A week is a long time in football. Last week a severely depleted Redcliffe Tigers were soundly beaten by ladder leaders Robina. This week they were up against Kedron who were quite confident and occupying second spot on the ladder. Traditionally these two sides provide exciting and hard-fought contests with Saturday’s clash no exception. With important Tiger players Ben Foley, Tim Backhouse, Laurie Morrow, James Niven and big Steve Hill returning, and a fired up warm-up, the game was already in Redcliffe’s sights. The first quarter started with Kedron announcing their presence by putting two goals on the board before the home-side awoke, and dominated the rest of the term. The Tigers developed some previously missing confidence and booted six goals through Brad Laycock, Foley and Shane Ward. The key defenders of Rhodes, Davis and Backhouse had their hands full early with some tall Lion’s forwards and a strong breeze, but once they adjusted they were outstanding in helping Redcliffe to a very handy four goal lead at the first break.
The second stanza required a much more controlled effort as the Tigers were now to work against the strong breeze. Coach Heath instructed his side to take more time with the football and have more control with possession. Whilst Kedron battled to create any flowing football, the Tigers were combining well with midfielders Jenkins and Chapman providing tremendous drive and supply to the forward line. Ruckman Jason Goodenough was covering plenty of territory, dominating the hit-outs as well as some great marking around the ground. Captain Josh Bond again started to use his body as a weapon, crashing through pack after pack with Rick Milligan and James Niven devastating at ground level. At halftime the home-side had the lead, but no-one was celebrating yet.
The third quarter couldn’t come quick enough for the Tigers who were now looking to put the visitors away. Some frustrated players from both sides began giving the umpires’ whistles a work-out, with heavy knocks to Jenkins and Backhouse and Scott Davis leaving the ground with a suspected broken hand. The tigers were starting to get a little greedy with the ball and didn’t make enough of the breeze in this term, but the smaller backmen Damian Lee, Gary Spencer and Michael Alkin were now controlling their opponents and becoming dangerous themselves. Mark Fitzpatrick was repelling every Kedron attack whilst providing plenty of run, his only lowlight for the day will be dropping his attempt at mark of the year!
The last quarter was a chance for the Tigers to provide their coach with what he has wanted even more than victory, a full four quarter effort. The visitors were desperate to win to remain second in the completion but the manner in which Redcliffe controlled the football, starving their opponents of opportunity, made this their most impressive quarter for the season. Young Tiger Nathan Bell showed what he is capable of with a huge mark in the goal square and slotting two majors along with Laycock, Foley and Ward. Although the Lions had the wind at their backs in the final term, the ball spent most of the quarter in the Tigers’ control and the effort showed by every player was exactly what is to be expected for the rest of the season. The victory has now firmed Redcliffe’s chances of making the finals with each game vitally important.