Tigers book a place in the decider, fresh injury concern for Kangas
North Albany are not daunted by taking the long route to the grand final, according to coach Craig Dew as they prepare for a blockbuster preliminary final after losing to Railways in Saturday’s second semifinal.
The Tigers booked their place in the Great Southern Football League grand final after emerging 14-point winners at a wet and muddy Tigerland but the talking points from the match surround the Kangas.
The visitors didn’t risk forward Luke Cameron, who is coming back from a hamstring injury, in the heavy conditions but they have a fresh injury concern, with key figure Jack McPhee pulling up with a tight hamstring.
McPhee started superbly and was part of the reason the Kangas had hit the front by half-time.
The Kangas, through their own inaccuracy, trailed by 11 points at the first change but even after a late Tigers goal from Rory Gibbs they held a four-point half-time advantage.
With persistent rain and very slippery conditions making things difficult, the Tigers produced a decisive third term during which they kicked three unan-swered goals to gain the ascendancy.
Captain Bodhi Stubber firstly put the home side in front, youngster Tom Wolfe kicked truly and then a scrambled goal from the hard-working Dylan Schorer ensured the Tigers held a 16-point advantage at the final change.
When Jayden Scott sneaked his second goal home early in the last quarter, the margin was the most it had been all day at 21 points, and, from there, they were able to stifle the Kangas in attack to prevent any hope of a comeback.
Jacob Hobbs pinched one back for the Kangas but it was too late as they were left to rue their early chances in front of goal, going down 6.12 (48) to 9.8 (62).
Kangas coach Craig Dew dismissed the suggestions McPhee’s injury was serious and confirmed Cameron would return for their cut-throat preliminary final against Mt Barker.
“The boys are bitterly disappointed, we haven’t taken our chances,” Dew said.
“I think this will galvanise us a little bit.
“Jack just got a bit tight in the hamstring but he’ll be fine and we get Cameron back next week.
“We had more inside 50s and scoring shots.
“It was a really even contest but they took their chances.”
The Tigers progressed to their first grand final since 2015, and will regain key forward Zak Hortin, who was also not risked in the first week of finals.
Ruckman Shane Braimbridge played his best game at senior level, winning plenty of the taps and collected plenty of the ball around the ground, while midfielder Joel Want was influential along with Schorer and player-coach Craig Frost.
“We put great pressure on the ball carrier and know when we don’t have the footy we have got to lock down,” Frost said.
“Injury-wise we have been lucky, and the couple of players we did recruit have really helped us get to here. With the ground so wet and heavy, the last thing we want to do is roll out again next week.”
Defender Marcus Trevenen kept Kenton Gibbs goalless, Lachie O’Shea limited Zane Marwick’s output in a tagging role, and Michael Trevenen, despite being at half forward for much of the day, was another solid contributor for the Kangas, while Taj Williams kicked two goals.
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