Tigers roar into premiership reckoning
Queanbeyan's Toby Conroy and Eastlake's Sam Mardling get up close and personal yesterday. Photo: Melissa Adams
Queanbeyan stamped itself as an early premiership contender after an impressive six-goal win over Eastlake at Margaret Donoghoe Oval yesterday.
The 19.7 (121) to 13.7 (85) victory kept the unbeaten Tigers on top of the NEAFL eastern conference ladder.
Queanbeyan's Will Griggs and Eastlake's Sam Smith vie for possession. Photo: Melissa Adams
Queanbeyan coach Kade Klemke has assembled a team with a potent forward line - led by Ben Klemke (five goals) and James Kavanagh (two) - a hard-running midfield and a solid defence.
Neil Irwin dominated in the ruck for the Tigers, while classy onballer Kaine Stevens has taken his game to another level.
Klemke said he was happy with his side's efforts, albeit against an injury-depleted Demons.
Queanbeyan's Josh Bryce tries to wrap up Eastlake's Aaron Bruce. Photo: Melissa Adams
Eastlake lost ruckman Chad Gibson (hamstring) in the first quarter and then back-up ruck Stafford Cooper (shoulder) in the last.
It was also missing gun midfielders Mark Kimball and Ryan Brabazon.
''It is early in the season and Eastlake had a few out … they've got some pretty good players that didn't play today, so I think they're going to improve,'' Kade Klemke said.
''We've still got Ainslie to play, we've still got the Sydney Swans to play.
''We can't really say too much until we get close to finals.''
Anthony Bourke said the loss of Gibson wasn't the main reason he tasted his first defeat as Demons coach, it was because they couldn't win the contested ball.
''We did a bit of work during the week about being harder into the stoppage and their little blokes in-and-under were just clean, they stuck their tackles and that was where the game was won and lost,'' Bourke said.
''At the end of the day it was six goals but it felt like a hell of a lot more because they just won the contested footy.''
Jarrod Atkinson, who played with Klemke at Essendon, showed his devastating pace to chase down Peter McGrath on the wing.
The Tigers were able to play on quickly from the resulting free kick and Atkinson found himself running into an open goal for a great major in the third quarter.
It exemplified Queanbeyan's ability to shut down its opponents and convert its chances into scoreboard pressure, something they lacked last season.
QUEANBEYAN 6.5 8.5 17.5 19.7 (121) bt EASTLAKE 2.1 7.3 10.5 13.7 (85)