“Ugly” Tigers roar in Good Friday thriller

Written by Anthony Osborn

Tigers have put their names back on the Southern Cross Tasmanian State League’s winners list, running out four point victors over the Hobart City Demons in a nail-biting Good Friday clash at the Twin Ovals.

In front of a packed crowd, the Tigers were the more efficient team on the day, making the most of fewer inside 50’s and goal scoring opportunities to run out 10.7 (67) to 8.15 (63) winners in a tough, bruising contest.

The windy conditions of the Twin Ovals ensured that this was a tight, contested match, with both sides finding it difficult to dispose of the ball effectively forward of centre.

The Demons, with the wind in the first term, failed to capitalise on the scoreboard, as they went into the first break trailing 1.5 (11) to the Tigers’ 3.0 (18).

This early inefficiency proved costly for the visitors and left Hobart City assistant coach Richard Robinson rueing missed opportunities.

“(Tigers) scored three goals in the first quarter against the wind, and at the end of the day that was probably why they had enough on the board to win. We just didn’t make enough of it in the first quarter.”

Tigers coach Aaron Vince was pleased with how his side were able to make the most of their early opportunities.

“Hobart City definitely controlled the early part of the game. We had some good passages that allowed us to score some goals. Our forward line was open and our backline was solid enough to move the ball back through.”

The second term was a frustrating affair for both sides as they struggled to create genuine chances inside the forward 50, with only two goals being scored.

The contest opened up in the third term, however, with the lead changing and goals to both sides making for a highly entertaining contest.

Hobart City jumped out of the blocks to jumpstart the second half, kicking two goals in the space of two minutes before Brendon Batchelor was able to steady the ship for the Tigers, kicking two crucial goals in the premiership quarter.

This more free-flowing nature was also translated into the final term, with both sides scoring three goals apiece to leave the entire crowd on the edge of their seats, and more than likely without any fingernails when the final siren went. The Demons fired early in the last and shot out to what looked likely to be a match-winning lead with Jesse Maple finishing off but the hosts responded with two goals in quick succession including a tremendous finish from the pocket from Chris Nield, who booted two for the game. The Tigers then held on despite Hobart City coming home with a wet sail in the dying embers of the match, with the Demons on the edge of the 50 when the siren sounded.

The defensive work of Mitch Carter and co. inside Tigers’ defensive 50 was an instrumental part of the victory, with the Demons side dominating inside 50’s and much of the general play.

Carter further solidified his reputation as a gun of the competition, marshalling the Tigers backline that was constantly being tested by the Demons.

“I have been really impressed by our back six. Carter showed his class and ability to read the ball and his use of the footy is really impressive,” Vince said.

After a bruising encounter in the mud against Clarence last Sunday, Vince was impressed by how his side were able to handle the five-day turnaround and bounce back from a disappointing loss to the ‘Roos, believing that this performance was indicative of just how much his young side has matured.

“It was probably an ugly way to win, but they’re the kinds of games we would lose in previous years. The boys were headed, but showed resilience. We asked a lot of some of the guys today and they were able to get on top.”

Lachie Watt was impressive in his performance on the in-form Will Campbell, and Brendon Batchelor’s two goals in the third term kept the Tigers in the match.

After successive matches against last year’s grand finalists, to open their 2017 campaign, the Demons now find themselves with a 0-3 win-loss record and will rue missing out on a victory today, particularly after having twelve more inside 50’s than the Tigers.

Despite being winless to start the year, the Demons have showed plenty of promise, with Robinson emphasising that the team is on the right track.

“We have a really young group and need to stick together and work hard at training. Hopefully next week we can get the results on the scoreboard.”

Young Nicholas Baker was impressive for the Demons, with Robinson believing he further proved why he should be in the mix for a Mariners call-up in the coming weeks.

“It’s evident he is a young guy with a heap of talent. I hope he gets picked for the Mariners next week.”

Ryan Mathews also impressed in the Demons’ loss, while Josh Williamson and Sean Willis kicked two goals apiece in promising displays.

The Tigers will have a difficult task next week, facing the reigning premiers Glenorchy for a blockbuster ANZAC Day match at KGV, while the Demons will look to get their season up and running as they play host to the Burnie Dockers at Queensborough.

TIGERS v. HOBART CITY DEMONS
Round 3 – 14/04/2017

Tigers                                  3.0,  4.5,  7.7,  10.7  (67)

Hobart City Demons                      1.5,  2.9,  5.13,  8.15  (63)

GOALS, Tigers :
C. Nield 2, B. Batchelor 2, B. Livingston 1, B. Rees 1, J. Pearce 1, T. Hughes 1,
M. Walker 1, J. Lister 1

Hobart City Demons :
J. Williamson 2, S. Willis 2, J. Maple 1, R. Cowie 1, C. Dell 1, C. Kilpatrick 1

BEST, Tigers :
M. Carter, L. Watt, J. Bilson, J. Lister, T. Carter, M. Davies

Hobart City Demons :
R. Matthews, N. Baker, K. Richter, R. Cowie, H. Thompson, C. White