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The Tweed Coast Tigers faced their first real challenge of the season on Saturday when they took on the Byron Magpies in a top of the table clash at Tigerland Pottsville.
The Magpies are currently rebuilding and turned up ready play on Saturday whilst the Tigers were lackluster at best in the early terms to be in the unfamiliar position of trailing the pies by 3 goals at ¼ time. The Magpies took advantage of the strong southerly breeze and could off nearly put the Tigers away if they’d kicked truly missing a big opportunity to finish the quarter Byron 5.4 – 34 to Tigers 3.1 – 19. Quality running and delivery from the middle saw the Pies all over the Tigers who were missing their normal intensity and rhythm. It was only a classy performance from Ash up front to kick 3 goals straight and some strong scrambling defence from the backline that forced some inaccuracy from the Pies forwards that kept the Tigers in touch at the first break.
Whilst the Tigers are still missing several key forwards, the return of giant ruckman Strope, who was injected into the game midway through the second term saw a big change on clearance from the middle. The bigman dominated every ruck he contested and the onballers including Johnno, Ash, Jai, Jimmy, Westy and Herc started to get their hands on the ball and deliver opportunities to the forwards. Attitude is a big part of success and the Tigers seemed to change gear midway through the second term clawing their way back into the game with some hard football. New comer Anthony Mercuriai was close to best on ground, off the half forward line providing a strong marking presence and taking his chances to snap cleanly at goal and bag himself 5 for the day. At half time Tigers were back in it with scores nearly level at Tigers 8.5 – 53 to Byron 8.4 – 52.
They say that the third quarter is the premiership quarter and this was never truer than on Saturday when running into the breeze the Tigers dominated the magpies across the park to break free and build a winning margin by three quarter time. It was the Tigers backline that made the big difference rebounding the Magpies attacking raids with some quality marking by Arty and strong running by Josh Edwards. Big John produced another great game up front defying his age and the much younger Byron defenders to take big grabs and bag 3 goals.
By the final quarter the Tigers engine room had found their form and were consistently winning the ball out of the middle as Ash and Jimmy starred again for the Tigers and with the return of Jai, Johnno and big Strope, had too much intensity for the Byron side.
Credit must go to Byron who are in a rebuilding phase as a club and on current form will definitely feature in September if they continue to improve.
Whilst the Tigers were rattled early by Byron’s enthusiasm it was a credit to all the Tigers players who showed why they are the reigning Premiers to come from behind and keep their unbeaten winning streak to 22 games in the Summerland League home and away season. Whilst it is only early in the season the Tigers are now clear on top of the Table and look forward to taking on Ballina @ Tigerland Pottsville on Saturday 30th April after a weeks break for Easter.
Tigers 18.10 – 118 d Byron 11.7 – 73
Players Player Award – Ash Gemmill
Tiger’s Goal Kickers:
Ash Gemmill – 7
Anthony Mecuriai – 5
Big John – 3
Jimmy Walle - 2
Paul Peterson – 1
Adam Penfold – 1
Go the Tigers!
Please Note: This is the opinion of the author and may not represent the opinion of the club or its committee.