IT was a big weekend of Tasmanian State League (TSL) action as a number of Tasmanian Devils prospects past and present ran around for respective clubs in the three matches over the weekend. We took notes on some of the young guns and recap how the matches went down.
CLARENCE vs. TIGERS
Tigers recorded their first win of the 2020 TSL season with an upset 15-point victory over Clarence. The win was on the back of a dominant first three quarters where Tigers piled on 12 goals to four in an impressive performance. Clarence roared to life in he final term as they booted 5.3 to 0.1, but still fell short of victory, going down 12.5 (77) to 9.8 (62). Luke Graham and Tyler Carter slotted three goals each for Tigers, as Kieran Lovell ran amok around the ground. Will Campbell and Zach Adams were other impressive players for the yellow and black. For the Roos, Oliver Davis was unbelievable and features in our notes, as does Sam Banks, while former Brisbane and Essendon goalsneak Josh Green slotted three majors in defeat.
By: Peter Williams
#20 Oliver Davis
Had a sensational outing and was clearly one of the Roos’ bet and four quarter performers. The AFL Academy member started onball and played there primarily other than the odd rest inside 50. His stoppage nous was terrific, and he was always burrowing in to either win the ball or lay a tackle on his opponent. Davis is able to find the exit at stoppages and read the taps well, and in the second term he got a quick snap off out of a stoppage to set up a goal for Josh Green. He has the smarts to reduce the impact of an opponent as well, by corralling them into a space – as he did in the third term at half-back – which forces them to retreat to safety and allow his teammates numbers to get back on the transition. Davis is definitely one of those pure inside ball winners and while sometimes he can be overzealous with his tackling, he is not afraid to crack in time and time again, showing off a high work rate. Reminded me a bit of Dylan Clarke at Under 18s level.
#23 Sam Banks
Played an outside role along and wing and drifting into either 50 when adding an extra number. Did not need to win a heap of the ball to do damage when he had his chance. His work under pressure is good, able to kick safely from half-back to the wing without putting it out on the full and gained vital metres. As a ball-winning midfielder, Banks did get caught out once by being sucked into the defensive 50 stoppage in the second term, and his opponent snuck out the back where an opposition player found him lurking at the top of 50. Banks’ offensive traits are superb though, and he showed in the third term what he can do with time and space, putting on the jets and burning off an opponent to kick long to the goalsquare where it almost created a goal-scoring opportunity.
#31 Lachlan Gadomski (Tigers)
The athletic 20-year-old remained in the interest of AFL recruiters last year, and he showed in little bursts what he is capable of. Having a clean run at it for a change this season, Gadomski was reliable in defence, with clean hands in the air and a strong aerial presence. He was hungry for the ball and laid some fierce tackles, but was also creative on the last line, often looked at as the option to switch play or, as on one occasion, go long down the middle. His pressure game was exemplified by winning a one-on-two contested in the back pocket where he was able to get the ball across the line, and in the fourth term, he did well not to give away a free backing back to a one-on-one and spoiling it to rush a behind.
LAUDERDALE vs. NORTH LAUNCESTON
North Launceston kicked into gear after a slow first half to pick up another win in its premiership defence season. The Bombers trailed by six points at quarter time against another top four side in Lauderdale, but after hitting the front by half-time (one point), ran away with it in the second half to boot six goals to two and secure a 10.7 (67) to 6.5 (41) victory. Nick Baker was terrific for Lauderdale and features in the notes, while Phillip Bellchambers, Josh McGuinness and Luke Nelson (three goals) were also impressive. For the winners though, Jackson Callow slotted two goals alongside Bart McCulloch, as youngster Sherrin Egger (one) and Alex Lee, were named amongst the best.
By: Fraser Stewart
#17 Nick Baker
Set up Lauderdale’s first goal of the game with impressive vision down on the wing. Impressive off half-back and was not afraid to show his attacking style of play often going forward to try and spark a Lauderdale attack, while at the same time showing great speed which was evident throughout the second half of the game. As well as showing a great instinct to attack, he was also calm in defence when the pressure was on him often defusing various North Launceston attacks through intercept marks and was even calm when he rushed a behind which shows he has the knowledge of match awareness in defence.
#16 Ollie Sanders
Was quiet for much of the first half, came to life throughout the third term. However, he was always around the contest and it could be noted that much of his work went unnoticed as he was often the first person to get the ball out of a contest. It could be noted that his style more focussing on the one-percenters in which he contributed with a few spoils and pressure acts. Took a strong mark late in the third quarter to help slow the play showed good knowledge.
#21 Sherrin Egger
Set up North Launceston’s first goal of the game as he set up a Jackson Callow set shot off a clearance. He was impressive around the stoppages as he knows when to get the ball out often through a quick handball to set up a North Launceston attack. He also showed good composure when facing traffic often manoeuvring out of the way of Lauderdale’s oncoming players. He showed good vision too, and this was evident when he was on the wing as he knew where to kick it. Earned himself a 100-metre penalty early in the last quarter and kicked a goal, he goes hard at the contest too.
