Tigers eye top-two spot after gritty win

Albany Advertiser - - SPORT - Cameron New­bold

Rail­ways re­bounded strongly from their loss to Mt Barker last week, beat­ing de­fend­ing pre­miers North Al­bany for the sec­ond time this sea­son after with­stand­ing plenty of pres­sure in the fi­nal term at Colling­wood Park on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

The Tigers kicked the open­ing three goals of the game but then had to ab­sorb sev­eral chal­lenges from the home side on their way to a vi­tal 16-point vic­tory that keeps them in touch with the top two.

With­out cap­tain Bodhi Stub­ber and front­line mid­fielder Lo­gan Stub­ber, Tigers player-coach Craig Frost said it was a con­fi­dence­boost­ing win.

“We had a lapse in the sec­ond term but the boys re­sponded and played well,” he said.

“The pres­sure we ap­plied was ter­rific and caused them to turn it over and we had our mids kick­ing more goals.

“Our aim is to make the top two and that win helps us put more pres­sure on Mt Barker and Roy­als.”

After be­ing goal­less in the first quar­ter, the Kangas quickly erased the 20-point deficit with a four-goal burst in the sec­ond term but they were only in front mo­men­tar­ily as the Tigers hit back.

Two goals to Jar­rod Whit­tle, who was pushed for­ward, and sin­gles to the clever Joel Want and key tar­get Zak Hortin gave the Tigers an 11-point buf­fer at the main break.

Two more goals to Want early in the third ex­tended the Tigers mar­gin and mid­way through the term, the deficit reached a game­high 36 points as the wor­ry­ing signs grew for the Kangas in­clud­ing a num­ber of costly turnovers.

The Kangas again ral­lied to kick the last four ma­jors of the third term and make it an 18-point game at the last break.

It was a tense fi­nal term as the rain be­gan to fall but both sides could only con­jure one goal apiece as the Tigers held on, 13.11 (89) to 10.13 (73).

Re­bound­ing de­fender Tayler Neale was su­perb for the Tigers in a best-afield dis­play while Want was also highly in­flu­en­tial, kick­ing four goals, which all came at im­por­tant mo­ments in the game.

Hortin (two goals) played his best game of the sea­son while Whit­tle (two) and Zane Mar­wick were also solid con­trib­u­tors but the win was soured by a ham­string in­jury to full for­ward Coen Mar­wick.

The Kangas were again led by fear­less ball win­ner Matt Orzel and Jack McPhee while Alec Hask­ins gave great drive off half-back but their side was left to lament poor skill ex­e­cu­tion and lacked a gen­uine for­ward tar­get.

Kangas coach Craig Dew said it was a frus­trat­ing af­ter­noon, but was hope­ful his side can re­gain a num­ber of key play­ers from their

lengthy in­jury list by the next round.

“I thought Rail­ways pres­sure was re­ally good and it al­ways is,” Dew said.

“They just out­classed us in the end.

“It re­ally was an eight-point game for us, that’s why were we so dis­ap­pointed af­ter­wards but it’s been a frus­trat­ing start to the year for us.”

The Kangas were with­out a host of first-choice play­ers in­clud­ing Luke Cameron, Ray Pad­field, Nick Bar­row and Beau Rogers and lost young­ster Braden Re­tal­lack to an an­kle in­jury.

The Tigers soaked up the Kangas’ 12 in­side-50 en­tries in the fi­nal quar­ter and lost that statis­tic 41-44 across the four quar­ters.

Pic­ture: AFL Me­dia/Getty Images

Pic­tures: Lau­rie Ben­son

Rail­ways' Joel Want and North Al­bany's Alec Hask­ins con­test pos­ses­sion.

North Al­bany's Matt Orzel gets clear of Rail­ways' Hay­den Smart.

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