Tigers eye top-two spot after gritty win

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Railways rebounded strongly from their loss to Mt Barker last week, beating defending premiers North Albany for the second time this season after withstanding plenty of pressure in the final term at Collingwood Park on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers kicked the opening three goals of the game but then had to absorb several challenges from the home side on their way to a vital 16-point victory that keeps them in touch with the top two.

Without captain Bodhi Stubber and frontline midfielder Logan Stubber, Tigers player-coach Craig Frost said it was a confidence- boosting win.

North Albany's Corey Hitchcock and Matt Orzel tackle Railways' Ryan Lovegrove-Hudson.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Corey Hitchcock and Matt Orzel tackle Railways' Ryan Lovegrove-Hudson. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We had a lapse in the second term but the boys responded and played well,” he said.

“The pressure we applied was terrific and caused them to turn it over and we had our mids kicking more goals.

“Our aim is to make the top two and that win helps us put more pressure on Mt Barker and Royals.”

North Albany's Jesse Wynne gets his handball away as Railways' Jack Steel tackles.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Jesse Wynne gets his handball away as Railways' Jack Steel tackles. Credit: Albany Advertiser

After being goalless in the first quarter, the Kangas quickly erased the 20-point deficit with a four-goal burst in the second term but they were only in front momentarily as the Tigers hit back.

Two goals to Jarrod Whittle, who was pushed forward, and singles to the clever Joel Want and key target Zak Hortin gave the Tigers an 11-point buffer at the main break.

Two more goals to Want early in the third extended the Tigers margin and midway through the term, the deficit reached a game-high 36 points as the worrying signs grew for the Kangas including a number of costly turnovers.

The Kangas again rallied to kick the last four majors of the third term and make it an 18-point game at the last break.

It was a tense final term as the rain began to fall but both sides could only conjure one goal apiece as the Tigers held on, 13.11 (89) to 10.13 (73).

Railways' Tayler Neale and Kris Cramer spoil North Albany's Michael Martain.
Camera IconRailways' Tayler Neale and Kris Cramer spoil North Albany's Michael Martain. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Rebounding defender Tayler Neale was superb for the Tigers in a best-afield display while Want was also highly influential, kicking four goals, which all came at important moments in the game.

Hortin (two goals) played his best game of the season while Whittle (two) and Zane Marwick were also solid contributors but the win was soured by a hamstring injury to full forward Coen Marwick.

The Kangas were again led by fearless ball winner Matt Orzel and Jack McPhee while Alec Haskins gave great drive off half-back but their side was left to lament poor skill execution and lacked a genuine forward target.

Kangas coach Craig Dew said it was a frustrating afternoon, but was hopeful his side can regain a number of key players from their lengthy injury list by the next round.

North Albany's Corey Hitchcock attempts to mark opposed to Railways' Nic Cramer.
Camera IconNorth Albany's Corey Hitchcock attempts to mark opposed to Railways' Nic Cramer. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“I thought Railways pressure was really good and it always is,” Dew said.

“They just outclassed us in the end.

“It really was an eight-point game for us, that’s why were we so disappointed afterwards but it’s been a frustrating start to the year for us.”

The Kangas were without a host of first-choice players including Luke Cameron, Ray Padfield, Nick Barrow and Beau Rogers and lost youngster Braden Retallack to an ankle injury.

The Tigers soaked up the Kangas’ 12 inside-50 entries in the final quarter and lost that statistic 41-44 across the four quarters.

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