#25 Jackson Callow
It took 16 minutes for Callow to show what he is capable of as he kicked the first goal of the game with a great lead after a great chest mark. He was everywhere throughout the game plying his trade at half-forward where he kicked two goals and kicked it cleanly off the boot, in the ruck where he showed a great leap and even won a few hitouts. He also spent the majority of the last term in the backline defusing various Lauderdale attacks through intercept marks and spoils. On top of that, he can also be a handy midfield player too, as he was collecting possessions when he was near the ball. He has the potential to be a very useful player for any side as this game showed he can be a great utility that can play pretty much everywhere and has the footy smarts to go along with it.
NORTH HOBART vs. LAUNCESTON
By: Eli Duxson
It was a captivating matchup in a top of the table clash which went right down to the wire despite a slow first half scoring wise. North Hobart looked like finally breaking Launceston’s undefeated streak after leading by two points at the main break, but then Launceston edged in front and held on to the lead to secure a memorable three-point win, 9.7 (61) to 9.4 (58) in one of the games of the season. While proven performers in Bailey Walker and Dylan Riley (four goals) stood out for either side, we will take a look at some of the young talent on display at North Hobart Oval in North Hobart’s Jake Steele, Hamish Allan, Will Peppin, Jye Menzie, Patrick Walker, and Sam Collins and Launceston’s Jared Dakin.
#11 Jake Steele
Steele has become the focal point of the Demons’ forward line having developed rapidly in the senior environment. The first forward entry of the game scrubbed its way into Steele who could not trap it which set the tone for much of his first quarter. He left the forward 50 on many occasions and provided a solid outlet target for North Hobart and despite not managing a mark until later in the quarter, he contested and brought it ground for his teammates to go to work. He made the most of some relaxed Launceston defence to mark uncontested 30 metres out and drilled it to give him his only goal for the day. Despite not impacting the scoreboard for the rest of the game, he showed his endurance with big efforts to create an outlet target in the back pocket. His field kicking looked scratchy but his willingness to push up the ground and help his defence is certainly a positive aspect of his game.
The second half saw him help Allan in the ruck and despite giving up some strength to Launceston ruckman Tim Auckland, he used his athleticism to not allow an easy clearance at stoppages for the Blues. When the game was at peak intensity in the final quarter, he managed to keep a cool head under pressure with a slick handball out of a pack to a runner on the wing which set up a deep forward entry, and taking an important intercept mark on his goal line.
Though he will look to continue working on his ball use around the ground, the Demons will be pleased with his improvement and ability to play as a key position player who can swing through the ruck. If he can turn his big spoils and marking contests into big contested marks, he will be a dangerous player moving forward.
#15 Hamish Allan
The matchup between he and Auckland from the outset was one to watch and he certainly did not back down an inch. The 205cm and 100kg brute of a 19-year-old showed an impressive amount of athleticism and endurance for much of the game, earning him a spot in his side’s best players. He thumped the ball from the very first ruck contest of the game and looked ominous from the outset. Later in the first quarter he even managed a clearance and a rebound 50 as he was willing to win, and use, his own ball. The second quarter provided one of the highlights of the game as he went for a big hanger in the middle of the ground. Even though he did not have to jump as high as the average player would have, it was still a good grab with a knee in the back of his opponent. Looking like he was unsure of what to do with it, he looked to go left, and then lumbered his way to his right and around the man on the mark to send it inside 50 where no North Hobart players were, unfortunately.
With Steele assisting him in the ruck for a lot of the second half, he managed to rest up forward and snagged a goal from a contested mark, slotting the goal from 25 metres out. He continued to show that he was not just a tall who slapped the ball out of the ruck, he even takes big pack marks leading up the wings much like Steele did when the Demons were moving forward. Further showing off his endurance, whenever he was in the ruck, he worked back defensively to plug the hole and did it effectively.
A very impressive game from the big man would have caught the eye of many as the prototype ruckman has started to turn into the hard-working athletic tall who can do it on both ends. Allan certainly has this ability and the only way is up for him.
#19 Will Peppin
The Devil from last season in the versatile Peppin found himself moving from the wing to the backline in what was a tough contest with the ladder leaders and despite his slight build, he looked to win his own ball on several occasions. He found his way to good spots and looked most comfortable floating down and getting the ball out the back. His ball use let him down for much of the first half, but he has done the hard yards to possess the ball which is what he would have been happy with. The first quarter saw a slick spin move and gather inside a defensive 50 pack, but an errant handball was the first of a few forgettable disposals for Peppin. Doing the grunt work with no result is far from a negative as clean and consistent ball use will come with confidence and experience at the level. His second quarter saw a drastic improve with an effortless side-step and switch kick deep in his defensive 50 hitting a target, and a well-weighted chip kick up the other end for a dropped mark from a teammate.
His second half showed off his pace as he assisted Allan for an easy goal, but it also showed off his inside work as he was willing to get in and under and scrap to win the hard balls. Even though he was muscled out of a contest early in the last quarter, he persisted on showing great poise in the defensive half of the ground in the manic moments as he started to become lively with their defensive exits. One of which included a big kick off the ground where he continued on to get on the end of a handball from his teammate who gathered his kick, as he found a target inside 50 for a shot on goal.
