Coming off an almighty loss to the topside last week, the Redcliffe Tigers hit the training track with a much greater level of commitment. The focus was on improving in areas found lacking and there was no time to lick their wounds as this Saturday's clash was a must-win for the club. The Tigers were to host the local derby with 'just down the road' rivals Pine Rivers. These contests are always fiercely fought out and bring larger crowds than any other week. Adding greatly to the large crowd in attendance, the Senior Social Club hosted the Past Players Day. This was an absolute success, so many past greats were on hand to support the current squad thus meaning anyone wearing the jumper would be carrying over 35 years of pride onto the field.
With such strong support the homeside got off to a flyer. The forward line re-structured itself to best suit its key targets and in no time Ricky Williams was again troubling the scorers. James Niven, who was quiet last week, was getting his hands on the ball early but it was the organised midfield of Bickerton, Kernick, Anderson and especially Kouvaras that provided the Tigers with the early ascendency. A 4 goal lead at the first break was enough to erase the previous week's football and have the black & gold's firmly focused on the next 25 minutes.
The second term saw very similar efforts from both sides as Redcliffe would dominate general play and produce a couple of shots on goal before the Swans would get an opportunity to take a shot themselves. The introduction of Brett Somers into the ruck proved too much for the visitor's bigmen to handle as he directed the football with superb tap-work. The onballers made the most of their chances with Kouvaras receiving plenty of 'birthday presents'.
By halftime the Tigers were on top, although knowing their opposition wouldn't give up and a 6 goal lead would only remain if they continued to play as they had earlier. Coming off the ground was a real boost at the main break as around 40 former team-mates, Premiership players and club legends vocalised their approval for the efforts so far. No-one got carried away as our season had provided many ups and downs to this point and we plain and simply needed a win! The third term however wasn't as productive for Redcliffe as Pine Rivers threw everything at them in order to keep themselves within striking distance in what would have been an unlikely victory. The homeside began to waver from the sort of play that held them in good stead in the first half and at times were losing momentum. The efforts of Jason 'Fuzz' Burgoyne and Aaron Richardson were vital in keeping the visitors at bay. Richo capped off his excellent performance with screamer across half back. Another great game from all of the backmen with Kunst, Jenkins, Davis and Spencer displaying well-timed spoiling skills and the front-and-square work from Damien Lee was straight from the footy-how-to handbook.
The lead had been eroded and Pine Rivers were a legitimate chance of stealing the win, however the margin of just under 4 goals was to be as close as the Swans would get. Jason Goodenough and Ricky Williams were exceptional up forward and gave the crumbing players no loose footy as they marked everything and ended up with 8 goals between them (and several behinds). Then onballers were racking up possessions at will and the backline were virtually untroubled for the remainder of the match as the Tigers found an answer to every challenge. It was a great win for a playing group that has been starting to find consistency in its list and for the coaching staff alike.
Next week Beenleigh will travel to Rothwell in what could be a big test for the locals. The Tigers suffered a 1 point loss at the Buffaloes ground in Round 2 and will be hoping to return the favour!
Thanks to all the past players for their support on Saturday and would really hope to sight a few of you guys over the next few weeks. A huge thank you to Ray White and John Haggerty for the stellar job they did assisting the fluent nature of the Past Players Day. Also congratulations to Rob Ide for being instated as Club President and to Steve Brown as Vice President. The playing group are looking forward to working with you both for the remainder of this season and hopefully many more to come.