Tigers miss out in both grand finals
Despite the losses 2016 is a highly successful year for the Club. All four of our senior teams: First Grade, Second Grade, Rising Stars and Women’s played finals football – the Women making it to Division 1 for the first time. To have two teams contesting grand finals would be the envy of most clubs.
Our senior teams continued the development of young players, particularly the men with numerous under 17 age players given opportunities throughout the year in Rising Stars while First Grade continued to field a team that most weeks included a handful of players who could still play in the Rising Stars grade.
Both teams who contested the grand finals can hold their heads high in the knowledge that they never gave in against quality opposition. Had it not been for a poor quarter of football by both teams, the results might have been very different.
James Hall of the Canberra Times reported on the First Grade grand final:
AFL Canberra: Paine’s six goals secures Ainslie’s premiership
The party-spoiling Queanbeyan Tigers could not defend their premiership on Saturday as the Ainslie Tricolours capped off a brilliant season with a clinical 29-point win in the AFL Canberra grand final at Manuka Oval.
Ainslie won 13.14 (92) to Queanbeyan’s 9.9 (63), with Tricolours full forward Nick Paine setting the win up with a stunning five-goal first quarter.
The Tigers were wasteful with the ball early, with poor skills hindering their chances to move forward, while, Ainslie and Paine were deadly accurate with the veteran converting the first two inside 50s of the game.
Tigers’ player/coach Kade Klemke provided a dangerous marking target one-out at full forward early in his return from injury, and his side managed to score goals on the break behind the opposition’s defenders.
But Paine’s dominance set-up a three goal lead at the first break.
The Tigers significantly lifted their intensity and pressure on the opponent’s ball carriers, which restricted the scoring in the second term though the Tricolours extended their lead to five goals at the main break.
The third is famously referred to as the premiership quarter and it was here where Ainslie showed their superiority. Their ball movement was superb as they clinically spread the ball by hand and foot right across Manuka’s expansive oval, and a sense of inevitability began to set in.
Queanbeyan kicked a couple of early goals in the last to peg the margin back within four goals. But they never truly threatened the overwhelming favourites and when Reuben Haupt roved a marking pack inside 50 and snapped a goal, the flag was safe.
Paine was rightly awarded the best player on the ground despite being riddled with injuries and he said the win felt “amazing”.
“I came here with a bit of a niggle so I just wanted to get as much out of my body before it caved in, I’ve done my hamstring and both my calves,” he said.
“The plan was for me to go deep and try and exploit them there. It seemed to come pretty easily at the start there.”
A champagne-drenched Ainslie coach Chris Rourke reflected on his club’s taxing shift back to the local competition where they lost funding and numerous players.
“It’s been a tough 12 months for the club,” he said. “You go through and you leave the NEAFL and a lot of things happen, so to come together like this is great reward for a club that prides itself on doing all the right things.”
Rourke applauded his full forward.
“Our first quarter was fantastic obviously with our great Nick Paine up the front putting a show on,” Rourke said.
“[Josh] Bryce is a terrific player and we thought that would be the match-up but it’s a bit hard when you’re playing a freak. That’s all there is to it. He’s got a terrible body and he’s just got unbelievable talent.”
AFL CANBERRA FIRST GRADE GRAND FINAL
Ainslie Tricolours 6.2 9.4 11.5 13.14 (92)
Queanbeyan Tigers 3.1 4.3 6.6 9.9 (63)
Goals – Ainslie: Not supplied; Queanbeyan: M. Grocott 3, R. Stevens 2, B. Fruend, A. Swan, C. Milne, N. Edwards
Best – Ainslie: Not supplied; Queanbeyan: R. Stevens, R. Quade, C. Milne, J. Manie, T. Clowry, M. Vardanega
After the frenetic first quarter where both teams appeared nervous and were still adapting to the slight dew on the grass as well as the step up in pace and intensity, it was Ainslie that started to settle in to the game best and began finding targets and using handball and run with more purpose. Our boys were only able to add one goal to Ainslie’s three for the quarter resulting in a halftime scoreline of 3.2.20 to 6.4.40.
The third quarter is known as the premiership quarter and unfortunately this was the quarter where the Tiger Cubs dropped away a little. A lack of accountability to man up when not in possession meant turnovers quickly found our boys chasing and playing catch-up footy. Ainslie extended their lead by a further 20 points while keeping the Tigers goalless. The score and three quarter time was 3.4.22 to 9.6.60.
But in never-say-die spirit the “Cubs” knuckled down and gave it their all in the last quarter. The endeavour was fantastic and the crowd became vocalin sensing what might be possible. The boys came hard at Ainslie and played their best football of the day, kicking three goals to none. But the margin set up through the back end of the second quarter and throughout the third quarter was too much to overcome. The final score was 6.6.42 to 9.8.62.
Ainslie Tricolours3.1-196.3-399.6-609.8-62Queanbeyan Tigers2.1-133.3-213.4-226.6-42
Queanbeyan Tigers Goal Kickers: D. Lord, M. McKenzie, N. Verma, Z. Cowley-Hilton, C. Marsh, T. Van Luin Best Players: H. Peters, D. Edwards, J. Monck, T. Van Luin, J. Mulrooney, C. Marsh
Ainslie Tricolours Goal Kickers: L. Jamieson 2, Z. Lindsay, H. Richardson, M. Ackland, J. Wiley, H. Muir, B. Ackland, F. Dwyer Best Players: H. Richardson