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Tighe likely to play for WA in role he is growing into

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 6:32 AM
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SEAN Tighe has now put together almost a season and-a-half of outstanding football for South Fremantle in the ruck and looks set to be rewarded with a spot in Western Australia's team to take on Victoria in this Saturday's State game in Northam.
Tighe originally came to South Fremantle as a tall key position player from VFL club Werribee at the start of the 2012 WAFL season, but with the Bulldogs suddenly without the likes of Jaymie Graham, Damian Hayward and even Scott Delmenico, he was needed in the ruck.
While at 200cm he had the height to deal with playing on the ruck, it was a position that he wasn’t accustomed to and it certainly took some time for him to get used to it, but now he is quickly developing into a fine tap ruckmen and is able to use his agility to win plenty of the ball around the ground.
After finishing second to Kris Miller in last year's fairest and best award with the Bulldogs, Tighe has again carried on his outstanding form in 2013 virtually as South Fremantle lone ruckman.
He is averaging over 18 possessions and 26 hit outs a game and now looks well in line to carry the ruck duties alongside East Perth's Paul Johnson this Saturday in Northam against Victoria.
Tighe is looking forward to the chance to play against plenty of familiar faces that he played with and against in the VFL. While he still has to be selected, it would be a tremendous honour for the 22-year-old.
"I have missed out on a few state and representative teams in the past so I have just relished the opportunity so far. I was just honoured to be in the squad let alone be a chance to play. Now that is sort of within the grasp I hope I get the chance to play and if I do, I can take it with both hands," Tighe said.
"There are a few ex-teammates in there from Werribee and Melbourne is a pretty close-knit footy community so you get to know a lot of blokes. There definitely will be quite a few familiar faces in that Victorian team."
Tighe never expected to spend as much time in the ruck as he has when he arrived at South Fremantle after playing most of his career either at centre half-forward or centre half-back, but he is enjoying the challenge of it and it's quite ironic that his new role could earn him a State berth.
"I feel I'm getting more used to playing in the ruck the longer I keep doing it and I suppose I'm playing against so many different ruckmen so you learn different tricks of the trade from doing that. I'm really enjoying it and the big grounds in WA definitely help me as well," he said.
"It might be nice to go back to playing centre half-back or centre half-forward, but for now I'm happy to play my role for the team. You have to work to your strengths and I've tried to become more of that spreading-type ruckman who picks up possessions and I try to get forward as much as I can.
"If I can get a game that's the main thing, I'm not really worried where it's being played as long as I get a chance to play. You can only do so much and I think a lot of the time I don't really get a rest on the bench either.
"When I'm not in the ruck I go forward, but I'm just happy to play my role for the team and to keep getting a game. When you play two genuine ruckmen like that all you have to do is have a crack."
Tighe had a close hand look at East Perth's Johnson as well as Scott Lycett last Saturday as once again he had to battle virtually all on his own against two quality ruckmen.
While Johnson and Lycett did well also, he was happy with the way he played to finish with 20 possessions, 22 hit outs and six entries inside-50. He does see Johnson as the benchmark in the competition though.
"Although I think they both had pretty good games, I'm pretty happy with how I played as well. I obviously could have done a bit better, but I think I can hold my head high and I didn’t disappoint myself. I also had two pretty ordinary performances last year against Johnson and he's the benchmark in the comp, so at least I went a bit better this time," Tighe said.
"Johnson is just a real all-rounder. You can't just be a hit out ruckman anymore and he isn’t that. He wins possessions, he can play that kick behind play role and can play forward. He is one of the best ruckman running around Australia not on an AFL list and he could definitely still be playing in the AFL."
As for South Fremantle's 0-7 start to the season, while it doesn’t read well the fact remains that the Bulldogs have had strong chances to win games particularly against Perth, Swan Districts and West Perth this season, and then in perhaps the best chance of all East Perth last Saturday.
The Bulldogs controlled the first half to lead by 29 points at half-time and were again more than two goals in front at the 17-minute mark of the last quarter, but the Royals ended up winning by 19 points.
However, Tighe and his Bulldogs teammates remain confident that things are on the right path with young players coming through, Adam Guglielmana returning on Saturday and with Ben Saunders, Anthony Collica, Shaun Bewick and Andrew McCarrey due back in the second half of the season.
"The Subi game was really the only blight on our record this year. We had a pretty tough first four rounds when we played four of the top teams and took it right up to them, so it's disappointing to be 0-7 but the mood isn’t down as much because we are playing some good footy at times," Tighe said.
"The most disappointing thing about being 0-7 now is that we've played some good footy. It would be a lot more disappointing if we had thrown the towel in, but the way we have played in patches have been encouraging for a young group.  We are starting to sustain that for longer and longer, and once we can run out full games or as close to it we can be right up there.
"We are really striving to get that continuity in our group. Last year we did have that flat patch mid-season before finishing strongly and we've taken that confidence into this year. We worked really hard over the pre-season and we are still a young group so there's a lot of positives.
"With blokes coming back that can only benefit us and Gugs killed it coming back this week and then to get big Saunders back it relieves Gillespie and Mugambwa from all that pressure. So it will be great to have someone like that back in the team and Shaun Bewick isn’t far away either."
By Chris Pike

SEAN Tighe has now put together almost a season and-a-half of outstanding football for South Fremantle in the ruck and looks set to be rewarded with a spot in Western Australia's team to take on Victoria in this Saturday's State game in Northam.

