Royals show spirit, Tigers dominate

By Michael Roberts | posted on February 18, 2021

YOU got the sense Royals were playing for more than just premiership points on Friday night.

Rocked by the shock news Abby Duncan would immediately retire from football after suffering a serious head  injury the week prior, the Lions looked hellbent on getting the win for their much-loved teammate.

Royals’ defensive pressure was off the charts as soon as the ball was bounced, outworking and outhunting Albany Sharks around the expansive spaces of Centennial Stadium.

Sharks were kept scoreless for the entire first half as Royals dominated the contested ball to take a 15-point lead at the main break.

And it was a similar story in the third quarter with the Lions locking the footy in their front half to create opportunity after opportunity.

Gracie Gibson extended the margin to a game-high 24-points when she marked inside 50 and nailed the set shot.

Sharks had no answers for the likes of Nardia Humphries, Henrietta Lilford  and Nicola Thomas.

The home team showed some fight later on in the third quarter but couldn’t convert  their  forward-50 chances into scores and went into the final break without a single point.

Down but not out, Albany got the all-important centre clearance to start the first quarter.

Jessikah Woods gathered a bubbling ball about 35m out,  took a few steps and roosted one through the big sticks to bring Sharks – and the game – to life.

Albany suddenly had all the energy and intensity as Royals were gasping for air in warm twilight conditions.

Britanny Ward could have reduced the margin to just 12 points, but hit the post as Lions fans breathed a collective sigh of relief.

With the minutes ticking down, Royals held on for a deserved 18-point win as Duncan cheered on her teammates from the bench.

The 3.7(25) to 1.1(7) victory propelled the Lions to second on the ladder, while Sharks slipped to third.

In the second match of a double header at Centennial, Railways kept their un-beaten streak going with a commanding 35-point win over Mt Barker.

A good-old fashioned shellacking, the Bulls were never in the contest as they failed to register a single goal for the entire match.

The scoreline could have looked even uglier if Railways had been on target, finishing the game with four goals and 13 behinds.

In a four-quarter performance, Railways scored a major in every term while denying almost every one of  Barker’s  forward entries.

After three rounds of the GSFLW, Railways sit pretty on top of the ladder with a remarkable percentage of 754.55.

Just a few hundred metres away on Oval  T,  North Albany secured their first win of the year with a determined 12-point  victory  over  Denmark-Walpole.

Nicola Boland and Mikayla Archbold were on target for the Kangaroos, while Emma Henderson was the only goalkicker for Denmark.