Tigers set to face off against Tuggeranong Hawks
By Jonathan Kroiter, The Queanbeyan Age/The Chronicle journalist. Republished with permission of the The Queanbeyan Age/The Chronicle. First published in the The Queanbeyan Age/The Chronicle, 29 August 2016
Having experienced surprising finals losses in 2011, Queanbeyan Tigers player-coach Kade Klemke is not focusing on an AFL Canberra grand final berth just yet.
Ryan Quade competes in a ruck contest
The Tigers begin their finals campaign at Allinsure Park this Sunday, September 4, against the Tuggeranong Hawks, a team the Tigers defeated by 81 points the past weekend.
In lessons learnt in the past, Klemke said during his time coaching Culcairn his team, the Lions, finished the season top of the table with only one defeat. But, they tumbled out of the finals series with consecutive losses.
“Finals footy, it’s a different game,” Klemke said.
“I’ve been a part of a finals side that was favourite and lost despite beating that side quite convincingly during the year. Having been a part of that, one thing that I said in my coaching is that I never want that to happen again.”
“One of our main things is that we respect the opposition. Although we’ve beaten Tuggeranong quite easily [in the past], we just want to focus on this week.”
“I’m sure they will be a tougher test this weekend.”
Despite winning the last two premierships, the Tigers have finished third on the ladder due to having an inferior percentage to the Belconnen Magpies.
Tigers’ Justin Galloway and Hawks’ Ben Sherring contest the ball. Photo: Elesa Kurtz.
“It would have been nice to finish first or second but in the end we weren’t too worried either,” Klemke said.
“We came from third to win the premiership last year.”
However, Klemke is concerned his side’s goal kicking could derail their premiership ambitions. Entering last weekend’s clash against the Hawks, the player-coach told his side they needed to solve their inaccuracy in front of goal.
“I said to the boys ‘If we don’t fix this by the weekend, this could really affect us against the top sides’,” Klemke said.
“The boys started kicking them from everywhere so I was pretty happy. We’ve got to make the most of our opportunities in front of goal because come finals, it’ll be the team that makes the most of their opportunities that wins.”
If the Tigers defeat the Hawks this weekend, they will play the loser of this weekend’s major semi-final between Ainslie and Belconnen for a grand final berth.
Meanwhile, the Tigers have inducted Hannah Dunn and Kristen Turner into the Queanbeyan Tigers 100 Club as the first women to be added to the list.
They have been joined by first-grade players Brett Fruend and Paul Williams who have also reached the 100-game milestone this year.