Eight year dry spell comes to an end for Nambucca Valley Lions

FROM THE ARCHIVES: It's been nearly a decade since the Lions fielded a team in the senior comp.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: It's been nearly a decade since the Lions fielded a team in the senior comp.

Footy lovers rejoice! Senior AFL is set to return to the North Coast when the season gets underway on Saturday July, 18.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted sport participation across the country, but this trend has been bucked within AFL North Coast where the competition is set for another season of growth.

Nambucca Valley Lions will become the second club in two years to re-join the competition, ending an eight year spell in the wilderness. Interest in AFL within the Nambucca Valley has been growing rapidly since the formation of the Junior club in 2018 and will go to a whole new level this season as the Lions play in Reserve Grade.

Following their highly successful re-introduction to the competition last season via Reserve Grade, the Northern Beaches Blues will add a Senior (first) Grade side to their ranks meaning the club will have teams in both open age men's grades. In addition, the club will field a women's team in their own right after having a joint venture with Grafton in 2019.

Grafton Tigers have strengthened significantly and will field teams in each grade, with Women and Reserves joining the ranks of the Seniors and Under 17 team.

Northern Beaches, Nambucca Valley, and Grafton will be joined in the competition by traditional powerhouses Coffs Harbour Breakers, Sawtell Toormina Saints, and Port Macquarie Magpies.

Paul Taylor, Community Football Manager, said that the ongoing growth is extremely pleasing.

"Junior footy has been in a sharp growth phase across the region for the past five years. This growth is now having a positive impact on the number of people wanting to play Senior footy, which is resulting in not only more players, but also more clubs and more teams," he said.

"The overall growth is a result of much sustained hard work from volunteer club administrators and coaches across the region and I'm ecstatic for them that we're seeing such positive outcomes."

The season commences on Saturday July 18 and will comprise 11 rounds of home and away footy, followed by a revamped Finals Series where the winners of two Semi Finals will progress straight to the Grand Final.

The season decider is set down for Saturday, October 10. Work is underway on the draw which will be published shortly.

Registrations are open at all clubs with new and returning players always welcome. To find your local club go to play.afl and search by postcode.

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