Royals add key pair in flag tilt

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Ladder leaders Royals have strengthened their premiership claims with the addition of tall utility Peter Mark and young gun Tyron Smallwood for the rest of the Great Southern Football League seas-on.

Mark and Smallwood were cleared to the Lions before the June 30 Statewide transfer cut-off, adding further depth to the side that sits a game and percentage clear on top of the ladder heading into the final seven regular games of the season.

Mark played for the Lions in 2014, kicking 36 goals and was named in the GSFL Team of the Year as he helped his side reach the grand final.

Smallwood, a State under-16 representative last year, played league for Albany in 2015 before switching to play for Boxwood Hill under his father Alan in 2016.

The talented junior also played three colts games for the Lions last year and this season has played only one colts game for the Lions against Mt Barker last month after recovering from a serious scaphoid injury.

Lions coach James McRae said his club was delighted to add two more quality players as it launched a premiership assault.

“It gives us a bit more flexibility and also more depth,” McRae said.

“Getting Peter back, who has another (work) contract in Albany is exciting, there is not many 203cm forwards going around and it eases the load on Sam (Baddeley-Holmes) and the likes.

“Tyron is a good, young player who will be fresh having not played much footy and no doubt will want a big back end of the year.”

McRae confirmed Smallwood would play Claremont colts this weekend and wouldn’t face Denmark-Walpole at Centennial Stadium in their round 9 clash but said the 17-year-old had chosen the Lions because he had plenty of friends there and travelling to play for Boxwood while in his final year of school was a big ask.

The Lions will also be without Corey Linthorne (Claremont colts), Ben Watson (injury), Mitch Curnow (hamstring) and unavailable trio Ben Gray, Shayden Worth and Rory Callaghan for the clash with the Magpies but will regain Michael McGlade and Ryan Flick.

“The last four to five weeks we haven’t played our best but still been able to get wins,” McRae said.

“We are still building and should have our strongest side to give the last month a real crack.”

Railways’ top-two hopes have been dealt a blow, with player-coach Craig Frost confirming Victorian recruit Ryan Lovegrove-Hudson had returned home.

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