Bulls run down by Lions in final quarter

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Royals surged a game clear on top of the ladder after coming from 19 points down midway through the third term to pinch a 22-point victory over Mt Barker in a heated top-of-the-table clash at Sounness Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Lions were outmuscled in the first half by a determined Bulls outfit, who kicked seven of the first nine goals of the game to lead by 17 points at half-time.

Mt Barker's Corey Byrne gets his kick away.
Camera IconMt Barker's Corey Byrne gets his kick away. Credit: Albany Advertiser

In a dour third term, more than 21 minutes elapsed without a goal being kicked as the Bulls missed two chances on goal but stretched their advantage to 19 points before Corey Ward finally broke the goal drought.

With tempers boiling over between the two sides and melees breaking out regularly around the ground, Ward was pushed forward and slotted a tough set shot to pull the margin back to 13 points.

Ward bobbed up again nearing three-quarter-time to add a second major, and his two goals were the only ones kicked in the term as the Lions went into the last break down by seven points.

Mt Barker's Ty Miller gets his kick away as Royals' Hamish McMorran moves in.
Camera IconMt Barker's Ty Miller gets his kick away as Royals' Hamish McMorran moves in. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Lions kicked three quick goals in the final term to hit the front for the first time, and despite the Bulls responding twice, the visitors were simply too strong in the end as they ran out winners 14.7 (91) to 10.9 (69). In a dominant final term, led by midfielders Arana O’Byrne and Dave Parker, the Lions piled on seven goals on their way to a seventh win of the season.

O’Byrne was sensational around the stoppages and Parker also won plenty of ball, while Ward had a big impact on the game with young ruckman Hamish McMorran.

Lions forward Sam Baddeley-Holmes, who was involved in plenty of the niggle, had an entertaining battle with Adam Tissott and finished with 4.2 and four marks inside 50.

Heading into a two-week general bye, Lions coach James McRae said his side believed they could win from any position after the second-half turnaround.

Royals' Corey Linthorne attempts to mark over teammate Shayden Worth.
Camera IconRoyals' Corey Linthorne attempts to mark over teammate Shayden Worth. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“The group has belief they can win from anywhere,” he said. “We had lots of run out of our side but we still had confidence we could win the game, especially after those two goals late in the third.

“It was pleasing, our ability to grind it out and then open it up and score quickly in the last.”

The Bulls’ fast start was central to livewire Robbie Farmer coming into their side, as the key target booted the first two goals of the round 8 contest from marks inside 50 before he was carried from the ground with a serious achilles injury. Nic Chidgzey produced a classy performance in the midfield and kicked three goals, while Ty Miller, Russell Wynne and Corey Byrne were all busy throughout.

Mt Barker's Robbie Farmer celebrates his second goal.
Camera IconMt Barker's Robbie Farmer celebrates his second goal. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Bulls coach Shane Thompson praised his side for their performance despite five key players out.

“The first three quarters were really good but to Royals’ credit they just hung in there,” he said.

“It was huge from our point of view. Our depth was tested and we walk away pretty happy with what we did.

“They started to get more ball around the stoppage and in the last 30-odd minutes kicked nine goals.”

Two scuffles, one at half-forward and one on the wing, lasted more than a minute as the feeling ramped right up in the third term, but no players were sent off or reported.

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