Kangas hold firm in Anzac thriller

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
North Albany's Angus McKercher gets his handball away as Railways' Mitch Green tackles.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Angus McKercher gets his handball away as Railways' Mitch Green tackles. Credit: Laurie Benson

North Albany’s crisp ball use and clearance work in the opening half proved the difference in last Thursday’s Anzac Day clash with Railways, which doubled as a grand final rematch at Tigerland.

In front of another large crowd, the Kangas scored their second win on Anzac Day after holding off a late challenge from the home side to get over the line by five points in the season-opener.

With ruckman Stuart Parker dominating the centre bounces, the Kangas were able to get plenty of clean clearances, which led to six first-half majors that essentially set up the victory.

Midfielders Alex Pearce, Jyrin Woods and Jacob Hobbs were all beneficiaries of Stuart Parker’s work as the Kangas went into half-time 24 points ahead.

The Tigers had failed to make use of the breeze in the opening term but they bounced back after the long break to boot four goals, including two from power forward Shane Braimbridge, to pull the deficit back to a single point.

North Albany's Brodie Sumich and Railways' Jayden Scott watch the ball.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Brodie Sumich and Railways' Jayden Scott watch the ball. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Anthony Coyne gave the Kangas some breathing space early in the last quarter when he snapped truly, and it proved to be the decisive score in the final stanza.

The Tigers managed six behinds in the final quarter, as the home side kicked themselves out of it with 4.12 in the second half.

Tigers recruit Kane Shephard marked inside the final minute but his shot from 45m out fell short and the ball was scrambled at the teeth of the goal as the siren sounded to hand the Kangas victory, 8.10 (58) to 6.17 (53).

Railways' Logan Stubber gathers the ball in traffic.
Camera IconRailways' Logan Stubber gathers the ball in traffic. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Young star Pearce won the Anzac Day Medal, typifying the spirit of the Anzacs with a lively midfield display, and he was joined on the best players list by Woods, Parker and Hobbs.

Michael Trevenen was the Kangas’ multiple goal kicker with two majors, both in the opening half.

Featuring only 11 players from last year’s premiership side, the Kangas won their first Anzac Day clash since the inaugural clash in 2014.

Kangas coach Craig Dew said the way his side moved the ball in the opening half was the most pleasing aspect of the win. “They came to play after half-time,” Dew said.

“But 24 points up, the first half was the difference.

“We kicked against it, had two goals to our name and we were really clean with the footy.

North Albany's Talon Delacey gets his kick away.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Talon Delacey gets his kick away. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We’ve won without a host of our best players playing well and those mid-tier guys were great, along with the kids.”

Logan Stubber was the Tigers’ best contributor, while the signs from debutant Ryan Davies were also pleasing.

Tigers coach Troy Leo said some changes at half-time had helped his side get back into the game.

“They were beating us on the spread, their run and pace and use of the footy,” Leo said.

“We made a few positional changes and I was very happy with the second half.

“There were some really good signs.”

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