Royals finish with a flurry in milestone day

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Royals have rallied in the final term to overhaul fierce rivals Railways, giving milestone duo Mitch Curnow and Rhys Jones a memorable 25-point victory to mark their special day at Tigerland on Sunday afternoon.

Curnow, playing his 200th league game for the Lions, ran out alongside close mate Jones, who was featuring in his 150th match, and their side were simply too good in the last quarter as they kicked five goals to one to stave off the gallant Tigers.

Railways' Dylan Schorer contests the ball in the air with Royals' Corey Linthorne and Henry Hodge.
Camera IconRailways' Dylan Schorer contests the ball in the air with Royals' Corey Linthorne and Henry Hodge. Credit: Laurie Benson Albany Advertiser

Little separated the two sides all day in a fast, free-flowing contest, but the Tigers led by a slender five points at the major break thanks mainly to full-forward Coen Marwick, who had four goals to his name.

The scores were tied at three-quarter-time after the visitors kicked four majors in the third term as the influence of Sam Baddeley-Holmes going into the ruck and Dave Parker winning plenty of the ball began to tell.

Royals' Mitch Curnow gets tackled by Railways' Haydn Sproxton.
Camera IconRoyals' Mitch Curnow gets tackled by Railways' Haydn Sproxton. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Lions had all the answers in the final stanza, however, as ex-Tiger Cam Smith kicked his fourth major and teammate Baddeley-Holmes nailed his first not long after to stretch the margin to 13 points.

Logan Stubber briefly gave the Tigers some life at the other end but the Lions kicked the final three goals of the match to notch victory, 15.11 (101) to 11.10 (76). Parker was prolific through the midfield, especially in the last half, while Smith kicked a goal in each quarter against his old side and was awarded the match-day ball as part of the Great Southern Football League’s Talk To A Mate Round.

Jaxon Nottle was lively with three goals, Corey Ward was solid in defence, and Baddeley-Holmes dominated in the ruck after half- time.

Railways' Matt Van Schayk gets his mark spoiled by Royals' Corey Ward.
Camera IconRailways' Matt Van Schayk gets his mark spoiled by Royals' Corey Ward. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Lions coach James McRae was delighted his side had found a way to win on an important day for the club.

“We struggled for the first three quarters,” McRae said.

“I thought we got on top halfway through the third term and we kicked goals quickly.

“We had to find a way to win and it was fantastic to get ourselves out of a hole, especially for the milestone guys.”

Tempers boiled over several times in a fiery second term, which included Lions’ Taylor Powell receiving a yellow card for rough play on Tigers’ Zane Marwick.

Umpire Chris Norton sends Royals' Taylor Powell off with a yellow card.
Camera IconUmpire Chris Norton sends Royals' Taylor Powell off with a yellow card. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Tigers again had several passages of swift ball movement and Coen Marwick (five goals) was the main beneficiary.

Matt Van Schayk took a stack of contested marks and won plenty of possession all over the ground and defender Ethan Knee provided great run and dash from the back half. Ryan Lovegrove-Hudson found plenty of space across the four quarters and had numerous inside 50s while Zane Marwick was busy in the first half.

Royals' Sam Baddely gets his handball clear as Railways’ Jarrod Whittle tackles.
Camera IconRoyals' Sam Baddely gets his handball clear as Railways’ Jarrod Whittle tackles. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We missed a couple of opportunities at times,” Coach Craig Frost said. “Turnovers cost us, especially with their quick ball movement.

“I think there were plenty of good signs for us but the next three games are crucial for our top-two hopes.”

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