Tigers’ fightback not enough to overhaul Lions

Headshot of Cameron Newbold
Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser

Royals withstood a second-half fightback from Railways to move a step closer to the minor premiership, running out 20-point winners over their crosstown rivals in the round 12 Great Southern Football League clash at Centennial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Lions had opened up a 31-point lead at half-time after kicking five goals to one in the second term but the Tigers responded brilliantly in the third to keep themselves in the match.

With only two goals on the board in the first half, the Tigers sent Coen Marwick back to the forward line and the move worked wonders as he booted two majors quickly and when he snared a third, the visitors had trimmed the margin to 13 points with three goals in the first five minutes of the quarter.

Railways' Craig Frost breaks clear and looks to handball.
Camera IconRailways' Craig Frost breaks clear and looks to handball. Credit: Albany Advertiser

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Brayden Parker and a third goal to tall forward Peter Mark steadied the ship for the Lions but Coen Marwick was simply everywhere as he bobbed up to add a fourth and then slammed home a 50m bomb from a free kick to get his side to within 15 points.

The five-goal third quarter cameo from Coen Marwick had the Tigers back in the game but versatile big man Taylor Powell made it tough for the visitors when he marked and goaled from close range nearing three-quarter-time to return the margin to 21 points.

The Tigers kicked two goals in the final term, including a sixth to Coen Marwick, but they were unable to overhaul the home side as Jaxon Nottle’s second of the game ensured the 11.13 (79) to 9.5 (59) result.

Royals' Dave Parker and Railways' Nic Cramer contest the ball on the ground.
Camera IconRoyals' Dave Parker and Railways' Nic Cramer contest the ball on the ground. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The Lions were without key utility Ben Gray for the second half after he was knocked out by a clumsy clothesline incident from Tigers’ Tom Palfrey and was taken to hospital.

Recruit Tyron Smallwood was excellent for the Lions, along with Powell (two goals) and star midfielder Dave Parker, while Peter Mark moved well for his three majors and Nottle also had an influence.

The win ensures the Lions stay a game clear on top of the ladder.

Coach James McRae was pleased with the side’s first half.

“It was a really good first half of footy,” McRae said. “We had a few guys under the weather and got a couple of injuries, so I was just happy to scrape through. Our aim is to be playing our best footy when the finals start.”

McRae was left bemused by a yellow card given to Powell in the last quarter while Gray will miss a week through concussion.

The Tigers were best served by Coen Marwick, his six goals taking his season tally to 41 goals, and Tayler Neale was busy throughout the afternoon at half-back while Logan Stubber and Zane Marwick also found plenty of the ball.

Royals' Rory Callaghan attempts to mark against Railways' Noah Moore.
Camera IconRoyals' Rory Callaghan attempts to mark against Railways' Noah Moore. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Tigers player-coach Craig Frost said the most pleasing aspect of the loss, which ended their slim top- two hopes, was their ability to win the second half.

“That second quarter, they got on top but our second half was a lot better than it has been,” he said.

“To win the second half against the top side, we played the way we want to and showed we can match it with them. Hopefully, we can take that momentum into the next three weeks.”

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