Ready to pounce
TIGERS are on the prowl in Pottsville but there's no reason to be alarmed - unless you come from Byron Bay.
The Tigers in question are from the Tweed Coast Australian Rules club; and tomorrow afternoon; the fledgling side takes on Summerland League premiers Bryon Bay at Pottsville Oval in their last home game of the regular season.
Making their debut this year in the Summerland League, the Tweed Coast Tigers started out as a 'mixed bag' but under coach Paul Kelly, they have been moulded into a side which can mix it with the best.
Tomorrow's game will be the ideal gauge to see just how far the side has come.
“When we first played Byron, they gave us an absolute flogging, but we have come a long way since then in both our skill, fitness and player depth and I can't wait to play them again,” Kelly said.
“That game when we did play Byron was only our third and it is far to say we are a totally different side.
“Everyone has a clear ideal of what's required on the field and we have been able to put 46 players through and give them match experience in just 10 games which has added to our depth.
“We have also gained players who have come from a Rules background which has helped us enormously.
“To think we started from scratch with a bunch of blokes from very different backgrounds and have been able to shape them into a competitive outfit that goes hard at the ball has been very gratifying.”
Kelly admitted that the Tigers weren't the youngest side in the competition but the experience of senior players coupled with the enthusiasm of younger players had helped to lift the team to a point where they were building a reputation for being a hard team to beat.
“The players have all worked hard during the season on their fitness and skills and being a side which is made up of guys from all walks of life but are all prepared to have a crack and go hard has helped make up for the lack of skills in certain areas,” Kelly said.
“Our ability to go hard at the ball has impacted on other teams and they know they are in for a tough game playing us.”
Against Byron Bay, Kelly is looking for a competitive performance from his players, acknowledging that a hard game against the competition's best is a great way to finish the season in the lead up to the finals.
“There's nothing better than to measure yourself against the best,” Kelly said.
And the success of the Tweed Coast Tigers has seen Pottsville slowly being won over by Aussie Rules.
“We have been slowly building crowds at Pottsville Oval and working at the Pottsville Tavern, I have had people who previously not been interested in AFL asking how the Tigers are going,” Kelly said.
“When you consider that we have had to put up with very basic facilities but are fortunate to have a great little ground to play on, we have come a long way.
“I hope we get a big crowd to come out on Saturday afternoon and cheer the boys home - and possibly claim the scalp of Byron Bay in the process.”
The match between Tweed Coast and Byron Bay kicks off at Pottsville Oval, Coast Road, Pottsville at 2pm.