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Railways edge Tigers, skip two games clear on GFL ladder

Railways stand alone as the Goldfields Football League’s benchmark — emerging from Sunday’s clash with Boulder with flying colours in a 15-point win, 9.8 (62) to 6.11 (47), that extended their lead to two games and percentage.

The clash at Digger Daws Oval was the Panthers’ fifth straight win to open the season, with the foundations laid by a six-goal first half.

Railways’ lead, however, was just 13 points and Boulder headed for home ahead by four points after holding their opposition scoreless in the pivotal third term.

But in another display of the red-and-blacks’ ability to run games out, they hit back with 3.3 on a day teenager Judd Kelman challenged star Boulder ruckman Jake Nuich for best-on-ground honours.

Railways coach Rhett Pettit said it was another solid across-the-board team display.

But he reserved special praise for Kelman, who continues to make big strides in just his second year of league football.

“I’m really happy with Judd’s development and with that winger’s role, it’s something really new to him this year,” Pettit said.

“But he’s really embraced it and as good and as talented as he is, one of his best traits is how quickly he learns (because) he asks questions and is just so coachable.

“Over the past month, we couldn’t be happier with him.

“He copped a really big hit early in the game, right in front of us, but bounced back and won the next clearance.

“That’s just another component to his development and there’s absolutely no attitude that you might get with a young kid with so much ability.

“He just goes about his stuff and is really humble doing it.”

Railways got the job done without Mitch Kleppe, Trent Reed and Kyle Ryder and Chris Yarran, last year’s leading goal kicker, was without a major.

That void was filled by Jacob Oakes, who booted three goals.

“We’ve got lots of players contributing, so we’re not relying on five or six,” Pettit said.

“There’s talented guys there who have played in the WAFL, but it’s often been the lesser lights who have put their hands up at different times throughout games.

“Our awards could go to maybe 12 different people in most games this year, but I think we still have a fair bit of improvement in us.

“It was a mature performance (because) late in games earlier in the season, we were being scored against a lot in red time.

“We’ve got better in that area of the game, but still with a lot to work on and that result could have gone the other way, had Boulder taken their opportunities.”

Of Boulder’s six goals, three were off the boot of Michael Wood.

But the Tigers, who also lowered their colours to Railways in round one, misfired for 2.7 in the second half.

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