Tigers rookie Tyson Stengle (left) celebrates after making his debut in the Round 15 win over Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday.
Tigers rookie Tyson Stengle (left) celebrates after making his debut in the Round 15 win over Port Adelaide at Adelaide Oval on Saturday. DAVID MARIUZ

Tigers firm as flag favourites

AFL: Former Richmond and Western Bulldogs forward Nathan Brown believes the Tigers can win the premiership this year after Saturday night's stirring win over Port Adelaide.

The Tigers have lost just five games for the season and are now in the top four and a game clear of their rivals.

Damien Hardwick's side has a favourable next month of matches and could start favourites in each of them - Brisbane (Etihad), GWS (MCG), Gold Coast (Metricon) and Hawthorn - to shore up their spot for the double chance.

"Of course they can (win the premiership),” Brown said.

"I think any side right now in the top eight (can with it) and they are more credentialled than just about any.

"Their losses this year have been five (points), two, three and nine and against the top eight sides this year they are three and three against the current top-eight sides.

"They lost to Adelaide badly but were in front just before half time and fell away.

"As the Bulldogs did from seventh last year, they've got a pretty good spine. They have the best centre halfback in the competition and the mosquito fleet they've added adds what they didn't have last year.”

Of the current top-eight teams, the Tigers have beaten West Coast (MCG), Melbourne and Port Adelaide and lost narrowly to GWS (Spotless) and Sydney.

The only outlier is the 76-point loss to Adelaide in Round 6 when they were blown away at Adelaide Oval.

Hardwick is bullish about his team's chances this season, sending an ominous warning to the rest of the competition after the 13-point win over the Power.

"We have still got a lot of improvement left in us,” he said. "Our best footy, mark my words, is still in front of us.

"They're (the players are) exciting, there's no doubt, I love watching them play ... we're really excited by the players we have got on our list.

"A lot of those guys are young and developing and will only get better as the years go on.”



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