Gallant Tigers fall in the final quarter

By Steve Kreemers

Grafton Tigers AFL Club

THE Crown Hotel Grafton Tigers AFL Club were on the road again on Saturday travelling to Fitzroy Oval to take on the South Coffs Swans in the ninth round of the 2006 NCAFL competition.

The Tigers started strongly in the first term and thanks to the forward line possession provided by Bryce Kurtzman, Scott Onus and Neil Gorring created as many scoring opportunities as their more fancied Swans opponents.

Kicking accuracy was the only difference between the teams at quarter time with the Tigers trailing by 22 points, 1.4.10 to 5.2.32.

In the second term the Tigers improved their kicking accuracy and majors to Rick Leeson and Mark Blundell were the reward, however, the Swans were able to slightly increase their lead despite the efforts of young Kelly Thompson and Ryan Sheather in the back line, who were repelling many of the Swans attacks.

The third term saw the Swans increase their intensity and the Tigers, who had several players backing up from the Under-18s and reserves, began to tire.

Reggies regular Luke Chard, who had replaced big Carl Boehme after he left the field with a serious ankle injury, was a highlight for the Tigers as he bumped and crashed his way to two majors for the term.

Unfortunately the weary Tigers were unable to contain the Swans in the final term as they piled on 10 goals, leading to a final score line of 22.15.147 to 5.8.38 with the 109 point defeat not really reflecting how competitive the Tigers had been on the day.

Goal scorers for the Tigers were Chard with two and one each to Shawn Purton, Mark Blundell and Rick Leeson.

Bryce Kurtzman will dine in style at the Riverside Brassiere after receiving the Crown Hotel Dinner, Kelly Thompson picked up the club award, the Corkers Liquor award went to Neil Gorring and Paul Raithby picked up the Splinters Hair award.

nTHE Text Express seconds, with the return of some players from injury and retirement, were quietly confident before the clash with the second placed Swans outfit.

The Tigers startled the complacent Swans in the first term with Warren 'Bags' Bagnall and Allan Carnley reading the ruck contests to perfection and driving the ball into the forward line, where an eager Shawn Purton, who was warming up for the seniors after missing last week, converted possession into points scoring three majors for the term seeing the Tigers leading at the first break 3.2 20 to 1.0.6.

The Swans were stung into action in the second term after a quarter-time spray from their coach and caught the Tigers napping to score three quick goals and snatch the lead by four points.

At this point former coach Leeth Bassett took it upon himself to leave the comfort of the forward line and drift across half back as a loose man which gave Eddie Gordon, Yowie Youman and Stimpy Schaffer much need support in defence.

Young Luke Hayman scored late in the term giving the Tigers a two-point lead at half time 4.2.26 to 4.0.24.

Luke Chard and Blair Littlechild were tireless at the ball in the third term and their teamwork resulted in two majors for the Tigers while the Swans could only manage one, giving Grafton a six point lead at the last break 6.3.39 to 5.3.33.

The Tigers' back line was impenetrable in the last term and with Bassett continuing to be a pest to the opposition were able to keep the Swans scoreless whilst Rod 'Rocket' Sheather and Luke Hayman added majors giving a jubilant Tigers victory by 20 points 8.5.53 to 5.3.33.

Goal kickers were Luke Hayman 3, Shawn Purton 3 and one each to Blair Littlechild and Rod Sheather.

Warren Bags Bagnall won the Guardian Southside Chemist best on ground award, the Troy Carter Plumbing award went to Chris Stimpy Scheaffer and slow old Steve Kreemers won the Trevor Ross award.

The ACE Glass & Glaze award will be held over until Big Carl Boehme is back on his feet.

nThe Eyecare Plus Under-18s began slowly allowing the Swans to jump out to an early lead that in the end was quite costly.

From mid-way through the second quarter the team displayed terrific teamwork and skills and narrow the Swans lead.

Eli Edwards, Flynn Macallister and Josh Carnley had great games as the Tigers outscored the swans in the last half but were unable to overhaul the early Swans Lead and went down by 11 points 5.9.39 to 7.8.50.

Hopeful the boys can repeat their form in the second half at home this week and grab a win against North Coffs.

Goal scorers for the Tigers were Josh Sheather 2, Kelly Thomson, Aaron Hamilton and Dominic Duggan one each.

Josh Carnley picked up the Naeco Blue award, Aaron Hamilton won the Video Ezy award and Flynn Macallister won the Splinters Hair Studio award.

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