LAST year’s Great Southern Football League grand finalists are looking like the front runners again in 2020 as Railways and Royals secured important wins over the weekend to charge ahead of the pack.
Railways moved two games clear in second place with a hard-fought 14-point win over Denmark-Walpole, while Royals remain undefeated on top of the ladder after a nine-point victory against North Albany.
At the halfway point of the season, the remaining two finals spots are still up for grabs, with Mount Barker, Denmark-Walpole and North Albany all on two wins a piece.
Albany Sharks remain rooted to the bottom of the table without a win this season.
Saturday’s clash between Railways and Denmark-Walpole was played in incredibly blustery conditions and scoring was extremely hard to come by early on.
The Magpies kicked with a strong breeze in the first term but couldn’t take advantage, with neither team able to notch up a major by quarter time.
Strangely enough the Magpies looked more potent going against the wind in the second term and booted the first two goals of the match.
An inaccurate Railway scored nine behinds before finding their radar in front of the big sticks, with small forward Jack Steele nailing a set shot midway through the second term.
At half-time scores were level, with Tigers full forward and GSFL leading goal scorer Matt Palfrey well held by Denmark-Walpole’s Coen Marwick.
While Palfrey didn’t take as many high flying marks as we’ve grown accustomed to in 2020, his forward pressure led to some crucial goals in the third term as the game opened up.
Both teams added four goals in the premiership quarter, with high-prized Denmark-Walpole recruit Ashley McGrath starting to hit the scoreboard in an ominous sign for the Tigers.
But in the end Railways were too strong around the ball when it mattered, kicking three goals in the last term to run out 8.16 (64) to 7.8 (50) winners.
Hard-nosed midfielder Jayden Scott continued his impressive run of form for the Tigers, while Shayne Zanetti was consistent all day in the ruck for the Magpies.
Sunday’s game between Royals and North Albany was another hard-fought contest, with the Lions coming from behind at quarter time to record a nine-point victory at Centennial Stadium.
North Albany made the most of their chances in the first half as Addison Dew and Talon Delacey got to work in the engine room, kicking 4.0 (24) to the Royals’ 4.6 (30).
But the Lion’s found their radar and showed their class in the third term, booting 4.1 to North Albany’s 3.3.
When the Kangas kicked the first goal of a tense final term it looked like a major upset could be on the cards, but the home side held on for a 9.12 (66) to 9.3 (57) win.
Albany Sharks showed signs of improvement in the first half of their Saturday match against Mt Barker, trailing by three goals at half-time.
However the Sharks couldn’t sustain their effort for four quarters as Mt Barker booted a whopping 11 majors in the final term to run out 92-point winners.