Lions’ big win cements flag favouritism
Eight unanswered goals from Royals in the fourth quarter of their top-of-table clash with Railways has firmly confirmed the Lions’ status as premiership favourites as they cruised to a 55-point win in round 13 of the Great Southern Football League season on Sunday at Tigerland.
The Lions made a big statement, stitching up top spot and hosting rights for the second semifinal later this month after whacking the Tigers in the final term of the third meeting this season. In a heavily contested, low-scoring opening half, the Lions had control but their errant kicking in front of goal left the home side within striking distance.
Speedster Brody Ogle kicked the first goal after half-time but a second major to Zak Hortin and then a late goal from Tigers star Logan Stubber reduced the deficit to eight points at three-quarter-time.
However, the Lions got rewarded for their effort in the fourth term as the floodgates opened, with four goals in the first four minutes breaking the back of the Tigers. Ogle kicked two goals along with key target Taylor Powell in the final term.
The pair finished with three majors each as the Lions coasted to a 12.13 (85) to 4.6 (30) win over the same opponent they will meet in the first week of the finals.
Hamish McMorran controlled things in the air for the Lions in a powerful display and Jordan Heil was electric in the first three quarters. Heil racked up 20 touches and seven marks as the link-up man while player-coach Andrew Ruck and Brayden Parker were also strong contributors. “We just couldn’t score goals,” Ruck said.
“They got us on the counter a couple of times. In the last (quarter), our boys were a bit filthy (kicking 12 points). We finally started getting clearances and got some reward in terms of goals.
“To have the home semi with all four teams locked away is huge.”
Kleemann Medal contender Dave Parker had 26 disposals and fellow fancy Logan Stubber finished with 22 for the Tigers but both are unlikely to attract votes.
The Tigers were lucky to be in the contest at three-quarter-time but fell away to suffer their heaviest defeat of the season. Joel Want, Craig Frost (23 possessions), Dylan Schorer and Logan Stubber were their best contributors while Bodhi Stubber only played the first half in his return from injury.
Tigers coach Troy Leo said the Lions controlled the game.
“I thought we’d done well to hand in but then the floodgates opened,” he said. “That’s absolutely where the two sides are, we’ve got a bit of work in front of us but we’ll learn from today.”
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