Demons driving Tigers to flag

Dean Roulstone has been one of the major driving forces behind the Tigers’ rapid rise this season.

Dean Roulstone has been one of the major driving forces behind the Tigers’ rapid rise this season.

EASTLAKE recruit Dean Roulstone admits he didn’t know what to expect when he signed with Rand-Walbundrie over the summer.

What he did know was he wanted a change.

After nine seasons with Eastlake, the 27-year-old was looking to take a step back in the standard and commitment of the NEAFL.

So when Tigers’ coach Daniel Athanitis came knocking in June last year about the prospect of playing at Rand-Walbundrie, the NEAFL Team of the Year member didn’t need much convincing.

“Aaron Gordon, who is captain this year, was a former teammate of mine at Eastlake a couple of seasons ago,” Roulstone said.

“He played at Rand-Walbundrie last year so I spoke to him about a bit of a change of scenery and it all sort of snowballed from there.

“Playing NEAFL is a big commitment with training three nights a week and there is also a lot of travel involved in the NEAFL with matches against the Sydney and Brisbane sides as well as Darwin.

“So when I was approached by Rand-Walbundrie I basically jumped at the opportunity.”

Apart from Roulstone, the Tigers also swooped on Eastlake teammates Mark Kimball, Justin Mesman, Ben Maiden, Shaun Allan and Tim Gray, who are all making the weekly trek from Canberra.

After last making finals in 2009, the Demon recruits have complemented a talented young Tigers list who have emerged as a legitimate flag contender to sit second with 9-2 record.

Roulstone, Allan, Gray and Mesman have significantly boosted their big man stocks while Kimball and Maiden have provided some much needed class in the midfield.

Roulstone and Maiden in particular have both enjoyed outstanding seasons to be entrenched inside the top five in the Border Mail-WAW Footballer of the Year award.

“The change has been great and everyone at the club has made us more than welcome,” Roulstone said.

“It is certainly heading in the right direction with some talented kids coming through the ranks like Dan, Brian and Blake Lieschke, Will Swift, Charlie Williams.”

Roulstone said the Tigers had started to click over the past three weeks and would be a finals force.

“I have no doubt we have a list capable of playing deep into September,” he said.