Lions roar back to claim colts premiership

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Royals celebrate winning the 2016 GSFL colts premiership.
Camera IconRoyals celebrate winning the 2016 GSFL colts premiership. Credit: Laurie Benson

Royals produced a spirited second-half turnaround on their way to a 20-point victory in the 2016 Great Southern Football League colts grand final over North Albany at Sounness Park on Sunday.

The Lions trailed by six points at half-time, but kicked four goals against the breeze in a pulsating third quarter before running away with the contest in the last, courtesy of four more majors.

Promising talent Tom Baldwin, Corey Linthorne and Hamish McMorran led the Lions’ fightback as the trio played key parts in the 10.7 (67) to 7.5 (47) win.

Baldwin collected 26 disposals and nine marks in a dominant last half while also adding a vital goal in the third term.

Linthorne was terrific in the midfield, winning countless clearances while McMorran was pushed forward to boot four goals in the second half. The Kangas extended their advantage early in the third term after Taj Williams kicked a lovely running goal, then Jack Batchelor jailed his third goal, but that seemed to spark the Lions into top gear.

As Linthorne and Baldwin started to get on top in the middle, the Lions kicked three quick goals, through Baldwin, Broady Linthorne and McMorran, to get within a point, but the Kangas restored order through Cody Harris and Batchelor to take a slender lead into the last change.

It was all the Lions, however, in the final term as they took control, kicking with the aid of a strong wind, and kept the Kangas scoreless on their way to a third premiership since 2012.

McMorran finished with five goals from his 16 touches and eight marks, while both Linthorne brothers were influential — Corey around the stoppages and in the ruck, while Broady bobbed up with two goals.

Lions coach Rob White praised his side for their second-half performance. “I was as worried as when we got three goals down,” he said. “Moving Hammer (McMorran) to full forward actually helped change the ruck set-up and helped turn the game.

“We got clearances out of the middle and started to spread.

“The boys really played for each other in the second half and the reward is getting the trophy.”

The Kangas were well led by defender Ted Batchelor, captain Sam Blechynden and Daniel Turner through the midfield, while Jordan Genovese and Kohen Lemin also worked hard.

Spearhead Jack Batchelor was a force in the forward half, kicking four of his side’s seven goals.

“We started well, but the boys were a bit sore from last week,” Kangas coach Brian Stamp said.

“At the end of the day it was always going to be an uphill battle.

“Our tackling pressure was very good, but they were on top in the midfield all day.”

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