Eden Tigers Brand Sun

Tigers Win 2011 Grand Final
Eden 18 Bega 4

September 11th 2011 by Dave Evelyn

The mighty Eden Tigers have won the 2011 Group 16 Rugby League Premiership after a gutsy hard fought win over the Bega Roosters in last Sunday's Grand Final in Bega. Followers of the game often talk about "Grand Final football" and that is exactly what an enthralled crowd were privileged to witness. Eden began the match nervously, spilling the ball on their first possession and then conceding three quick penalties, but the Eden defence was inpenetrable. When the Tigers did get possession they in turn were swamped by heavy defence from the Roosters. As the game settled both sides began to complete and get to their kicks. Tigers fullback Todd Bolton showed his undoubted class in this aspect of the game, proving rock solid at the back all through the match. The sides were both struggling to make ground, in attack, which was not helped by what appeared to be a very skinny 10 metres between the sides, particularly when the Tigers were in possession.

The deadlock was nearly broken when Eden spilled the ball over the Bega line, but there was no problem shortly after when Eden's Ian Smith burst over, and the Todd Bolton conversion gave Eden a 6-0 lead after about 15 minutes.

From the restart the arm wrestle continued, with both packs of forwards ripping in to each other like there was no tomorrow. Lynch, Michelin, Baker and Crosby were prominent for the Tigers, while for Bega Burton, Pierce and Tamatea were driving forward and inspiring their team mates. Eden's Mick Wykes was also revelling in the tough stuff, pulling off several great tackles and ripping into the defence with little regard for personal preservation. Leigh Hennessy was as usual providing steely resolve to the defence in close to the ruck.

The play fluctuated from end to end in an absorbing struggle, and as the sides inevitably tired the kicking game became tactically vital. Both sides were completing their sets and looking for territorial advantage. Bega got a sniff of a chance late in the half when they received a penalty, and this gave them the opportunity to score their first try, which unconverted left the score at Eden 6 Bega 4. The score remained the same up until half time and a gripping second half beckoned.

The second half began exactly as the first half had been played, with torrid forward exchanges par for the course. Both sides received early penalties, but the defence of both sides was fierce. Billy Michelin got the Eden crowd roaring with several big surges up the middle and Neil Baker was inspirational in attack and defence, but neither side could break through for what was going to be the vital next try. The half wore on, the teams continued tearing into each other, but still no score.

Then, with 12 minutes remaining the Tigers mounted yet another attack after a Roosters handling error. Leigh Hennessy burst downfield after Eden had received a rare penalty and from the ensuing play Ian Smith crashed over in front of the rapturous Eden supporters to score what appeared to be the winning try, with Bolton's conversion putting the Tigers in the lead 12-4.

From the restart Eden received another penalty as the Bega defence began to tire. Mick Wykes capped off a great match by scoring in the closing minutes to seal a memorable 18-4 grand final win for the Eden Tigers.

It would be unfair to single out any players in what was an outstanding effort from the Eden side. Celebrations ran long into the night ( and the next day) as players and supporters relived a fantastic game. The Tigers have etched themselves into history as the most successful club in Group 16 history with a magnificent record winning five of the last six Grand Finals. This win was significant in that it in all liklihood signals the end of an epoch with several great (and I don't use that term lightly.....) Eden players expected to retire. The exploits of the likes of Baker, Stewart, Jackson and Griffin et al will be part of Tigers folklore for years to come. Lest we forget.

Congratulations to all players, coaches , committee people.......... and most of all to our marvellous supporters - the best in the league.

That's it for the footy season- time to bring on the cricket!!!!


A Hull of a Bunch of Lads.

Footnote from the webtiger. Congratutalions Tigger on yet another fantastic year of write ups.