Lions stand firm amid Magpies challenge

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Royals' Corey Ward handballs.
Camera IconRoyals' Corey Ward handballs. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

Royals have withstood a strong fightback from Denmark-Walpole to secure their third win of the season, the Magpies slumping to a fourth straight loss as a result of their trip to Centennial Stadium on Saturday.

The Lions bounced back from their first loss of 2019 the previous week, with a seven-goal to two opening half that set up the victory.

Led by Parker brothers Dave and Brayden, and the electric Corey Ward, the home side were able to hold off a third-quarter comeback from the Magpies.

The Lions had opened up a 29-point advantage at half-time before the Magpies kicked three straight goals, two from Jared Lane and one from Kalin Lane, to pull the margin back to eight points.

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Youngster Tyreice Brown gave the Lions a steadier nearing three-quarter-time, restoring a 14-point buffer and the home side kicked the first two goals of the final term through Casey Ganzer and the hard-running Dave Parker to snuff out any Magpies hope.

Denmark-Walpole's Jayden Pickett takes possession as teammate Tyler Stone gets rid of Royals' Jake Puls.
Camera IconDenmark-Walpole's Jayden Pickett takes possession as teammate Tyler Stone gets rid of Royals' Jake Puls. Credit: Albany Advertiser

It was another bright midfield display from Dave Parker, his younger brother Brayden was a key link-up man, and the performance of Ward across half back and — then in the middle when moved there — were all significant factors in the 12.9 (81) to 8.9 (57) result.

Jaiden Alison continued his impressive start to league football with three goals to sit on top of the goal kicking with 13 majors, Brody Ogle, Joel Flick and Ganzer chipped in with two, and Hamish McMorran was terrific in quelling the dangerous Shayne Zanetti when playing as a key forward.

“They let us off the hook in the first and we should have been further up at half-time,” Lions coach Andrew Ruck said.

“That 10-minute period where Zanetti went into the ruck gave them a sniff in the third but Hammer (McMorran) kept him to nothing in the forward half.”

Magpies ball magnet Dave MacDonald was awarded the Belt Up Round match ball for his impressive game in a losing affair.

Jared Lane booted three majors for the Magpies, with Tyler Stone, centre half back Harrison Lill and fellow defender Luke Hutcheson all strong contributors.

Denmark-Walpole's Josh Sara gets his handball clear as Royals' Brody Ogle tackles.
Camera IconDenmark-Walpole's Josh Sara gets his handball clear as Royals' Brody Ogle tackles. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Magpies player-coach Ryan Gaerth said finishing let his side down.

“Early on, kicking 0.5, we missed a few opportunities there and we gave a couple of 50m penalties away, which are costly.

“Our effort was better again but we lacked a bit of polish, that last kick. I don’t think we are too far away. We’ve been in every game.”

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