Lions roar to end seven-year flag drought
Royals have broken a seven-year premiership drought, as they finished comfortable 41-point winners over Railways in today’s Great Southern Football League grand final at Centennial Stadium.
The Lions kicked the first three goals of the game and never surrendered the lead, as they capped a dominant season with a 14th consecutive win to return premiership glory to the club under first-year coach Andrew Ruck.
The Lions led by 18 points at quarter time before the Tigers hit back with four second quarter goals to reduce the deficit to 12 points at the main break.
However the third quarter from the Lions was simply superb as they set up the premiership triumph with seven unanswered goals.
The Lions had three quick ones on the board as the margin raced out to 30 points and by three-quarter-time they led by 58 points and had one hand on the premiership cup.
Despite going goalless in the final term, the Lions lifted the cup aloft with a convincing 14.12 (96) to 8.7 (55) win.
Lions ball magnet Jordan Heil was duly rewarded for his stellar grand final performance, winning the Alan Barnett Medal.
Heil’s third quarter, like his team, was top class and he was joined in the best players by wingman Ryan Kinnear who continued to get better as the game went on.
Tyrese Pickett-Miller again shone, Corey Ward was ever damaging off half-back and Nathan Powell was terrific in the ruck.
Jayson Ford kicked three majors while Steven Edwards, Stephen Beal and Coel Hunter also kicked multiple majors in the decider.
The Tigers fought hard to get within two kicks by half time but their third quarter all but ended any hope of an upset.
Mitch Green worked tirelessly in the middle of the ground, clearly the Tigers best player in the loss.
Kenton Gibbs finished with three goals while Dylan Schorer, Kane Shephard and Bodhi Stubber were also strong contributors.
Earlier in the day the Lions colts won a third premiership in four years, upsetting the Tigers in a final quarter thriller.
The Lions kicked five first quarter goals on their way a memorable four-point win, hanging on in a pulsating last 20 minutes.
The Tigers trailed by 24 points at the last change before they stormed back into the contest but a goal from eventual Panizza Brothers medallist Dane Paunich helped the Lions get home.
Paunich was superb with three goals, and he was well supported by Tyreice Brown, Ronan Nuggett (three goals) and Sam Freeman as their side won the grand final 10.8 (68) to 11.7 (73).
The Tigers secured back-to-back premierships after a epic final quarter against the Lions in the reserves grand final.
A last quarter blitz from high-flying forward Tom Palfrey turned the game on its head, guiding the Tigers to a come-from-behind win.
Palfrey kicked four last quarter goals to be the match-winner, before defender Michael Parker slotted a set shot from 50m out to put his side in front by a goal with less than three minutes left.
After beating the same side in last year’s grand final, history repeated itself as the Tigers prevailed in a heart stopper, 11.8 (74) to 10.7 (67).
Palfrey was awarded the Jim Hull medal for his five goal performance while hard nut Jayden Scott, the move to push Chris Wallace into the ruck and Parker’s sealer were all key moments in the win.
The Lions dominated the third term booting five unanswered goals to take a handy 28-point buffer into the last term but it wasn’t enough.
Keanu Weeden was solid all day, while Shane Buss and Chandler Askevold-McDonald were also solid for the Lions.
The Lions have won a third consecutive sixteens grand final after downing a gallant Mt Barker side by 24 points.
Bulls star Arthur Jones kicked the only goal of the first quarter as his side led by three points at the first change.
The Lions hit the front in the second term and took an eight-point advantage into the last stanza, and then four majors in the last sealed the 7.13 (55) to 5.1 (31) victory.
Ryley Valli was awarded best on ground honours for his display across half back while Ben Altus, Lorcan McNamara and captain Carson Flower were also important in the win.
Jones was the bulls best Josh Davenport (two goals) and Tristan Ballard were also gallant in defeat.
Full grand final coverage in Tuesday’s Albany Advertiser.
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