Final-quarter surge secures finals double chance
Railways stitched up a finals double chance after completing an impressive fourth-quarter fightback to overrun reigning premiers North Albany at Tigerland on Sunday afternoon.
The Tigers will meet arch rivals Royals in a second semifinal in five weeks time after pinching a 13-point win over the Kangas, a result that never looked like happening early in the third term.
The Kangas kicked two goals heading into half time and then booted the first three majors of the third term as their lead grew to 26 points.
Crucial goals to influential big man Kenton Gibbs and then Kane Shephard gave the Tigers some momentum but when Braden Retallack kicked his third goal, a terrific set shot on the boundary after the three-quarter-time siren, the challenge was in front of the Tigers.
The fourth-term response came with only one fit player on the bench, as they kicked the first five goals to snatch back the advantage.
Goals to Ryan Harper, youngster Harry Hordacre and then a third to Shephard gave the Tigers the lead for the first time since the second term.
Kleemann Medal fancy Logan Stubber lifted considerably after half-time and his two final quarter majors were pivotal as the Tigers prevailed, 12.10 (82) to 10.9 (69), to move four games and percentage clear of the third-placed Kangas.
Tigers coach Troy Leo said his side dug deep in the last half after copping three injuries.
“They played well and we weren’t clean and kept turning it over,” Leo said.
“To the boys’ credit they toughed it out and stayed in the contest.
“We had a few out and then copped a few injuries so it was a good fighting win. We could have turned our toes up. Our aspirations were to finish top two so it’s a pleasing result.”
Gibbs was outstanding all afternoon, in the ruck and then at either end of the ground where he took some telling marks. Dylan Schorer played a terrific game through the middle of the ground and was well supported by Craig Frost and Haydn Sproxton.
Mitch Green hurt his shoulder and is the most concerning injury for the Tigers while Coen Jackman (internal) and Jayden Scott (knee) also went down.
The Kangas regained key midfielder Matt Orzel and he led the way in the middle while Alex Pearce was brilliant in the first half with two goals off a wing. Braden Retallack bobbed up with three goals for the Kangas, who wore their indigenous jumpers, and defender Regan Lloyd was not beaten on the last line.
The big concern for the Kangas however was a suspected anterior cruciate ligament injury to Jake Becroft, the young forward having already done one ACL in his other knee.
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