On Saturday, The Hobart QueensHead Knights look to defend their title in Tiger Bowl II, as they travel to “The Jungle” to take on the Northern O’Keefe’s Gorillas.
The Gorillas, lead by HC Brett Wheldon, finished 6-2 with the best statistical offence and defense in the competition, while the Knights finished 4-3-1 and need to continue their hard-at-it attitude.
The Gorillas offense is led by Marcus Dornauf at QB, who is having a sensational year at the helm, protected by a sensational O-Line, and is backed by a strong receiving core of Barracu and Ward, and a strong running game from rookie of the year candidate Mitch Lee, and reigning league MVP Taz Little.
On defense, their consistent 7 man rush has caused issues for opposing offenses all year, with Rob Williams and Lachlan Wood anchoring the line, terrific edge rushers in Nunn and Chevoux, and strong DB play from Koko and Kam. Missing from the big game will be key player and leader Fletcher Harding, who suffered a season ending injuring in the second last game of the regular season.
For the Knights, injuries have taken their toll late in the season – having lost key dominant big man (DE/OL/FB) James Holman to a broken leg, QB1 Tim Young to a knee, as well as centre Andrew Fossati and a big question mark over Tiger Bowl I MVP Tom Shepperd.
However, the Knights rate themselves a big chance. They went in big underdogs last year and managed to pull out the nail-biting win, and know that they have a genuine “team” that can fight through adversity – they’ve already proven time and time again that they know how to win games when they are up against it.
They will be led by Craig “CJ” Johnson at QB who is simply knows no other way but to compete and to win, relying on a strong running game by rookie Josh Havea (another ROY candidate) and steam roller Aaron Wale. WR Luke Chamberlain, fresh off assisting at the Junior Outback camp, will be a key target for CJ, and will need to step up to the plate and find gaps in the secondary.
On D, they will be reliant on a full team effort – ever youthful playing coach Adam Weeding has been a gamechanger this year at LB, Anthony Lean knows how to terrorise backfields, and reigning MVP Tom Shepperd keeps the secondary dangerous – but they are ably supported by the other 8. Cam Chamberlain has had a breakout season at Safety, and will have to be monitored by the Gorillas, as he is now known for big plays.
Don’t look at the statistics to predict this one folks – this is truly anyone’s game. The Gorilla’s rightly go in as favourites, but they would not want to underestimate the passion that the Knights bring.
We look forward to seeing as many people as possible at Royal Park in Launceston at 2pm on Saturday 27th for Tiger Bowl II.
Get ready for the game by watching Tiger Bowl I