Finals in Sight! – Tigers defeat Ainslie.
Report by Michael Niesen
Two old enemies battled it out at Ainslie Oval last Saturday with the Tigers coming out on top for the first time since 2009 at the Tricolours home ground. It was an emphatic win, a win much needed by the youthful Tigers combination that had lost their two previous games to equal competition leaders Sydney Swans Reserves and Northern Conference leaders Southport.
The Round 13 clash was crucial to both clubs as a bottle neck was beginning to form at the top end of the Eastern Conference ladder. They continue to share top spot with the Swans and Eastlake but are second on percentage.
A bitterly cold day greeted the players and a breeze was blowing toward the scoreboard end to which the Tigers had first use. Back in the side was Kade Klemke and Jarrod Atkinson for Queanbeyan while star recruit Ken McGregor was still absent from the Tricolours.
Tigers started stronger and kicked the opening 2 goals within 8 minutes. They were getting plenty of the football but some poor use while going forward kicking to unopposed Ainslie defenders playing loose was a cause for some concern. Ainslie steadied and went into the first change only 2 goals behind. Thoughts were that three goals with the wind was not enough but the second term would give a true indication once both sides had used it.
¼ Time Tigers 3-3-21 Ainslie 1-3-9
Tigers were excellent in this term. They used the ball cleaner and seemed to have a bit too much pace for Ainslie. They backed each other and were able to run through the lines from half back and set up players up forward. The only real shinning light for Ainslie was Marcus Crook who was carrying his side and if not for him the game might have been over already. Atkinson was having his best game in the Tigers and one of his goals was pure class.
He received the ball inside the square and after several bounces steadied from 40 out against the breeze and put through a team lifting goal. Tigers were dominant in this term with Steve Jolliffe and Alex Overs outstanding across half back. Josh Bryce and Roy Jaques had their opponents in check. Toby Conroy and Will Griggs were very busy and Ben King was again defying his size by winning the contested footy. Jeremy Kirkwood was doing a great jog down back and Neil Irwin was having a excellent battle in the ruck giving first use to the Tiger smalls and also collecting possessions around the ground. The Tigers could and should have been further in front as they missed a few relatively easy goals and the scoreboard flattered the home side at the long break.
½ Time Tigers 7-8-50 Ainslie 4-4-28
The Tigers Coach Kade Klemke did not return to the field after the long break preferring to rest a knee injured in the previous encounter against Ainslie three weeks ago. There was no doubt the Tricolours were given a verbal blast from Coach Chris Rourke and he must have asked his players to show a bit more fight as they came out and tried to unsettle their younger opponents.
There were several flare ups before a melee formed on the outer wing. The Tigers quickly regained their composure to again reinforce just how far they have come in such as short space of time and they won the term 5 goals to one. Again it was their pace that was causing Ainslie problems as well as their ability to support each other at the contest and their quick use of hands in close was outstanding. It was a total team effort by the Tigers who had winners all over the ground and deserved their 44 point 3/4 time advantage.
¾ Time Tigers 12-10-80 Ainslie 5-6-36
The Tigers started the brighter against the wind and were dominant in the opening stages of the last term. They had clearly picked up where they left off and Ainslie were looking a shadow of their former selves that had won the last 2 premierships. Towards the end Ainslie kicked 3 consolation goals but it was too little to late as the Tigers went home with morale boosting 47 point win. A terrific result for the Tigers and the pleasing thing would have been that they put in a 4 quarter effort and won each term, something that had let them down the previous 2 weeks against Sydney Swans and Southport.
Ainslie 1 2 4 4 5 6 10 7 (67) Queanbeyan 3 3 7 8 12 10 17 12 (114)Ainslie Goal Kickers: E. Stone 3, S. Horner 2, J. Hirst , M. Crook , N. Paine , R. Tuohey , M. Lawless Best Players: L. Crook, S. Playfair, S. Horner, E. Stone, D. Walker Queanbeyan Goal Kickers: J. ATKINSON 4, B. Fruend 3, J. KAVANAGH 3, M. Daniher 2, W. Griggs , R. Quade , T. Conroy , J. Manie , B. King Best Players: T. Conroy, J. Bryce, J. ATKINSON, J. Kirkwood, J. KAVANAGH, S. Jolliffe
The Tigers are now 8-3. They had a very tough month of football playing Ainslie twice, Swans and Southport and have come out of it with a very creditable 2-2 result.
Many pundits wrote the Tigers off during the pre season. Full credit to the Tigers Coaching staff headed by Klemke and assisted by Paul James and Adrian Pavese. But the players must also take credit for the way they have responded after last season. They are fitter, stronger and have belief. Remember many of this playing list were part of the team last season that only won 4 matches, but with a different attitude and another preseason to mature they have come out and stunned many in the NEAFL world.
AFL Canberra Division 1
Yet another Tigers Division 1 side took the field depleted of playing personal but once again they stepped up to the mark just failing in the last moments of the match to take the points. Full credit to the guys who are not getting a regular game but each time they are selected very rarely do they let the team down.
Ainslie were far too big in the height departed and went to a five goal lead in the opening term when kicking with the wind. They looked certain to post a big score against the Tigers. However – it was not to be. A tenacious fight back occurred – with the Tigers kicking the first five goals to close the margin before Ainslie scored two majors close to the half time siren to have a slender lead at the long break.
With the scoring end to the south of the ground, the Tricolours once again opened with three quick goals and then a late goal to finish the third term and be 4 goals up at the ¾ time break. An upset looked in the making with the Tigers launching an almighty attack early in the last term to draw level only to see the Tricolours once again kick two late goals against the wind to take the match.