Tigers out to spoil Kangas’ quest for five straight flags
Railways captain Bodhi Stubber is confident his side can show further improvement from their second semifinal performance and knock off the side that has caused them the most grief in the past decade, North Albany, in Sunday’s spicy Great Southern Football League grand final.
The Tigers and Kangas will meet in a grand final for the fourth time in GSFL history and the third time in the past decade when they clash at Tigerland on Sunday afternoon in front of what is anticipated to be a capacity crowd.
After finishing fourth last season and making a swift finals exit, the Tigers have unearthed a number of impressive youngsters and recruited well to return to grand final day for the first time since 2015, when they went down in a thriller to the Kangas.
Stubber believes after such a strong season to date and the level of excitement around his club, victory over the Kangas on the biggest stage would be very sweet.
“They have been the benchmark for the last five years, probably the last decade they’ve caused us problems,” Stubber said.
“Even though we have finished on top, we still feel we’ve got a bit of underdog status.
“In previous years, we’ve been a wet-weather team but this year we’re more a dry-weather side and if it’s a nice day we can really put into place what we’ve been training to do.
“I think we’ve got plenty of improvement out of the second semi. This group we’ve got now, we will underachieve if we don’t bring the flag home on Sunday.”
The Kangas are gunning for their fifth straight premiership, a feat the club has never achieved, and co-captain Luke Cameron said his side had the hunger and determination to create history.
“The boys are pumped,” he said.
“This is our sixth straight grand final but the hunger is exactly the same — we are super-excited and very focused.
“We haven’t taken too much notice (of creating history) — they have been the best side all year and the team to beat but we are hoping to play the better footy on the day and come out on top.”
Stubber believes the feeling around his club both on and off-field has been a key part of their rise back to premiership contention. “Its just the excitement; all the young kids came day one of pre-season and really set the tone,” he said.
“This is the most exciting time I’ve been involved with since I’ve been in the club.
“The fact we haven’t won a flag in five years really drives the supporters and members and hopefully there is a lot of people there in Tigers colours to help us in any way possible.”
Cameron is likely to return from a hamstring injury to take his place in the Kangas side and if he does, he will be opposed to Stubber.
The pair have had some terrific battles in the past few seasons and the 2013 Kleemann medallist predicted their battle was again crucial. “It’s always good fun — we’ve played on each other for the last couple of years,” Cameron said. “You are not judged on any other game, you are judged in how you go in finals.
“I’ve got one last hurdle, get through training (Wednesday) and then Friday but I’m feeling good.”
The Tigers were triumphant in the second semifinal by 14 points, leaving the Kangas to go the long way to the grand final via the preliminary final.
Cameron, however, said the path — with an extra game — was similar to their 2016 premiership victory over Mt Barker and was an advantage as they prepared to welcome back four key players for the decider.
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