Even with a tough start in terms of disposal efficiency, he came into his own for most of the game and showed a level-head under defensive pressure. He will be looking to add some strength, but his inside and outside balance are a key feature of his game.
#46 Jye Menzie
Menzie had a quiet game on his standards playing out of half-forward for the Demons but looked very threatening whenever he was around the ball. He led up strongly in the first quarter to mark at the centre of the ground and drilled a low ball to a target inside 50 who assisted a goal. Trying to get himself involved a bit more with Launceston doing most of the attacking in the second quarter, he found his way to the half back-flank to help with an exit. Menzie made a grubby kick from Steele look very good with an impressive ground ball gather at pace and under pressure, as he showed composure up against the boundary line and find a target with a handball. His pressure near the contest was also a highlight of his, a trait that many forwards require as they do not typically impact the game through high possessions.
His second half continued the same way his first half did with high impact on contests, but he would still like to find the footy a bit more. Menzie won a crucial one-on-one centre wing with a clean one-hand gather on the chaos ball before losing his footing. That did not affect him that much as he bounced back up to remain poised and recorded a goal assist with a kick to advantage inside 50. Being the link option between flanks for most of the game, Menzie found some space inside forward 50 following a quick Demons rebound, but unfortunately could not convert the 45-metre kick.
He may not have had as many possessions as he would have liked, but his defensive pressure, impact on contests and clean hands and disposal are what you want out of your forwards. Soon enough, his effort will turn into scoreboard results on a more consistent basis as it has in previous weeks.
#48 Patrick Walker
The AFL Academy member played predominantly on the wing as his run and carry and penetrating kick was on display. He injected himself into the game with a strong first quarter setting up well around stoppages to get clearances, while also finding himself free on transition plays to use his neat kicking to keep pushing it forward. Late in the opening quarter he drifted forward and took a mark in front of his opponent 45 metres out, but a 50-metre penalty put him on the goal line, and he put it straight through the middle. A quieter second quarter meant he almost got himself a second goal but fumbled at the wrong moment.
His second half also started a bit quieter than his blistering start to the game, but his play picked up with the intensity of the game in the final quarter as he halved a big contest in his defensive half before receiving help from teammates. His work did not stop there as he received a handball 60 metres away to pump it deep inside his forward 50. He continued to pop up in important spots as he had another shot on goal which just missed and covered good ground to create options on rebounds and entries.
Though he did have some quiet patches, he managed to maintain position and discipline as a wingman and more importantly, he played that linking role well with good ball use. He is a bit of a Lachie Whitfield type with a lean build, but good disposal and still an ability to find and win his own ball.
#49 Sam Collins
Normally playing as an attacking defender, he was given the responsibility of playing on the last line of defence against the Hudson Medal leader in Riley. The AFL Academy member showed he was up to it for much of the game, but a burst of brilliance from Riley may not reflect that if you only looked at the score sheet. He was caught behind on a few occasions due to quick ball movement off the turnover from Launceston but was not caught behind by much. He still scrapped at all contests but not had not conceded a goal for the first half. He kicked the ball well and found good options as his attacking mindset paid off when trying to escape tricky situations. He continued to find his own ball despite his tough assignment for the first half, but a missed spoil and loose body checking showed there are still things to work on if he wants to be a key defender moving forward.
Collins showed great closeout speed and ball reading all day, but there was not a lot he could have done to stop Launceston and Riley in the third quarter. Perfect kicks to space and strong hands meant Riley kicked his four goals for the day in the third quarter. To Collins’ credit, he did not give up. As you do as a defender, you force your opponent to kick goals from tough spots and work hard for it, and that is exactly what Collins did. He was on his tail for every lead and forced Riley toward the boundary.
His ball use was certainly a highlight of his game and all things considered, he defended well on a classy operator who enjoyed a quarter you do not have very often. He has all the attributes of a key defender as he reads the play well, has great closeout speed and with time, he will add some more strength to take on opponents like Riley moving forward.
#20 Jared Dakin
With no Isaac Chugg out there, he was the sole Devil representative for the Blues who did not enjoy the type of game that he has in recent weeks. He played in the forward half all day and did not impact the scoreboard, but he did pop up at good times to apply defensive pressure. He created a forward 50 boundary throw in due to a strong closeout and intercept spoil. Later in the quarter he hit up Riley inside 50 with a mark she should have taken. Besides kicking into the man on the mark, his first half was full of good pressure around the ball, he just could not get his hands on it.
Much like the other young talent on display, Dakin turned it on with the heat of the game in the final quarter, bringing that pressure and turning it into shots on goal. He hit the post after marking inside 50 and took a big contested mark further afield. He started to look dangerous when he laid a crunching tackle to create a forward 50 stoppage, before muscling out a handball while wrapped up.
He will certainly look to have more output in coming weeks, but his effort never wavered. He continued to apply defensive pressure and be physical around the stoppage.
ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Clarence 9.8 (62) defeated by Tigers 12.5 (77)
Lauderdale 6.5 (41) defeated by North Launceston 10.7 (67)
North Hobart 9.4 (58) defeated by Launceston 9.7 (61)