EARNING HIS STRIPES: Glen Phelps impresses with three goals on debut against Byron.
EARNING HIS STRIPES: Glen Phelps impresses with three goals on debut against Byron. Jocelyn Fraser

Tigers look to rebound against 'Pies on the road

TWEED Coast Tigers will take the long road to redemption this weekend after a first-round loss to Byron.

Coming off a tough 13.14 - 92 to 6.4 40 loss to reigning premiers the Magpies last Saturday, the AFL Northern Rivers side make the trip south to face North Coast counterparts Port Macquarie today.

Taking on the reigning premiers was a daunting first-up test for a Tigers side featuring eight first-grade debutantes, including player-coach Jonathon Bevan, who was at the helm for the first time.

"I'm really impressed with the effort from our guys against a side who will set the benchmark again this season,” Bevan said.

"We tackled, pressured and fought hard all day, hopefully that will set the tone for the sort of footy we want to play this year.”

Physical pressure - at times bordering on just brutal - was a feature of the opening round.

Byron led early but a long-range goal from Nathan Millard kept the Tigers in touch at the first break.

The premiers kicked away in the second quarter and maintained their advantage to run out 52-point winners.

Impressing for the Tigers with a bag of three goals on debut was Glen Phelps, who made the move north from Ballarat.

"Glen was really strong for us up-forward and has really added a lot to the club with his skills and training standards,” Bevan said.

Bevan said Port Macquarie was a big unknown for his side, but the long trip offered a chance for his players to bond further and build on combinations.

The Tigers are back at home next Saturday and are expected to play at their new home ground at Sea Breeze Sports Fields for the first time on a day where their women's side will make their competition debut.