A TOP three spot is now the Wagga Tigers to lose after another Jock Cornell masterclass led them to a 30-point victory at Narrandera on Saturday.
The young Tigers have now won five straight games after the 12.11 (83) to 8.5 (53) victory. After top three rival Collingullie-Glenfield Park was beaten by Leeton-Whitton, a superior percentage means the Tigers need only beat either Turvey Park or the Demons in their last two games to secure the double chance.
Fresh from four goals in last week's statement win over ladder leaders Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong, Cornell booted five against the Eagles in a second straight best-on-ground performance.
"He's had a super month or two of footy," Tigers coach Murray Stephenson said of Cornell, who also shouldered some of the ruck duties with Tom Osmotherly out with a shoulder injury.
"He's just a good leader, has a good football brain as well and has good game sense. He's a smart and crafty footballer, which is what you need."
The Tigers had to work early to gain the ascendancy over the Eagles, but managed to turn a four-point halftime lead into a comfortable win.
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"I wouldn't say they jumped us but they were up for the fight. We had some lapses in the second quarter, but we were able to address it and turn it around," Stephenson said.
"There was no underestimating the job we had at hand today, particularly the last month of footy we've had and how hard we've had to work just to give us a chance to finish third.
"It would be good to put the final nail in the coffin. We just want to keep the ball rolling and won't get too far ahead of ourselves."
Despite beating the Lions and the Goannas showing some jitters, Stephenson said the Tigers aren't getting too carried away.
"We're not looking at the moment at that. But what they're getting is the reward for sticking at it and applying themselves week after week, and buying into a team oriented style of football we play," he said.
"We know where we're at as a side, we're inexperienced and we can't rely on a Jock or a Brendy Myers week after week, we have to rely on the 21 every Saturday."
Wagga Tigers 2.3 5.4 7.8 12.11 (83) def Narrandera 1.0 5.0 6.2 8.5 (53)
Goals: Wagga Tigers - Jock Cornell 5, Cooper Pavitt 4, Reid Gordon 2, Brendan Myers; Narrandera - Jordan Hedington 2, Matthew Dillon 2, Isaac Bunge, Joseph Grinter, Cooper Irons, Angus Durnan
Best: Wagga Tigers - Jock Cornell, Murray Stephenson, Brendan Myers, Hamish Gilmore, Brady Morton, Samuel McNaughton; Narrandera - Bradley Hutchison, James Smith, Luke Mckay, Theodore Metcalfe, Fergus Inglis, Luke Paterson
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