THE opening round of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) will take place tomorrow with all three games to be played on a big opening day of action. The TSL Women’s competition will start a week later, but tomorrow will finally see the return of state league football to the Apple Isle. We take a look at some of the top young talents in action having also represented the Devils last season.
North Launceston won the flag last year and have a really strong side. From an AFL Draft perspective, contested marking key forward Jackson Callow is the one to look out for this season. The 194cm and 96kg Tasmanian is hard to match up on and averaged almost two goals a game for the Devils in the NAB League Boys competition last year. Ben Simpson is named on a wing and played seven games in the NAB League last year, while Oliver Sanders has earned a place on the bench.
The Bombers come up against last year’s wooden spooners in North Hobart Demons tomorrow. The Demons have some good young talent in the side, with AFL Academy duo, Sam Collins and Patrick Walker headlining the side. Along with them, the Devils also have sneaky mid-forward Jye Menzie, key position utility Jake Steele, and another Devil from last year in Will Peppin.
In the earlier game, Lauderdale face off against Clarence. In what was an all-Bombers grand final last year, Lauderdale will be keen to bounce back from missing out on their first flag since joining the league in 2009. Clarence finished sixth in 2019 and the Kangaroos are hoping to build on that this season. Nicholas Baker and Oscar Shaw are a couple of young talents named in defence for the Bombers, while Oliver Davis is the key young gun to watch for Clarence.
The inside midfielder has been named on the ball for the Roos and will no doubt not take a backwards step against older and more experienced opponents. He forms a young midfield core with fellow Devils talent from last year, Ethan Jackson also in the side, while Under 16s Tasmania Most Valuable Player (MVP) Sam Banks has been named on the interchange despite not being eligible to be drafted until next year. Another Devil in Sam Green was named at centre half-back, while Sam Lewis-Johnson came close to selection, named as an emergency.
In the other game, Glenorchy Magpies face off against Launceston Blues in a battle between two sides that finished inside the top four last season, well ahead of the bottom three. Ryan Banks-Smith is one who managed a couple of games with the Devils last season, while for the Blues, Jared Dakin is one who has had AFL interest in the past and is a real goer. Expect him to try and win a truckload of the ball through midfield and get it forward. Isaac Chugg has been named as an emergency for the clash, while forward, Will Harper has been named in the development league.