Royals inclusions make emphatic statement

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Royals' Brayden Parker gets clear of Mt Barker’s Jesse Wynne.
Camera IconRoyals' Brayden Parker gets clear of Mt Barker’s Jesse Wynne. Credit: Laurie Benson

Royals made an emphatic round 1 statement as their seven fresh faces played significant parts in the 102-point drubbing of a bland Mt Barker at Centennial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Jaiden Alison, Shane Buss, Steven Edwards, Jayson Ford, Jordan Heil, Brody Ogle and Tyrese Pickett-Miller were all inclusions in the Lions side under new coach Andrew Ruck for the first time and it would be hard to argue all seven were not heavily involved in the Bulls’ demolition.

Alison booted five second-half majors, Edwards had 23 touches in his GSFL return, Heil will poll Kleemann Medal votes for the first time, and Ford was ever dangerous around goal to finish with four majors.

Buss produced a very polished league debut, Ogle was able to break lines with his raw pace and Pickett-Miller provided a great target for much of the day.

Royals' Nathan Powell and Mt Barker's Daniel Henderson contest the centre bounce.
Camera IconRoyals' Nathan Powell and Mt Barker's Daniel Henderson contest the centre bounce. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Lions showed they will be a force in 2019 with a thumping 18.11 (119) to 2.5 (17) victory over the visitors.

After being a goal apiece at quarter-time, the Lions flexed their muscles, kicking the next 17 goals of the game, and only a late Nic Chidgzey major prevented the Bulls going goalless for well over three quarters.

Heil has joined the Lions from Narrogin and he was able to roam freely in a terrific first-up display, while Ford (four goals) and Alison (five) provided the front-half firepower needed to kick a winning score.

Corey Ward was terrific across half-back, constantly cutting off supply, while Edwards gathered 23 disposals and eight marks, and kicked three goals in his return to his junior club after a lengthy WAFL stint.

Royals' Steven Edwards.
Camera IconRoyals' Steven Edwards. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Ruck was delighted with the overall performance of his side.

“We had a good spread, the boys cracked in and the tackling pressure was great,” he said.

“We think we are pretty fit, our run and carry and skills were good.

“We also had a lot of young blokes play well, which is encouraging.”

Cameron Allison injured a hamstring and is likely to miss at least a fortnight, while Ryan Kinnear (cork) and Rhys Jones (knee) both failed to finish the game.

The Lions took 13 marks inside 50 compared to their opponents’ two and Bulls coach Brad Hook hoped his side were disappointed in their effort. “They are fit and well drilled and left us playing catch-up all day,” Hook said.

Mt Barker's John Lee is caught high by Royals' Ryan Flick.
Camera IconMt Barker's John Lee is caught high by Royals' Ryan Flick. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We thought it was going to be a red-hot round 1 game, but hopefully the guys take a look inside and be disappointed in the way we played.

“I think we had 19 inside 50s, which is poor, and we can’t afford to have another game even half as bad as that.”

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