PORT Macquarie Magpies delivered one of their better performances of the season to eliminate Grafton and set their sights on a grand final appearance.
The Magpies proved far too good for the Tigers in Coffs Harbour on Saturday in a 16.14 (110) to 6.3 (39) victory.
They led all the way from start to finish and kicked away in the second half to set up a grand final qualifier with either Sawtell or Coffs Harbour in two weeks.
Captain Craig Dicker said they would now enjoy a week off before finding out who they would play for a shot at the big dance.
“It probably was one of our better performances for the season, for sure,” he said.
“We had some really good passages of play and rebounded really well off our backline.”
Port Macquarie’s midfield again proved the difference with Fraser Carroll and Hugo Henderson having impressive games.
“The midfield set it all up and Jesse Schmidt kicked a couple of important goals for us,” Dicker said.
The Tigers were gallant in defeat and were in the contest to three quarter time, but weren't able to match it with the Magpies final term blitz.
The Magpies kicked six goals in the final quarter to blow the margin out to 71 points by full-time.
Both teams turned in a classic finals performance that was characterised by tough, uncompromising footy and it was greater depth in options amongst the forward lines that proved the difference.
“We didn’t drop off at any stage and we knew Grafton would come out really strong, which they did,” Dicker said.
“But once we got on top we managed to pull away in the end.”