TIGERS CREATE HISTORY IN STUNNING DISPLAY

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A Section flags are often won by highly-skilled, pacy, road-running sides that play on at all costs and use the space of the ‘Wick to their advantage. But today’s premiers are cut from a different cloth. They played hard, contested football, hunted in packs and backed themselves in the one-on-one contests. You couldn’t help but notice that they had the physical edge on their opponents.
Today was an absolute rotter weather-wise. If you were slight of frame, you were half a chance to be blown away down the Nepean Highway, Mary Poppins style. But it didn’t bother the Tigers one bit. They played textbook Elsternwick Park footy and didn’t get bogged down in the dead pockets. Conversely, Collegians had all sorts of trouble clearing the ball from their backline and seemed bamboozled by the howling gale.
Jock Nelson, after whom the A Section medal is named, handed over the medal to a player who very much plays the way he used to back in the 50s and 60s (well, apparently). Skipper Luke Wintle controlled the aerial contests, took a stack of contested marks and provided fine leadership all day.
Another veteran, Michael Hazel (who has an odd trio of clubs on his resume, having played at Salesian, Old Melburnians and now the Tigers) stepped up again when the heat was on and was particularly dangerous at the stoppages. Sam Anstey was as classy as ever while Daniel Poynton blanketed Fergus Watts out of proceedings. Everywhere you looked, there were good Tigers players, with Michael Wintle, Paul Wintle, Brett Collins and Paul Groves worthy of a special mention.
Collegians will be bitterly disappointed with their game today. Like the Bulldogs on Friday night, they simply didn’t take their chances. Onballers Chris Blumfield and Nick Ries fought hard all day and Charlie Holst stood out down back but several big names didn’t fire a shot.
More than anything, they will be ruing their third term, when they had all the play but kicked 2.12. Their inability to score a goal in the first term with a strong breeze at their backs was also decisive.
But all credit to the Tigers. Looking at today, it’s impossible to envisage an A Section competition where they won’t be right in the thick of things for years to come.