EASTERN CONFERENCE PREMIERS – 2012!
Kaine Stevens wins Best on Ground Honours.
Tenacious Tigers Take The Title by Michael Niesen
The Queanbeyan Tigers have won the 2012 NEAFL Grand Final with a gutsy 30 point win over flag favourites the Sydney Swans. In an enthralling physical battle the Tigers responded to every challenge to eventually end a 12 year premiership drought taking the title 18-13-121 to Swans 13-13-91
With the Swans fresh from a 2 week break they opened the 1st quarter the brighter registering the first 2 goals of the game. They were getting first use of the ball in the middle as they dominated the clearances but the Tigers steadied as they began to get into their rhythm. They began to get their hands on the football with Kaine Stevens leading the way.
His aggression at the ball was immense as he lifted his side and with James Kavanagh looking dangerous up forward you could see the momentum shift the Tigers way. However it was the Swans who took a 9 point lead into the first change.
Tigers 3-1-19 Swans 4-4-28
Queanbeyan began to take control in the middle through Neil Irwin who was starting to get on top of Jesse White. The Tigers were lifting all over the ground and their pressure intensified to levels not seen for several years which caused their opponents to fumble and become cautious of what was around them.
The Tigers were playing inspired football that was hard and aggressive and they dominated the term booting 5 goals to 1. Some of the pressure was manic at times and you wondered if they could maintain this style in the second half as they took a 17 point lead into half time.
Tigers 8-5-53 Swans 5-6-36
The third term is often referred to as the “Premiership Quarter” and the Tigers continued to play the style that had worked so well in the first half. This was the Tigers of old, hard at the ball and aggressive at their opponents.
It was as if they were possessed and the football was a prized possession that if a red and white jumper tried to take it they would feel the full force of the Tiger onslaught. But the Swans rallied with an incredible running goal from Harry Cunningham as he collected the ball on the half back line and bounced his way to the forward 50 to slot an inspiring goal.
This should have lifted his side but it was the Tigers who responded by kicking the next 3 goals. The Tigers raced out to a 36 point lead and looked to have the game in control but 2 late goals in time on to Sydney kept the large crowd of over 3700 on the edge of their seats.
Tigers 13-10-88 Swans 9-10-64
A goal within 15 seconds of the restart had the Swans right back in the contest. Then they kicked another and suddenly it was game on. The challenge had been thrown out by the Swans as they wrestled control of the match back from the Tigers.
They had all the momentum and things looked grim for the gutsy Tigers as a 36 point lead had been whittled down to just 9 in a short space of time. But this is an extraordinary Tiger outfit and they responded to the challenge in style kicking the last 3 goals to run out impressive 30 point winners and be crowned 2012 NEAFL Premiers for 2012.
In a total team performance the Tigers had great players all over the ground. Kaine Stevens was a worthy winner of the Alex Jesaulenko Medal for best on ground with his aggression at the contest and his in and under work inspiring many around him.
Neil Irwin did a mountain of work and for me played the best game of his career. His work rate was exceptional and he wore down and won the battle against the dangerous Jesse White.
James Kavanagh was a constant threat up forward kicking 5 goals. His hard running and strong marking a feature. Daniel Campbell was an inspired selection. He was not even in the team on Tuesday night but he repaid the Tigers faith with a 5 goal haul.
Toby Conroy, Mitch Daniher and Will Griggs continually collected possessions and work tirelessly for their side. Ben King capped off an remarkable first season as he firstly shut down Jarrod Moore and then when on top, got the football on numerous occasions driving the ball forward for his side.
Down back Alex Overs, Roy Jaques and Josh Bryce were like a brick wall repelling attack after attack. Sam Jensen provided plenty of run as his never say die attitude which has served him so well throughout the season continued on the biggest stage.
Mitch Heaslip was another who worked tirelessly throughout getting to contest after contest. Kade Klemke worked himself into the ground and just when you thought he could not give anymore went to the last line of defense to curb the influential Trent Dennis Lane.
Ryan Quade battled manfully on Swans listed player Campbell Heath as he provided a target up forward with his endeavour to provide a contest showing true leadership. Jarrod Atkinson got better as the game got longer with some of his dashes lifting all and sundry.
Jeremy Kirkwood battled well on the dangerous Trent Dennis Lane and although his opponent kicked 5 goals he can be satisfied with his afternoons work in difficult circumstances. Todd Dickinson went about his business down back with a minimum of fuss, Sam Daniel did some nice things as did Paul Franchi.
Ben Klemke provided a contest when up forward and in the ruck, Brett Fruend did some clever things throughout the day and Steve Jolliffe played his part to help the Tigers get over the line.
A truly remarkable game of football that will be talked about for many years. The Tigers rose to the challenge and in many people’s eyes pulled off the greatest win in the clubs history. The Tigers have won many premierships before this but none against such a professional outfit.
It has been a fairy tale 12 months for the club, after finishing 2nd last with 4 wins last season they have beaten all the odds to become NEAFL premiers.
But it is not over just yet as this group of premiership players now quickly move on to represent the Eastern Conference in the inter conference Championship game as they take on the Northern Conference winners the Brisbane Lions. It will be a difficult task again playing a professional outfit but as we have seen this season, you can never right off the Mighty Tigers.
This game will be played on Saturday at Manuka commencing at 11.30am. The Tigers will be missing Will Griggs who is unavailable.
Win or lose next week all at the club should be congratulated as many have sacrificed hours upon hours of their time to assist in an incredible season. All who have had an association with this much loved club are truly proud of what has been achieved.
You have etched yourselves into Tiger folklore and this season will be remembered for a very long time. Enjoy the moment and thank you for an unbelievable year.
Sydney Swans 4 4 5 6 9 10 13 13 (91) Queanbeyan 3 1 8 5 13 10 18 13 (121)Sydney Swans Goal Kickers: T. DENNIS-LANE 5, D. Lycakis 3, H. CUNNINGHAM 2, B. MEREDITH , N. GORDON , D. Hadden Best Players: C. HEATH, J. Weir, H. CUNNINGHAM, D. Lycakis, T. DENNIS-LANE, M. SPANGHER Queanbeyan Goal Kickers: J. KAVANAGH 5, D. Campbell 5, B. Fruend , B. Klemke , K. Klemke , T. Conroy , R. Quade , R. Jaques , M. Daniher , B. King Best Players: K. Stevens, D. Campbell, W. Griggs, M. Heaslip, J. KAVANAGH, S. Jensen