Tigers dig deep to claim final berth
TIGERS Colts had to call on all their reserves to claim a hard-fought 34-point victory against Imperials at Pemberton Oval on Sunday.
Crucial performances by key Tigers’ players ensured they would find the necessary structure in a telling final quarter surge that yielded five goals to seal a Grand Final berth.
The Magpies put up a brave fight all day to gain contest control, however they were thwarted by the Tigers’ experienced players in Jethro Namnik, Reece Edwards and Zane Russo, who all played pivotal roles in the 13.10 (88) to 8.6 (5.4) win.
From the outset it appeared Tigers would hold the upper hand simply because their forward structure looked more powerful, with Edwards getting into it early with two goals.
The Magpies responded in grand style and in general play held the Tigers’ run.
Through some solid defence they were able to mount a challenge, allowing for Campbell Jones and Liam Cullen to kick goals.
With the contest developing into a dour struggle, the ground players from each side were prominent possession winners, especially Tigers Zane and Taj Russo, who were relentless in their push forward.
For Imperials, Damon Scaini, Connor Ipsen and Sam Roberts held the challenge up and when Cullen rammed home two more goals, the Tigers’ lead was just two points at the final break.
Playing for a Grand Final berth, both sides poured every ounce of effort into gaining control, however, as fatigue set in both sides turned the ball over at a constant rate.
Edwards, Kurt Donohoe and Zane Russo continued the Tigers’ goal count.
Namnik was sensational in defence while Heath Bernardin and Todd Gibson responded in style for the Magpies to leave the game in the balance.
Boasting midfield control from the Russo brothers and with Namnik dominating, the Tigers finalised the contest with a surging final term to record a stirring victory over a gallant Magpies outfit.