A greater commitment to play for North West has resulted in the side securing their second consecutive win over North Coast in the annual contest.
North West assistant coach Jason Gobbert said the side dominated most of the match en route to a 15.7-97 to 10.7-67 win in Coffs Harbour on Saturday, in what was a “very, very physical game”.
It was North West’s first win in Coffs Harbour and followed last year’s first ever defeat of North Coast.
Gobbert said the impetus for the turnaround was AFL North West’s decision last year to suspend for two club matches any player selected for the clash who withdrew without good reason.
He said once the players “embraced” the concept they were rewarded by “playing good footy with good players”.
“It all comes down to everyone’s commitment to it,” he said.
“In previous years we probably haven’t had everyone putting their hands up and fully embracing the representative side of things.
“And they’ve all sort of got a collective agreement now that they’re gonna have a red-hot go. Everyone’s really keen to be a part of it, and I think that’s got a lot to do with it [the turnaround].”
In Saturday's match, North Coast named Tamworth Kangaroos midfielder Nathan Vaisey as North West’s best.
North West selected Inverell Saint Hayden Chappel as their best.
Gobbert said Inverell forward Mikey Gould and North West skipper Andrew George, of Gunnedah, also hard strong games.
The match’s highly physical nature meant there would be a “few sore boys around today”, he said.
He added: “They [North West] were very excited and very pleased with their effort. Everyone stood up and put in, so it was great.
“We sort of had them at bay for most of the match. We just slowly built on our lead.”
North West played without injured midfield gun Jake Spackman.