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On Saturday the Summerland AFL Major Semi Final at Pottsville started on a sad note when the Tweed Coast Tigers dedicated the game to their youngest player Henry Buist who passed away tragically this week. The players wore black armbands and both Tigers and Bombers, officials and the large crowd observed a minute silence.
For the second year in a row the Tweed Coast Tigers have defeated the Ballina Bombers in the Major Semi Final of the Summerland AFL League to progress directly through to the Grand Final and a chance to defend their 2010 Premiership.
In a physical encounter in the pouring rain at Tigerland, the Tigers flexed their muscle against a pumped up Bombers with a convincing 7 goal victory and have now earnt a week off, whilst Lismore and Ballina battle it out to see who will meet the Tigers at Oakes Oval on September 4.
The Bombers started the game on fire racing to a 3 goal lead in the first quarter running with the strong breeze, whilst the Tigers were sluggish to get moving in the cold , challenging conditions.
With the start of the second quarter the Tigers Twin Tower rucking combination of Brennan Lye and Nathan Wilson were starting to dominate the hit outs and led by Tigers Captain Jai Purcel and Best on Ground Jimmy Walle the clearances were coming for the Tigers who provided quality service to their star studded forward line and goals started to flow.
Ash Gemmill again led the way for the Tigers kicking 6 goals and was aptly supported by Shane Nugget with 2 goals and Lachlan Earl, Aaron Tiger, Liam Spence and young Jessie Wilmen who all found the big sticks in blustery wet conditions. By halftime the Tigers were 2 goals in front and their size and physicality was taking its toll on the Bombers.
The third quarter is called the premiership quarter for good reason, and on Saturday this is where the Tigers made their claim for the 2011 Flag, pushing into a howling wind and rain storm the yellow and black men consistently repelled the Bombers early attacking raids, and the halfback line led by Josh Edwards, Jacob Eldridge and Thor Hoopman turned defence into attack for the Tigers and contributed to some fantastic goals. Nathan Wilson returned to form after missing 2 months with a serious ankle injury and took some great grabs to contribute through the middle.
The final quarter saw the Tigers running with the wind and whilst the Bombers fought hard to the final siren they were not able to contain the Tigers multiple scoring opportunities and went down by 7 goals at full time.
With no major injuries the reigning Premiers now have 2 weeks to prepare for a second Grand Final in their brief 3 year history as a club. There will definitely be some selection headaches for Coach Shane Shallue with several players looking to return from injury for the last game of the year.
Tigers 14.14 – 98 d Ballina 7.10 -52
Ash – 6
Nugget – 2
Jessie – 1
Lachlan – 1
Aaron – 1
Liam – 1
Bones - 1
Note: This is the opinion of the author and may not be the opinion of the club and its committee.