Magpies have tough Sawtell trip to start 2015

Ready to heat up for 2015: Blake Nelson, Craig Dicker, Josh King and James Nelson make up some of the Port Macquarie Magpies contingent.
Ready to heat up for 2015: Blake Nelson, Craig Dicker, Josh King and James Nelson make up some of the Port Macquarie Magpies contingent.

PORT Macquarie Magpies have the toughest of road trips to kick off their 2015 AFL North Coast season tomorrow.

The Magpies will fly north up the Pacific Highway to take on the might of last season's premiers Sawtell.

They are light on for the first round, and the Magpies will rely on a bunch of young players and returning faces to get them through.

Craig Dicker, a former Magpies captain, is back on deck in 2015. Matt Lill, who left to play rugby league with Port City Breakers last season, will also return.

Former Magpies junior Jordan Lennon had a temporary move to Camden Haven but he's back in the black and white of Magpies.

At last count, eight players would miss the match tomorrow.

It makes it even more important for the youngsters to have good games.

The Nelson twins, Blake and James, will get plenty of first grade matches this season, as will Josh King.

"Those three will work through the season," Pies coach Damon Munt said.

He's confident the Pies can be hot tomorrow. Munt has led the team through a solid pre-season which began back in December.

It started with beach runs and the odd three kilometre time trial.

The Magpies under 18s should be another good prospect this season. The Craig Carroll-coached team has lost just one match in three years: the 2012 grand final against North Coffs.

The Pies went down in the last kick of the game after not losing a match all season.

In 2013, Carroll's men beat Sawtell by 10 goals in the decider.

They flogged the same opposition by an amazing 97 points last season.

Carroll still remembers the score: 17.4 (106) to 1.3 (9).

He has no doubt his young Magpies can go well again this year.

"It looks good," Carroll said.

"They're a good group of boys."

The Magpies will play their first home game of the campaign the following weekend at Wayne Richards Park.

This story Magpies have tough Sawtell trip to start 2015 first appeared on Port Macquarie News.