Crush­ing win gives Tigers mi­nor ti­tle

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - TRENT SLAT­TER trent. slat­ter@ news. com. au

HER­MIT Park has wrapped up the AFL Townsville mi­nor pre­mier­ship in crush­ing fash­ion with a 25.11 ( 161) to 0.1 ( 1) win over the Curra Swans at Mul­doon Oval.

The Tigers shot out to an eight­goal lead at the first change and they kept the pres­sure on the Swans, kick­ing 9.4 in the fi­nal term to un­der­line an em­phatic win.

Leroy Lar­son booted seven goals while Her­mit Park cap­tain Ja­son Di Betta kicked five in his first game back from a bro­ken hand.

The Tigers have bye for the fi­nal round next week­end, but their big win over Curra means sec­ond- placed Univer­sity can’t chase them down in the bat­tle for the top spot.

Mean­while, the North­ern Beaches Suns have beaten reign­ing pre­miers Thuringowa for the first time in their short his­tory with an im­pres­sive 8.9 ( 57) to 4.9 ( 33) win at Tony Ire­land Sta­dium.

The Suns were strong across the park and even kept the Bull­dogs score­less in the sec­ond quar­ter, with Ben­jamin Holden, Michael Wren, and Josh Hall boot­ing two goals each.

Coach Brad McLaren ad­mit­ted it had been a tough sea­son for the Suns, who had lost four in a row head­ing into the Bull­dogs clash, but he praised their fo­cus at the week­end.

“We’ve copped some mas­sive belt­ings dur­ing the year and you don’t feel overly con­fi­dent af­ter them, but we gave our­selves a sniff and went on with it,” he said.

“It was a full team ef­fort which makes a mas­sive dif­fer­ence. We weren’t re­ly­ing on the usual two or three play­ers to get us go­ing.

“Our tack­ling was a lot bet­ter than it has been and our use of the football was pretty good. Our pres­sure on the ball was the best it’s been so far.

“We’ve got a pretty young group – the av­er­age age is about 20 – but they made up their minds that we needed to have a go here and they all put up their hands up.”

The AFL Townsville lad­der is team- first now set in stone ahead of the last reg­u­lar sea­son round, with the Suns and Bull­dogs set to meet again in a fort­night for an elim­i­na­tion fi­nal.

McLaren didn’t want to get too car­ried away with their sur­prise win over the pow­er­house Thuringowa side, but he said it was a nice con­fi­dence boost.

“To have a win over a team you know you’re go­ing to come up against in the fi­nals is a real pos­i­tive for the boys,” he said.

“The Dogs had a few miss­ing and we were prob­a­bly as close to full strength as we’re go­ing to be so we know next time they’re go­ing to be stronger.

“Hope­fully, we’ll go into that game know­ing we can beat the op­po­si­tion.”

Pic­ture: EVAN MOR­GAN

SHUT DOWN: Curra Swans player Dan Sey­mour is tack­led by Luke Hilder­brandt from the Her­mit Park Tigers at Mul­doon Oval.

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