Before the season began, Kade Klemke set his Queanbeyan Tigers side the goal of a top-three finish in the AFL Canberra First Grade competition.
With the Tigers well on track to achieve their goal, let’s rewind and have a look at what we’ve learnt from Queanbeyan’s season so far ahead of the final stages of the regular season.
Queanbeyan’s depth is frightening
After announcing a loss of up to 40 players from their 2014 lists, the Tigers were forced to call upon names featured in their 2014 Rising Stars premiership win in a bid to shore up their playing stocks.
Prior to the season’s opening bounce, Klemke acknowledged that his side would be going through a rebuilding process following the mass exodus of senior players.
“We understand that we’ve got a lot of young guys that we need to develop, and they’re going to get their opportunity this year to play a lot of senior footy, and that’s exciting.
We want to be competitive, and I think we’ll have the side to do that and really push for a top three spot.”
After eleven rounds, the Tigers sit in third place, with seven wins and four losses. It is evidence that the club’s young guns have stepped up in search of premiership glory.
Young gun Matt Grocott has enjoyed a standout year being named in the side’s Best on Ground a staggering seven times.
If that isn’t proof enough, the Tigers are poised for finals appearances across all three grades. It suggests that the Tigers could be a powerhouse in years to come.
Kade Klemke is one of Canberra’s best
An AFL Canberra representative, Klemke has been judged as one of the Tigers’ best afield eight times in just ten games.
Labelled by representative coach Brendan Read as the best player in the competition, Klemke’s form in 2015 has shown why he is one of the best players Canberra has seen in recent memory.
The Tigers playing coach has made a habit out of dismantling the opposition all over the park on his way to nearly reserving a place in AFL Canberra’s Team of the Week, nailing ten goals in the process.
Tigers roar at home
The Tigers have been able to consistently find another level on their own turf at Allinsure Park, an alarming statistic for opposition sides, with the Tigers playing their final four games at home.
Queanbeyan’s percentage at home is 172.4%, an increase on their percentage in games played away from home, which stands at 99.8%.
In the final six rounds, the Tigers have four home games and two byes. It is a favourable draw which, form permitting, could see the side claw their way in to an all-important major semi-final come September.
The ladder leaders are a step ahead
The Tigers have beaten the three sides below them in each meeting in 2015, but fallen short when clashing with the competition front-runners in Belconnen and Tuggeranong.
Following a win over Eastlake in Round 10, Klemke acknowledged that an inability to beat the competition heavyweights has been the side’s downfall.
“That’s something we want to aim towards – if we can knock one of those top two teams off before the finals, just to get a bit of confidence going in to the finals.”
“We’ve matched it with them in quarters, but we just couldn’t match it with them in four quarters. So that’s our next step.”
At their best, the Tigers can upset the Magpies and the Hawks, but it is a matter of putting their best foot forward for an entire game.
Their performances against Ainslie suggest that the Tigers will go in to the minor semi-final as favourites, should the two teams meet at that sudden death stage.
(PHOTO: Steph Konatar)
ARTICLE WRITTEN FOR AFL CANBERRA