Lions stay in top four after edging spirited Sharks
Royals have kept their place in the top four after surviving a spirited Albany second half comeback to win a tough battle at Centennial Stadium this afternoon.
The final game of round 12 reached no great heights in the first half as the Lions made the most of their opportunities with five first quarter goals as they kicked with the aid of a strong breeze and then booted the only two majors of the second term to lead by 33 points.
The Sharks however mounted a serious challenge following the main break as they played exciting, attacking football to storm back into the contest.
Led by their brigade of talented youngsters the Sharks kicked six goals to one in the third term, including a run of four unanswered as they reduced the deficit to three points by the final change.
Key forward Kieran Gowdie was superb kicking three goals in the Sharks blitz while Brock Anning’s sheer pace and evasiveness helped him register two majors in the same term as their side was full of momentum heading into the last.
The Sharks hopes of a second ever league win grew even more when Gowdie took a towering pack mark and booted his fifth inside the first couple of minutes to hand his side the lead for the first time.
With the game on the line though the Lions fought hard to wrestle back control as they kicked the next four goals to end the Sharks charge.
Corey Ward kicked two of them to cap off a terrific game while Cameron Allison and Henry Hodge both won some crucial clearances as the Lions hung on, 12.9 (81) to 10.5 (65).
Gowdie was outstanding up front with 5.1 in a telling display while Anning, Michael Simpson and Jonas Mitchell were also among the Sharks best players.
The result helps the Lions remain in fourth spot, a win clear of Denmark-Walpole who caused a big upset yesterday.
A gutsy Magpies outfit kept their finals hopes alive with a stirring eight-point win at home over reigning premiers North Albany at a muddy McLean Park on Saturday.
In an emotional day for the club in the first Benno Napier Memorial Match, 12 months on from the death of the popular former Magpie, the home side outmuscled the Kangas throughout in the torrid conditions to prevail, 5.6 (46) to 3.10 (28).
The Magpies held firm to deny the Kangas late in the contest to ensure they remain in finals contention with three rounds to play.
In the low scoring affair, Magpies forward Tyler Stone had a profound influence on the match, finishing with three goals including two consecutive as the home side gained the momentum in the third term.
Despite the Kangas fighting back late in the term, coach Craig Dew was irate at three quarter time provoking a final quarter response but that could only produce four behinds.
Magpies youngster Codey Baxter typified his side’s hunger and will to secure the four points, being awarded the Benno Napier Memorial Match Medal in a typical dogged display.
Defenders Luke Hutcheson and Hayden Parker along with former captain Lee Gropp battled tirelessly throughout.
Experienced Kangas duo Grant Corcoran and Matt Orzel were clearly their sides best contributors in the wet conditions but lacked support.
Railways have again skipper two games clear on top after a dominant 15-minute period in the third quarter helped them defeat Mt Barker by 21 points at a wet and wild Tigerland yesterday.
The Tigers are firming for the minor premiership and hosting rights for the second semifinal after proving too strong for the Bulls in the second half.
The Bulls led by a single point at the main break but a brilliant first 15 minutes to start the third stanza produced five goals for the Tigers as they raced to a significant advantage in those conditions.
A late Tom Palfrey goal helped the Tigers push the margin to 38 points by three quarter time as their six goal to nil third term with the breeze was sparked by class midfielder Joel Want, who snared two of those majors.
The Bulls had their opportunity with the wind in the final quarter but they began with three behinds to dent any hopes of a fightback.
The visitors managed to kick the only two goals of the final term but it wasn’t enough as they went down 6.8 (44) to 10.5 (65).
Late in the game Bulls’ Luke Hammond was red carded for striking while spearhead Kym Monteath was clearly limited by a hamstring complaint and finished on the bench.
Want relished the conditions to be among the Tigers best along with the in-form Kenton Gibbs (three goals), Bodhi Stubber and Ethan Knee.
The only concern for the Tigers was a serious hamstring injury to forward Zak Hortin.
The Bulls were best served by midfielders Darren Humble and Peter Taylor while Daniel Henderson and Adam Tissott were also solid throughout.
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