Tigers overhaul Lions in bruising NAIDOC fixture

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
Royals' Aran Tilbury is tackled by Railways' Jayden Scott and Nelson Kent.
Camera IconRoyals' Aran Tilbury is tackled by Railways' Jayden Scott and Nelson Kent. Credit: Laurie Benson

Railways have again produced a strong second-half display as they easily disposed of arch rivals Royals by 73-points in their NAIDOC Round clash at Centennial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Tigers led by 13 points at quarter-time before adding four goals in the second term as key forward Zak Hortin kicked two for the term and in-from youngster Kenton Gibbs also became a multiple goal kicker.

In his first game of the season, Taylor Powell was switched from defence to attack and he slotted a much-needed major for the Lions nearing half-time.

The visitors held a commanding 38-point margin when the second half began but things changed tack in the third term as only two goals were kicked as both sides seemed more interested in starting scuffles.

Railways midfielder Joel Want gathers the ball.
Camera IconRailways midfielder Joel Want gathers the ball. Credit: Albany Advertiser

Tempers boiled over several times with four yellow cards handed out in a fiery third quarter but the Lions wasted some chances in front of goal as they kicked 1.5 to still trail by 36 points.

The Tigers were ruthless in the final term as they put the underdone Lions to the sword, kicking six unanswered goals to thump them 14.16 (100) to 3.9 (27).

Tigers player-coach Craig Frost was awarded a NAIDOC ball after being recognised as best on ground for his terrific game chopping off of the Lions attacks at half-back while Joel Want was pivotal in the midfield along with Zane Marwick and youngster Tom Wolfe.

Railways' Kenton Gibbs marks in the pack.
Camera IconRailways' Kenton Gibbs marks in the pack. Credit: Albany Advertiser

The victory maintains the Tigers’ unbeaten record and again their new-look forward line functioned well with Gibbs, Hortin and recruit Doug Roberts finishing with three majors each.

Frost was again pleased with his side’s ability to finish the game strongly after being wasteful in the second term when they kicked 4.8.

“For three quarters it was fairly physical and Royals put up a real fight,” he said.

“We didn’t get on top until the last quarter but finished well again.”

Andrew Ruck was impressive around the ground to be one of the Lions’ best contributors along with Dylan Ford and polished ball user Ryan Kinnear and Henry Hodge while Coel Hunter was their only multiple goal kicker.

The Lions were left to rue their inaccuracy in the third term and have at least half a dozen first-choice players to return but several of their players appeared underdone.

Royals' Andrew Ruck attempts to mark.
Camera IconRoyals' Andrew Ruck attempts to mark. Credit: Albany Advertiser

“We’ve had the start I thought we’d have,” Lions coach James McRae said.

“It’s a line-in-the-sand moment, we had a chat about where we are at and what we’ve got to do.

“I thought we won the third quarter and won it convincingly but we couldn’t hit the scoreboard.”

The Lions lost defender Corey Ward to a calf injury while Powell was clearly restricted by an ankle injury late in the game.

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