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VFL Tigers make it two from two

The VFL Tigers remain undefeated in the VFL 2017 season after defeating Sandringham by 25 points at Trevor Barker Oval on Saturday.

Inspired by a three-goal Mabior Chol performance and debutant Shai Bolton (two goals), Craig McRae’s side lead at every break before breaking away from the Zebras in a frenetic final term.

McRae said he was impressed by his team’s fight and endeavour when challenged by the home side.

“It was a real fight, which is something we want to do - it’s a part of our culture,” he said.

“I’m really proud of the efforts of the guys. It was a really good win.”

In a well balanced first quarter, the VFL Tigers were almost made to rue missed opportunities after booting five behinds in a row, while Sandringham’s Rowan Marshall made no mistake with the Zebras' first effort of the day.

With the Tigers in desperate need of some class in front of the sticks, Chol stepped up with the first of many towering marks for the day, before calmly slotting his first major, much to the delight of his teammates.

Shortly after, Bolton showed his incredible skill and agility to register his first goal in Tiger colours.

With two Zebra defenders in close pursuit, Bolton dribbled home from a difficult angle, and was mobbed by his teammates from all corners of the ground before coming to the bench.

In a goal-for-goal contest, Sandringham managed to reduce the deficit to three points by the first break, and the following term did not let up in intensity.

In unfortunate circumstances, Nathan Drummond was forced to leave the ground in the arms of trainers after injuring his left knee. Scans will now be required to determine the extent of the injury.

With the Zebras fighting tooth-and-nail on their home turf, it was Chol who again stood up with a big time goal, winning a free kick in the goal square and making no mistake from the resulting kick.

Tyson Stengle was dynamic around the ground, following up on his 11-disposal first quarter with his trademark forward pressure on show for all to see.

Corey Ellis was also a standout performer, gathering 16 disposals for the half, while Taylor Hunt’s dash off half-back was the perfect springboard for each Tiger attack.

With the margin only eight points at the main break, Jacob Ballard made his mark on the contest, marking strongly before kicking truly to give his side some much needed breathing space.

Following suit was Jake Aarts, who snapped brilliantly over his shoulder to open up the game’s biggest lead and put the VFL Tigers in control of the contest.

While Sandringham answered back with two quick-fire goals, a double to Tyson Stengle and Chol’s third major helped stabilise an 18-point lead at the final break.

With the Zebras pushing for a fourth-quarter revival, club captain Sam Darley led by example, taking a handful of vital intercept marks and collecting seven disposals of his own to hold the home side at bay.

Fellow club leader Hugh Beasley also showed his experience and guile with an industrious shift at the back, while Ryan Garthwaite continued to stifle every Zebras' counter-attack with his vicious and relentless attack on the ball.

Ben Lennon inspired one of the loudest Tiger cheers all day with his courageous mark and clinical finish, while Corey Ellis nailed his only goal of the day after receiving a 50-metre penalty.

With an 18-point lead intact in the dying minutes, the VFL Tigers locked down defensively on the dangerous Paddy McCartin, before Bolton put the nail in the coffin with his second goal in a memorable win.

The VFL Tigers, now with two wins from two games, look to next week’s clash with Port Melbourne, which starts at 2pm on Saturday at North Port Oval.

The match will also be broadcast on Channel Seven.

RICHMOND 12.14.86  
SANDRINGHAM 8.13.61

Goal Kickers: M. Chol 3, S. Bolton 2, T. Stengle 2, C. Ellis, B. Lennon, J. Aarts, B. Wood, J. Ballard