nc tigers at atlanta kookaburras


Kookaburras Too Tough for Tigers

Atlanta avenges road loss with comeback win at home

The NC Tigers took a strong side for the trip down I-85 with high hopes of completing a rare season sweep after a huge blowout victory over the Kookaburras at home earlier in the year. Despite being low on numbers for the game, the Tigers were high on confidence having worked hard on the training track and having proved they can play winning football. The North Carolina side came out strongly, winning possession all over the field and building a healthy lead early on. However, key injuries forced Coach Wes Mac to reshuffle his troops and the Burra’s were able to turn the game around. In the end the Tigers didn’t have the legs to run out the game as strong as they needed to, as the classy Atlanta side ran out 15-point winners.

The Tigers couldn’t have hoped for a better start to the game with the Tigers’ tenacity for winning the football and the silky skills of the forwards resulting in a successful first quarter. With the backline holding steady and rebounding any Kookaburras’ attempts to feed their forwards the ball, the Tigers midfield were able to find space well and get plenty of uncontested possessions. Veteran Tiger Mark Griffin moved into the ruck and immediately took the game over as the Atlanta followers struggled to match him in the air or at ground level. This allowed the Tigers midfielders first use of the ball out of the middle, racking up center clearances and inside 50’s at will. Forwards Wes Mac and Scott Bradley made the most of the tigers’ quick delivery into the 50, proving too strong for their opponents to handle one-on-one and combining for a handful of early goals. With Drew “Red” Fogarty stifling Atlanta’s playmakers with a solid tagging job, Atlanta had no early answer to the Tigers dominance with the away side going into the first break with a handy 4-goal lead.

The 2nd quarter was a back and forth affair as both teams had their fair share of chances. Scott Bradley moved into the ruck where put on a Nic Naitanui-like play to start the quarter, winning the tap to himself before running on to finish the play off with a goal. Andrew “Taco” Wesche thrived in his new defensive role where he had the highlight reel play of the quarter, saving a goal with a brilliant sprint and slide right before a Kookaburra drop punt crossed the goal line. Shane Bradley and Pete Capozziello continued to find lots of the ball for the Tigers as the two sides traded goals before the long break.

The Atlanta side came out after halftime on a mission, racing out of the gates with a couple of quick goals in succession. With the Kookaburras starting to win the ball out of the middle, their running forwards gained confidence and began to find more space as tired legs started to slow North Carolina’s backmen. The Tiger’s lead quickly vanished and the momentum swung quickly in favor of the home side. Relentless running and tackling from Mike Hoffman kept the Tigers in the game and a terrific mark and goal from rookie RJ Turner ensured the visitors were within 3 goals entering 3-quarter time.

Short on fit players, the Tigers knew they had their backs against the wall entering the final term but came out fighting, with players all over the ground giving it all they had. Justin “Prez” Plumley continued to battle and show courage with desperate tackling and attack on the footy in the backline and the Tigers’ rotating midfield kept fighting to get their hands on the ball. Tigers captain Nick Camilleri found himself in the right place at the right time, taking a mark at the back of the pack inside the Tigers’ forward 50 and when he slotted home his 2nd of the day, the Tigers were within 2 kicks. Mike, Wes and Scott continued to lead the way for Carolina, running the game out hard, but the Tigers’ comeback attempt fell short with the visitors simply not having enough left in the tank.

Full Time:

Team Goals Behinds Total
North Carolina Tigers 12 11 83
14 14 98

Both Atlanta and North Carolina players enjoyed some refreshments after the game at The Albert where a good time was had by all.

The Tigers now look forward to their AFL Grand Final viewing party at Woody’s @ City Market in Raleigh on Friday September 26th starting at 10pm.

The next Tigers action will be on October 4th at 2pm at “The Tigerdome” 550 Thompson Rd., Garner, NC

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