AFL North Coast crowns its undisputed lion kings

After a massive premiership win last year for the Nambucca Valley Lions Under 13s squad, quite a few in the team were back again this year, hungry to defend their honour as the kings of the AFL savannah.

For some in this team it was a crack at a trifecta, after taking out the Under 11s title in 2018.

On Sunday they faced off against their Grand Final rivals - the Port Macquarie Swoopers - in front of a roaring crowd at the Coffs Ex Stadium.

Lions coach Norm Devereaux was anticipating a tough fight ahead, with the Swoopers punishing the Lions just three weeks previously.

"The boys were all very excited, and a bit nervous before the game and during the first quarter," he said.

"But they hit the front by 20-odd points and there was no going back from that."

The Lions advanced in the second and third terms to score three and four goals respectively, and put the result beyond doubt.

Four Under 11s players stepped up to provide more muscle for the team - and their presence on the side was very welcome.

It was, in fact, young Miller Baade who scored the first two goals of the game.

"The Lions overcame the Port Macquarie Swoopers in their best performance of the season to claim back to back premierships," AFL North Coast's Paul Taylor said.

"The Nambucca Valley Lions' early existence in the AFL North Coast Junior Competition goes from strength to strength with this, their third premiership win within just four years of forming.

"Credit to the Port Macquarie club which fielded two teams in the age group and managed to finish in second and fourth places on the ladder. This is a great sign that the Port club had the spread of talent spot on to create two very competitive teams."

Nambucca Valley Lions 9.13 (67) defeated Port Macquarie Swoopers 2.6 (18)

The match was livestreamed by AFL North Coast, with friends and family all over the country able to tune in, including some relatives in lockdown in Melbourne.

Watch the game here:

Coach Devereaux was ecstatic about the win and had nothing but praise for the conduct of his team.

"Our boys just ran all day and listened to everything that was said to them. They're truly turning into a great group of men," he said.

Norm said a special mention should go to Ray McGrath - his assistant coach for the season - who stepped in when Norm couldn't be there. The combined coaching effort of these two men has led to a brilliant result for the club.

Congratulations goes to Will Devereaux who was deemed Best on Field for the Lions on the day.

Meanwhile the League's 2020 Best and Fairest award was shared by three players including the Lions'-own Wilson Baade, alongside Tane Skinner (Sawtell Toormina Saints), and Lincoln Proctor (Port Macquarie Flyers).

Lions Club president Trent Baade said he was "very proud" of the club on the whole, which had risen to the occasion in a year which presented some very unusual challenges.

"Everyone was very respectful and we had a lot of support from parents," he said.

"I'd like to thank all the volunteers, coaches, players, and supporters on another great season.

"And I'd especially like to thank our major sponsors this year - the Nambucca Heads RSL Club, BMW Carpets, Goodyear Autocare Macksville, Bellwood Cafe and River View Island."

The club also held its annual awards ceremony last night. Congratulations go to the Best and Fairest for each age group:

  • Under 11: Nate Morrison, and runner-up Miller Baade
  • Under 13: Wilson Baade, and runner-up Will Devereaux
  • Under 15: Alex Parker, and runner-up Angus Holloway

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