Brave Kangas fall short of Lions
A quick start, a four-goal to one third term and wasted North Albany opportunities handed Royals their 12th consecutive win at Collingwood Park on Saturday between two finals bound teams.
Corey Ward proved the difference for the visitors across half-back, while Jayson Ford was sharp in the Lions forward line, kicking five goals in the hard-fought 14.15 (99) to 6.13 (67) victory.
The Kangas had come to play and trailed by only seven points at half time as they eyed a big upset on the eve of the finals but they were left to rue a wasteful second half, including a number of missed opportunities on goal, as the Lions prevailed by 32 points.
Led by midfielder Matt Orzel, the Kangas came within two points of the minor premiers during the second term but the Lions held sway through the efforts of defender Hamish McMorran and midfielder Michael McGlade to take a seven-point buffer into the long break.
Luke Cameron missed an early third term opportunity to reduce the Kangas’ deficit, before McGlade quickly stretched the margin even further after snagging a goal himself and then setting Ford up with his third of the afternoon.
Cameron was the only Kangas player to find the goals in a wasteful third term, while Ward and McMorran held up their side’s back six.
Down by 26-points at the start of the last quarter the Kangas again missed crucial early chances to bring themselves back in the game and then the Lions struck a telling blow as Jordan Heil all but sealed the win.
Jacob Hobbs (four goals) became a focal point in the Kangas’ forward line, plucking plenty of contested marks and kicked two majors in the last but his side fell short, slipping to fourth at the completion of the final round as a result.
Cameron Allison was terrific in the Lions midfield and was well supported by Ward, Ford, McGlade and half-forward Steven Edwards (two goals).
Hobbs was the reigning premiers best for the match, along with Orzel, Cameron and Stuart Parker.
Lions coach Andrew Ruck said the Kangas were a strong final round opponent. “It was a real crucial game and solid hit out before our second semi next week, it was a great game of footy, they really hung in there,” he said.
Kangas coach Rod Gillies his side was let down by their kicking.
“We played better than we have for a while,” he said.
“But that’s football, you’ve got to take your chances.”
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