Tigers re­gain bal­ance

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JAY CLARK

CON­CEN­TRA­TION has not al­ways been the Tigers’ strong point.

Un­der coach Damien Hard­wick, they have of­ten proved ca­pa­ble against the top sides, only to fall frus­trat­ingly against a club they were ex­pected to beat.

And at times in the sec­ond quar­ter last night, Hard­wick would have shifted un­com­fort­ably in his seat as the Tigers seem­ingly found ways to turn over the ball against a plucky Carl­ton, only days af­ter la­belling July a make- or- break month.

While it wasn’t pretty, the Tigers did what they have some­times strug­gled to achieve in re­cent years, mus­ter­ing enough of a third- term charge to keep valu­able mo­men­tum through­out the tough­est part of the sea­son.

And en­cour­ag­ingly for back- up big man Shaun Hamp­son, the Tigers went to plan B in the ruck and re­dis­cov­ered some con­fi­dence in the for­got­ten tall af­ter he was called upon to step up for the sus­pended Ivan Maric.

But, as has of­ten been the case this sea­son, it was the Tigers guns that de­liv­ered af­ter the main change as Alex Rance starred in de­fence and Trent Cotchin, Bran­don El­lis, Shaun Grigg, Brett Dele­dio and Dustin Martin all fired in the 30- point win over the Blues at the MCG.

Although the first half bor­dered on pu­trid at times, the Tigers have won seven of their last eight games to join fourth­placed Hawthorn on 36 points, leapfrog­ging Colling­wood.

They play St Kilda next week, be­fore more test­ing con­tests against Fre­man­tle, Hawthorn and Ade­laide away, that could de­ter­mine whether they can snaf­fle a dou­ble chance this fi­nals se­ries.

But an an­kle in­jury threat­ens to side­line in- form midfielder Shane Ed­wards for a month or more af­ter he fin­ished the night on crutches.

Big man Ty­rone Vick­ery will also likely at­tract match re­view panel scru­tiny af­ter a head clash with Michael Jami­son as Vick­ery steam­rolled the Blues’ de­fender with a heavy hip and shoul­der.

The Blues were per­sis­tent and brave for much of the night but lacked the class and ex­e­cu­tion in the for­ward half.

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