Tigers earn their stripes
IS it a case of “dare to dream” for the Tweed Coast Tigers?
The fledgling Australian Rules club showed its credentials as a possible grand finalist in the Summerland League Aussie Rules competition by thumping premiers Byron Bay at Pottsville Oval on Saturday.
In front of a big home crowd, the Tigers handed Byron its worst defeat of the season, running out victors 22.14.146 to 14.3.83.
The win was a huge boost for the club and has given the Tigers a sense of self-belief, something that coach Paul Kelly is excited about.
“It was a great day on Saturday - a great crowd, great conditions and a good build-up before the game by the players,” Kelly said.
“When you consider they gave us a flogging the first time we played, this result was extremely satisfying.
“Our boys believed in themselves and played a strong, tough game against the best in the comp.
“I thought Byron may have taken us too lightly and we made them pay.
“We were hard to the ball and beating them to it, and I don't think they liked it at all.
“We got off to a great start, kicking six goals to three in the first quarter, and we were able to keep that going.”
In fact the Tigers kicked 18 goals in the first three quarters and never let their opponents into the match.
It's quite an accomplishment for a side made up of only a handful of experienced Australian Rules players, a few players from rugby backgrounds and even a couple of players who had never played football before.
Kelly has moulded the Tigers into a side that has now beaten every team in the competition.
“I just told the boys 'we've won this quarter, let's focus on the next' at each break and we were able to keep our intensity up and just nullified their game,” Kelly said.
“Byron is a side that isn't used to losing, so it was a great result for plenty of hard work by our players.
“There were no passengers in our side on the day, everyone contributed and it has us in a good position coming into the finals.”
The Tigers have a bye in the last round before finding out who they will face in the first semi-final.
Kelly fully expects Byron Bay to be in the grand final and is looking forward to meeting them again.
“The break will help us with players getting over some niggling injuries and allow some who weren't available to come into contention,” Kelly said.
“We will just have to wait and see who we face first up, but I think this is a side capable of going all the way to the grand final.”
There are plenty on the Tweed Coast who would agree.