TWO weeks, two wins and the Queanbeyan Tigers are fast shaping as the big improvers in this year’s NEAFL competition.
After winning just four games last year, the Tigers have shot out of the blocks this season to sit atop the Eastern Conference standings.
Admittedly after just two rounds it’s too early yet to be drawing any firm conclusions about what 2012 has in store. But excitement levels are growing at Dairy Farmers Park as the Tigers build on the club’s impressive offseason recruitment drive.
Last Saturday, Queanbeyan made it two wins on the trot after downing the Sydney Hills Eagles 20.21 (141) to 18.10 (118).
The victory followed on from the Tigers 148-point demolition of Tuggeranong in round two.
In his second game for the club player/coach Kade Klemke was arguably best on ground against the Eagles, while former Essendon defender Jarrod Atkinson also produced some class touches.
Assistant coach Adrian Pavese was given the thankless task of guiding the Tigers through the second half of last season after the departure of former coach Rod O’Riley.
The three-time reserve grade premiership winning mentor said there was a different attitude around the playing group this year.
‘‘I think there’s a sense of confidence around the squad at the moment,’’ Pavese said. ‘‘I think we’re a little bit more mature. The new blokes who have come in have brought some class and a lot of professionalism to the side that I think the boys have really enjoyed.
‘‘Only having one trial game was always going to be a challenge for everyone to click but the team has come together very quickly.’’
The Tigers were far from at their best against the Eagles but still managed a relatively comfortable victory despite displaying a concerning profligacy in front of goal.
Queanbeyan managed to contain their interstate rivals who had former AFL stars Ryan Houlihan and Daniel Spiteri on their books.
‘‘We were certainly pushed on the weekend,’’ Pavese said.
‘‘We were put under a fair bit of pressure and the team responded whereas last year when the game was in the balance, we’d end up getting beat.’’
Queanbeyan has the bye this weekend before meeting Eastlake in round four following the Easter break.