Bulls the next challenge for undefeated Lions

Tim EdmundsAlbany Advertiser

Royals have set up a tantalising early season test against flag favourites Mt Barker after running over the top of Railways in the second half to record back-to-back wins and remain one of only two undefeated clubs to start the new Great Southern Football League season.

The 45-point win in the first Lockyer Avenue derby at the new Centennial Stadium, came on the back of a 10-goal second half as the Lions finished full of running.

The Tigers showed the effects of two games in a week and failed to run out the match, having notched their first win five days before on Anzac Day.

The visitors, however, led by a solitary point at quarter and half-time through greater efficiency in attack but were eventually overpowered by the Lions’ midfield, which gained the ascendency.

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Trailing by 25 points at three-quarter time, the Tigers booted the first two majors through vice-captains Zane Marwick and Zak Hortin to bridge the gap to 14 points but that was the closest they got.

Youngster Tom Baldwin, Ben Gray (three goals) and Michael McGlade were all involved to release Dave Parker for the quick reply before brother Brayden Parker kicked the sealer as the margin reached 26 points.

Baldwin capped off a brilliant first hit-out for the season, adding two of his own in the final term while the rugged Taylor Powell proved the most influential player on the ground, crashing his way through the midfield and slotting three timely majors in attack.

Key forward Sam Baddeley-Holmes finished with 1.4 but loomed a danger throughout against the undersized Tayler Neale.

Lions coach James McRae said he knew his side would have the legs to outrun the Tigers but was scathing of his side’s first half.

“In the first half we played dead footy, we didn’t want to run for our teammates, didn’t want to work hard enough, didn’t want to run and after half-time we played to our game plan,” he said.

“In the second half we started running and got our hands on it in the middle of the ground compared to the first half we wanted to have an arm wrestle.”

Tigers coach Craig Frost refused to identify the five-day turnaround from Anzac Day as an excuse for his side’s fadeout. “We had held them pretty well but then they got their running game going,” he said. “Playing on Anzac Day is a great honour so it’s not an excuse. Our recovery just wasn’t as good.” though it could have been.”

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