Finals setback as Magpies flounder in the mud
Denmark-Walpole’s finals hopes hang by a thread after suffering a 63-point loss to Railways in wet and muddy conditions at Tigerland on Saturday afternoon.
In the process the Tigers continued to firm for a top -two finish as they kicked the first 11 goals of the contest and were never threatened by a Magpies outfit that now sit three games out of the top four.
The home side made all the early running as two majors from Liam Park against his former side plus goals to Ryan Harper and youngster Coen Jackman had them 27 points up and when they added the only three goals of the second term it was worrying signs for the Magpies.
Kane Shephard and then a terrific finish on the boundary from Joe Alvin effectively ended the game after half time as the Tigers raced more than 50 points ahead as midfield duo Joel Want and Logan Stubber relished the conditions.
Kalin Lane finally broke the drought for the Magpies, booting the last major of the game but his side suffered a heavy loss that leaves them needing to win at least four of their remaining five games.
Park gave a real presence at half forward and Ryan Harper (two goals) was also influential as the home side won easily 11.10 (76) to 1.7 (13).
The only sour point for the Tigers, who moved three games clear in second spot, was a hamstring injury to Mitch Green.
Tigers coach Troy Leo hailed his side’s defensive performance in a “danger” game.
“With the conditions it levels things out so you come in a bit worried,” he said.
“I was really happy the fellas adapted to the conditions and played well and the back line was superb.
“We didn’t want to drop this one and fall back into the pack.”
Reliable trio Ryan Gaerth, Alec Haskins and Tyler Stone were among the Magpies’ best. Pies co-coach Simon Barker lamented his side’s ball use going forward.
“We probably had as many inside 50s as Railways but couldn’t capitalise,” Barker said.
“The ball use in the first half, we tried to play dry-weather footy but I was happy with how we fought on in the second half it could have easily been a 15-20 goal loss.”
Both teams wore their indigenous jumpers to celebrate the NAIDOC Round fixture.
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