NC Tigers at Philadelphia

hawks

Tigers Fall Just Short in Valiant Road Performance

Hawks hold on for nail-biting 7-point win

The NC Tigers sent a strong squad up to the city of brotherly love, determined to bring home a road victory. The city of Philadelphia turned on a hot sunny day for the clash between the Hawks and the Tigers and it was a great day of footy. The contest remained a close out throughout, with the result remaining in doubt until the final siren as players from both sides left it all out on the ground. The Tigers’ side was short on numbers resulting in a long, hot day for the players with very little rest. This didn’t deter the North Carolina side who put on a gutsy display of hard-running, team football to nearly pull of a stunning upset against a strong rival.

The game started quickly with both sides setting a frantic pace of end to end footy in the early stages. Hard running from Steffy and first-gamer Mike ensured the Tigers had more of the early scoring chances. However, the Tigers weren’t able to capitalize as the behinds continued to stack up, allowing the Hawks to take the lead when they finally put their first goal on the board. The goal seemed to take the wind out of some of the Tigers as the hawks gained momentum in the final few minutes of the first quarter.

By the early stages of the 2nd quarter, the Hawks had extended their lead to 4 goals and it could have been more if not for a number of brilliant spoils from Will Harvey at fullback. Time after time the Hawks sent the ball long into the forward line and Will dealt confidently with each one, never allowing his direct opponent a marking opportunity.

Midway through the 2nd quarter the Tigers began to use the ball more efficiently, take advantage of the wide wings available on the Hawks’ new home field. Good kicking and hard leads resulted in a number of uncontested marks for the Tigers, an area they’ve traditionally struggled to excel.

The increased possession resulted in more opportunities for the Tiger forwards and Scott Bradley was able to get the side going by converting the Tiger’s first two goals of the day in quick succession. Just as they seemed to all day, the hawks answered back with a couple of quick goals of their own before the long break and with tired legs all over the ground, both sides were happy to hear the half time siren.

Half Time:

Team Goals Behinds Total
North Carolina Tigers 2 6 18
Philadelphia Hawks 6 4 40

During the half time break, coach Wes Mac urged his tired players to dig deep and keep fighting in what had been a a tight contested footy game so far. He also showed his genius in moving the Tigers’ best forward target and only goal-scorer so far from center half forward, to center half back. The brave move paid dividends immediately in the 3rd quarter as the forward turned defender joined forces with Will Harvey and the rest of the resilient Tiger backline, trampolining any Hawk attacks immediately back into the midfield. The results showed on the scoreboard too as Tigers managed to keep the home side scoreless for the entire 3rd quarter. Meanwhile at the other end of the field, The Tigers continued to apply pressure with Matt Sherman slotting a goal on the run. When Hawk-turned Tiger for the day Dan quickly followed suit for the Tigers’ second of the quarter, North Carolina found themselves within 2 goals of the lead. Some strong running and gutsy hard-ball gets from Wes, Pete, Shane, and Mike had all the momentum heading in the Tigers direction at the 3/4 time break.

With only 8 points separating the sides heading into the final term, the game was well and truly up for grabs. Mike showed why he has a bright future ahead of him with the Tigers as he continued to provide run and win contests down the wing. With Andrew “Taco” Wesche winning a lot of the footy and the experienced heads of Harper and Zims both taking courageous marks along the half forward line, the Tigers were provided with a number of forward line opportunities early in the 4th. however, the flooding Hawks defense was holding strong, never allowing an easy scoring attempt. When the Hawks kicked a goal from a free kick, it appeared they may have broken the game open, until the Tigers quickly hit back when Nick Camilleri bent a checkside banana kick through from the boundary to bring it back to a 7-point game. Justin Plumley continued to battle hard despite carrying an injury into the game and helped win the ball out of the midfield for the Tigers for one last forward chance, but time ran out for surging Tigers and the final siren sounded to end game.

Full Time:

Team Goals Behinds Total
North Carolina Tigers 6 11 47
Philadelphia Hawks 8 6 54

A big Tiger thank-you is owed to PJ, Dan, Alex, Brian and all the Philadelphia players who played extremely well as honorary Tigers for the day. Your contributions were very much appreciated. Despite the loss, a huge congratulations are in order for all Tigers players who made the trip, with every single player contributing mightily in the tough, gritty Tiger performance. The Hawks and Tigers enjoyed a great social event in downtown Philadelphia after the match where the Tigers were able to gain a little revenge by winning the traditional “boat race”.

The Tigers will return to the training track after the 4th of July holiday to continue building on their form and to start their preparation for the second half of the season.

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