Tigers regain key duo for clash with ladder leaders
Railways will regain key forward Zak Hortin and midfielder Logan Stubber for their crunch round-12 clash with archrivals Royals at Centennial Stadium on Saturday.
The Tigers are already two games adrift of the top two with four home and away games to play, but face bottom sides Denmark-Walpole and Albany after this weekend’s fixtures and then tackle Mt Barker in the final round of the season. After consecutive losses to the Bulls and North Albany in the past fortnight, the Tigers must win all four games in the run home to stake a legitimate claim for a top-two spot and the finals double chance.
Hortin has missed the past five weeks with a hamstring injury and Stubber was overseas last week and missed the loss to the Kangas.
The Tigers, though, will be without reliable defender Ethan Knee (ankle), while Ryan Harper has returned to Perth, and player-coach Craig Frost said there could be more changes.
“Tom Palfrey could come back in, Noah Moore is also in the mix and we are not sure with Bailey (Bennett),” Frost said.
Bennett played against the Bulls and has returned home to Albany after spending most of the season with Claremont, but his permit to play with the Tigers was pulled last week, preventing him from taking on the Kangas.
Frost said despite two losses to the Lions already this season his side were desperate for a win to remain in top-two contention.
“Beating a top side gets your confidence up,” he said.
“We’ve got to be better for longer and take a mindset in that we can win.”
The Lions are expected to make a raft of changes to their side, who were comfortable winners over the Sharks last Saturday.
Captain Ryan Kinnear, Corey Linthorne, Corey Ward, Hamish McMorran, Tom Balwin, Sam Baddeley-Holmes and Tyron Smallwood are certainties to be included, while Rory Callaghan and Cam Smith are also chances to return.
Ben Watson has been ruled out, while Cent Amores (knee) and Arana O’Byrne are doubtful
In Saturday’s other fixture, the Bull host the Sharks and on Sunday at Collingwood Park the Kangas meet the Magpies.
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