Lion Lither­land in tilt for WAFL flag

Great Southern Herald - - Sport - Cameron New­bold

Ongerup-bred de­fender An­gus Lither­land will be chas­ing his first WAFL pre­mier­ship when he lines up for Su­bi­aco in Sun­day’s league grand fi­nal against West Perth at Op­tus Sta­dium.

Lither­land was raised in Ongerup and played for Roy­als and Al­bany be­fore be­ing drafted to Hawthorn, where he played 25 games across six AFL sea­sons.

Since be­ing delisted by the Hawks, the re­li­able de­fender has been su­perb for the Lions at WAFL level, av­er­ag­ing more than 12 dis­pos­als a game in 2017 and is av­er­ag­ing 14.1 dis­pos­als a game this sea­son.

Lither­land is a vi­tal cog in the Lions’ back six and will play a cru­cial role against the Fal­cons, who have a for­ward line that con­tains joint Bernie Nay­lor medal­lists Tyler Kei­tel (50 goals) and An­drew Strijk (50) along with ex­pe­ri­enced goal kicker Jay van Berlo (24).

In the Lions’ sec­ond semi­fi­nal win over South Fre­man­tle on Septem­ber 9, Lither­land was ter­rific with 19 pos­ses­sions and six marks.

Lither­land was part of the Lions’ grand fi­nal side that lost to Peel Thun­der last year but his side are red-hot favourites to win their first pre­mier­ship since 2015, hav­ing beaten the Fal­cons in their three pre­vi­ous en­coun­ters this sea­son.

The league grand fi­nal is set down for 2.40pm on Sun­day. The Fal­cons booked their place in the de­cider after a 26-point win over the Bull­dogs in last Sun­day’s pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal at Fre­man­tle Com­mu­nity Bank Oval.

For­mer Roy­als mid­fielder Steven Ed­wards was su­perb in a los­ing af­fair, named in his side’s best play­ers after 19 touches, four tack­les and three inside 50s.

Al­bany ju­nior Dy­lan Small­wood was named in Clare­mont’s best play­ers in their re­serves pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal loss to the Lions.

Play­ing in de­fence, Small­wood had 12 dis­pos­als while Roy­als ju­nior Mor­gan Davies col­lected 14 pos­ses­sions and laid 13 tack­les in the de­feat.

Pic­ture: Trevor Col­lens

Ongerup-raised de­fender and for­mer Hawthorn player An­gus Lither­land in ac­tion for Su­bi­aco, who will vie for the 2018 WAFL flag against West Perth at Op­tus Sta­dium on Sun­day.

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