Labrador confirmed they are the real deal in 2010 by resisting everything a desperate Redland could throw at them today.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Labrador confirmed they are the real deal in 2010 by resisting everything a desperate Redland could throw at them in an entertaining Round 11 clash at Victoria Point today.
The Tigers showed no sign of a letdown after their euphoric win over bogey team Morningside last week, registering a strong 19.12 (126) to 16.9 (105) victory.
“It was a good result, we’re really happy with the result,” said Tigers coach Jarrod Field. “It was a real danger game.”
Not only were the Tigers in danger of an emotional let-down, but they were missing key players Todd Grayson, Aaron Shattock, Peter Everitt and Luke Licht from last week’s side.
Yet they hit the ground running, setting up a six-goal opening term.
Tim Notting, Russell Alleway and Trent Knobel provided strong marking targets and Emmaus Wartova and Jason Howard were dangerous at ground level.
The Tigers midfield was sharper early through Shane Paterson and Tony Lester and they opened a 17-point lead midway through the term before two goals in a minute got the Bombers back into the contest.
As would prove to be typical of the day, just when Bomber hopes were up, Jack Stanley unloaded a 65m bomb as the siren sounded to give his side an 11-point advantage.
Typical of the hard-running, free-flowing nature of the game, both sides booted two goals in a minute within the opening six minutes of the term, before Labrador took control.
Paterson, Howard and Mark Vigus dominated the clearances and Howard dominated the last 10 minutes of the quarter with two quality goals from the boundary.
The result was a 37-point halftime lead that twice was extended to 44 points during the third term and remained at that at the last change.
Each time the Bombers appeared to be on their knees, they hit back.
It was not as if they were playing badly, it was just that each time they elevated their game, Labrador found another level themselves.
Howard conjured two more breathtaking goals in the third term – one long range from the boundary and one amazing snap – to break the Bombers hearts.
The visitors had four chances in the opening five minutes of the final term but squandered their shots at goal, and Redland then booted two goals in a minute to get some momentum.
With Scott Clouston working tirelessly at centre-half-forward as he had done for much of the day, Phil Carse setting up wave of attacks from half-back and through the middle, and Blake Passfield coming into the game strongly, the Bombers found plenty of urgency.
Josh Norman also won plenty of ball and when the red-and-blacks booted another three goals in four minutes from the 16 to 20-minute mark, the margin had been reduced to 16 points.
The home crowd, silent for most of the day, were in full voice and the Bombers kept pressing.
However, Labrador never lost their composure and a concerted build-up from deep in defence eventually saw Emmaus Wartova mark strongly just 20m from goal.
The young Papua New Guinean, who impressed enormously with his willingness to tackle, smother and constantly harass the Bombers defence all day, calmly slotted the goal and the game was over.
“Emmaus was under a n injury cloud all week and didn’t train – we took a bit of a risk with him because of who we had out,” Field said. “He’s a ripper. His pressure is great.”
Despite having kicked 18.7 to three-quarter-time, Field still wasn’t happy with some aspects of the Tigers’ game.
“Our delivery in the second half wasn’t great going forward – we lacked a bit of penetration and tried to kick to the ‘smalls’ too much,” he said. “We’ve got Alleway and Notting and Knobel in there, we’ve just got to kick it to the big blokes a bit more.
Our first half we were a lot cleaner and converted better. In the last quarter we started to get a bit fancy and handballs missed targets and started missing goals we kicked earlier in the game.
“We kept them in it because we didn’t finish them off in the first few minutes, but to their credit, they didn’t lie down.”
Redland coach Matty Francis was proud of his side’s spirit, despite dropping a game they desperately needed to win to improve their finals prospects.
“We kept coming back. One thing I can’t question the boys on is their fighting spirit, their love of their battle, and their character. We’ll never finish second in those stakes,” Francis said.
The clear difference between the sides through the early part of the game was Labrador’s ability to hit leading targets in the forward line with their foot passing, while Redland either bombed it long to a nest of opposition numbers or simply missed their man.
 “That delivery, that last kick into our forward 50 is what we need to continue to work on and we addressed that after the game,” Francis said. “The good thing is that there are other aspects of our game that are coming together quite nicely.
“We’re just not playing well enough at a high enough level for long enough.”
Labrador were well served by veteran Nathan Gurcuillo who was superb in defence in his 149th game, while Mat Clarke engaged in an entertaining duel with Adam Meuller with each doing plenty of good things for their respective sides. 

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