Tigers regain balance
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.