Tighe originally came to South Fremantle as a tall key position player from VFL club Werribee at the start of the 2012 WAFL season, but with the Bulldogs suddenly without the likes of Jaymie Graham, Damian Hayward and even Scott Delmenico, he was needed in the ruck.

While at 200cm he had the height to deal with playing on the ruck, it was a position that he wasn’t accustomed to and it certainly took some time for him to get used to it, but now he is quickly developing into a fine tap ruckmen and is able to use his agility to win plenty of the ball around the ground.

After finishing second to Kris Miller in last year's fairest and best award with the Bulldogs, Tighe has again carried on his outstanding form in 2013 virtually as South Fremantle lone ruckman.

He is averaging over 18 possessions and 26 hit outs a game and now looks well in line to carry the ruck duties alongside East Perth's Paul Johnson this Saturday in Northam against Victoria.

Tighe is looking forward to the chance to play against plenty of familiar faces that he played with and against in the VFL. While he still has to be selected, it would be a tremendous honour for the 22-year-old.

"I have missed out on a few state and representative teams in the past so I have just relished the opportunity so far. I was just honoured to be in the squad let alone be a chance to play. Now that is sort of within the grasp I hope I get the chance to play and if I do, I can take it with both hands," Tighe said.

"There are a few ex-teammates in there from Werribee and Melbourne is a pretty close-knit footy community so you get to know a lot of blokes. There definitely will be quite a few familiar faces in that Victorian team."

Tighe never expected to spend as much time in the ruck as he has when he arrived at South Fremantle after playing most of his career either at centre half-forward or centre half-back, but he is enjoying the challenge of it and it's quite ironic that his new role could earn him a State berth.

"I feel I'm getting more used to playing in the ruck the longer I keep doing it and I suppose I'm playing against so many different ruckmen so you learn different tricks of the trade from doing that. I'm really enjoying it and the big grounds in WA definitely help me as well," he said.

"It might be nice to go back to playing centre half-back or centre half-forward, but for now I'm happy to play my role for the team. You have to work to your strengths and I've tried to become more of that spreading-type ruckman who picks up possessions and I try to get forward as much as I can.

"If I can get a game that's the main thing, I'm not really worried where it's being played as long as I get a chance to play. You can only do so much and I think a lot of the time I don't really get a rest on the bench either.

"When I'm not in the ruck I go forward, but I'm just happy to play my role for the team and to keep getting a game. When you play two genuine ruckmen like that all you have to do is have a crack."

Tighe had a close hand look at East Perth's Johnson as well as Scott Lycett last Saturday as once again he had to battle virtually all on his own against two quality ruckmen.

While Johnson and Lycett did well also, he was happy with the way he played to finish with 20 possessions, 22 hit outs and six entries inside-50. He does see Johnson as the benchmark in the competition though.

"Although I think they both had pretty good games, I'm pretty happy with how I played as well. I obviously could have done a bit better, but I think I can hold my head high and I didn’t disappoint myself. I also had two pretty ordinary performances last year against Johnson and he's the benchmark in the comp, so at least I went a bit better this time," Tighe said.

"Johnson is just a real all-rounder. You can't just be a hit out ruckman anymore and he isn’t that. He wins possessions, he can play that kick behind play role and can play forward. He is one of the best ruckman running around Australia not on an AFL list and he could definitely still be playing in the AFL."

As for South Fremantle's 0-7 start to the season, while it doesn’t read well the fact remains that the Bulldogs have had strong chances to win games particularly against Perth, Swan Districts and West Perth this season, and then in perhaps the best chance of all East Perth last Saturday.

The Bulldogs controlled the first half to lead by 29 points at half-time and were again more than two goals in front at the 17-minute mark of the last quarter, but the Royals ended up winning by 19 points.

However, Tighe and his Bulldogs teammates remain confident that things are on the right path with young players coming through, Adam Guglielmana returning on Saturday and with Ben Saunders, Anthony Collica, Shaun Bewick and Andrew McCarrey due back in the second half of the season.

"The Subi game was really the only blight on our record this year. We had a pretty tough first four rounds when we played four of the top teams and took it right up to them, so it's disappointing to be 0-7 but the mood isn’t down as much because we are playing some good footy at times," Tighe said.

"The most disappointing thing about being 0-7 now is that we've played some good footy. It would be a lot more disappointing if we had thrown the towel in, but the way we have played in patches have been encouraging for a young group.  We are starting to sustain that for longer and longer, and once we can run out full games or as close to it we can be right up there.

"We are really striving to get that continuity in our group. Last year we did have that flat patch mid-season before finishing strongly and we've taken that confidence into this year. We worked really hard over the pre-season and we are still a young group so there's a lot of positives.

"With blokes coming back that can only benefit us and Gugs killed it coming back this week and then to get big Saunders back it relieves Gillespie and Mugambwa from all that pressure. So it will be great to have someone like that back in the team and Shaun Bewick isn’t far away either."

By Chris Pike