to impress last season, and should do so again on Saturday. Coffs Coast Tigers have retained head coach Jason Snell – NCF’s 2016 Coach of the Year – and the team has been training since Mid January, though haven’t had any pre-season games.
Northern Storm are in a similar position, having kept head coach Scott Donaldson and looking to improve on a mixed year last year which saw them narrowly miss a top 4 finish.
Westlawn Tigers vs Urunga Raiders
Last year’s NCF Zone FFA Cup winners Urunga Raiders take on Grafton side Westlawn Tigers on Sunday. The Raiders are yet to test themselves this year, and will be itching to get on the park with some new players and returning players to bolster the squad.
Orara Valley Dingoes vs Maclean Bobcats
The Maclean Bobcats are another team that could surprise us this year, with several new recruits from Brisbane’s National Premier League competition, and a new coach with big ambitions. His first, though, is to overcome Orara Valley on Sunday.
Scott Elphic has taken over the Bobcats from Guiseppe Terranova, and was pleased with the quality of the squad that he came into.
“The guys were unlucky last year. They pushed the big teams in almost every game, and they’re travelling twice the distance of any other club. On top of that, they were playing a good brand of football. We will build on it this year and continue to play with an attractive style”, said Elphic.
“I’m lucky to come into an established squad. With two or three of our new players this year, we’re a top 4 side.”
Orara Valley Dingoes are also looking to build on their squad from last year. The two sides play at McLean Street at 2pm on Sunday
Saturday 25th February, 2017
Polwarth Drive, Coffs Harbour
Coffs Coast Tigers FC v Northern Storm FC Kickoff at 3.00pm
Barnier Park, Junction Hill
Westlawn Tigers FC v Urunga FC Kickoff at 4:00pm
Sunday 26th February 2017
Mclean Street, Coffs Harbour
Orara Valley FC v Maclean FC Kickoff at 2.00pm
Coffs City United FC v Grafton United Fc Kickoff at 4.00pm
Ayrshire Park, Boambee
Boambee Bombers FC v Sawtell Scorpions FC Kickoff at 3:00pm