By Daniel Wood

After a historically dominant season, the Southern Tigers have fought hard to claim their second Premiership in three years after out-muscling the Forestville Eagles by 6 points at Titanium Security Arena. 

The Tigers were out for redemption after their close loss in last year’s grand final to the Bearcats, and the tone was set early with a tight defensive battle ensuing from tip off. 

It took nearly three whole minutes for either team to put points on the board with the pressure high and the nerves following suit. 

Daniel Johnson (21 points, 7 rebounds) was on fire early for the Eagles, lighting up the paint and bringing down the boards, but the Tigers picked up their usual offensive game and ran away to a somewhat comfortable 22-15 lead at quarter time. 

MVP Calvin Turnage (23 points, 12 rebounds) was sitting pretty with 7 rebounds at quarter time. 

At this point the Tigers could have blown the game out, but the Eagles took charge and fired back with high-pressure defence and well-run offence. 

Despite Brendan Teys’ (3-19 FG) struggles on offence, the Eagles found scoring options in Daniel Johnson and Captain Adam Doyle (16 points). 

Both teams were once again slow out of the blocks offensively in the second quarter, with a relatively low scoring game transpiring. 

It became a seesaw battle for most of the second quarter with each team trading blows, leaving it neck a neck with 2 points between them at the half time break. 

The third quarter brought the game to a new level, with both teams coming out firing. 

Eagle Jalen Richard, who was quiet on the night, opened the scoring for the half with a strong bucket, soon to be replied by yet another Brandon Brine 3-pointer for the Tigers. 

The Eagles pressed on with their hustle and intensity, continuing to hold the Tigers back from any offensive breakout that we’ve seen them do all year. 

Forestville was strong in the paint all night, with Daniel Johnson fighting his way to buckets over the big Southern boys. 

The highlight of the night came late in the third as Greg Mays (15 rebounds) slammed down an emphatic alley-oop that had the crowd pumping. 

Another tight quarter came to a close with the Tigers holding on by 4 points.

The Eagles knew this was their time to step it up and so they did, hitting the lead at the 5-minute mark of the last quarter after a Teys’ jump shot. 

The Tigers had all the answers though, with Brine hitting clutch 3-pointers to bury the Eagles after a gallant charge. 

The Eagles wasted late opportunities to catch up, with missed three point attempts and turnovers. 

The Tigers’ victory is well deserved after an impressive regular season, showing they truly were the most dominant team in the competition this year. 

As for the Eagles, they can hold their heads high having even made it to the night, after moments during the year where their season looked lost - they clawed their way into the top 5 and took some monumental scalps as the underdogs.

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