Railways coach Mark Bayliss says his side’s thumping win over North Albany at Collingwood Park on Sunday holds them in good stead for a top-two finish.
The defending premiers moved a game and percentage clear on top of the Great Southern Football League ladder after accounting for the Kangas by 80 points, inspired by the efforts of star Matt Palfrey.
Palfrey was again the difference, not for the first time this season, as the Tigers handed the Kangas their biggest defeat of the season.
The Tigers got the early jump on the home side and never looked back, dominating for large passages of the game and holding their opponents to just five goals for the afternoon.
Despite their wayward kicking in front of goal the visitors emerged emphatic winners, 15.24 (114) to 5.4 (34).
“We just have to make sure we keep ourselves going, we’re a game clear now so if we were to slip a game now, it wouldn’t be too much of a worry,” Bayliss said.
“We probably can’t lose our top two spot now.
“To give them credit, I thought they battled it out pretty well.
“When you’re ten goals up, you’ve just got to make sure you get through the game unscathed.”
Their ninth win of the season pushed the Tigers to 36 points, four ahead of Mt Barker who slipped up on Saturday, and they hold the best percentage of the top four after 11 rounds.
Palfrey continued his wonderful form, booting four goals and winning countless possessions across the ground to win the Think Mental Health Round match ball.
The Tigers kicked seven of the first nine goals of the game with Joel Want, Zak Hortin and Palfrey kicking two goals each in a relentless first quarter.
Youngster Isaac Williams also snagged a goal but majors to Jackson Davidson and Taj Williams helped the Kangas cut the margin back to 34.
Two more goals to Palfrey in the second term and a single major to Matt Van Schayk pushed the Tigers out to a 60-point lead at half-time.
Despite an early goal to Graham Ross, the Tigers onslaught continued in the third term as Williams emerged again, kicking two goals in quick succession followed by a Kane Shephard snap that ballooned the margin to 74 points at the end of the third term.
Two goals to Jyrin Woods and Ross gave the Kangas something to cheer about in the fourth but majors to Ryley Valli and Van Schayk capped the Tigers rout.
Palfrey was the best afield, in a performance set to attract another three Kleemann Medal votes, and was well supported by uncompromising midfielders Jayden Scott and Ryan Davies.
Ethan Knee and Joel Want were busy throughout and Williams provided a lively spark in the forward line.
Nathan Crudeli and Sam Moir worked hard in a losing affair, youngster Fynn Kelleher-Bird showed good signs and Ross was the only multiple goal kicker with two but the Kangas finals hopes were all but ended.
The home side lost defender Nick Barrow to a shoulder injury in the second term.
A disappointed Kangas coach Brad Bootsma lamented the slow start but praised the Tigers class post game.
“The boys were a bit flat I think, they hit us pretty hard early,” he said.
“They’re a really good side, we’re at different ends of where we are at the moment.
“They’re pushing for another premiership and we’re just looking to improve.
“When we do move the ball well, we look really good but when we don’t, we just get chopped apart.
“We’re not really at a development where we can turn the footy over, because we just get hurt the other way by bigger and stronger bodies.”