THE team from Australia’s southernmost state flexed its muscle on their most northern counterparts, with a commanding 37-point victory over Queensland earlier today. On a lovely morning in Yeronga, the two sides faced off, with the best Under 17 talents of both states ready to impress spectators. In the end, Tasmania’s midfield was too dominant, constantly winning both centre and stoppage clearances around the ground that drove them to their triumph. The Queensland defence was frequently under pressure, due to both repeated entries by Tasmania, but also the immediate forward pressure that was created. Queensland was able to deliver patches of promise, but it was far too strong an outing for Tasmania to create a close contest.
In a contest that was months in the making, the first quarter saw a slight scoring deadlock, with the drought broken by Tasmanian backman Lachlan Cowan, who delivered a powerful set shot from range after earning a free kick. In the opening minutes of the game, it was evident that Tasmania were on top in the midfield, winning nearly all of the clearances.
It was also clear that the most dominant player on the ground during this time was Tasmanian ruckman Cameron Owen, who was giving his side clearance ascendancy and also setting up his team’s next two goals. It was a brilliant tap from Owen deep in his side’s forward line that led to a clever major from Declan Lee, but Queensland hit back through an intercepted switch kick in their forward line, and Izak Gejas had no problem converting. A major to Riley McMillan saw Queensland close the margin, and the game looked tense for a period of time.
Tasmania soon began to get the upper hand, starting with a Connor Leeflang major that was set up by an excellent handball from Owens. Two goals in a row to Tassie’s Seth Campbell and a major to Bryce Alomes saw Queensland begin to lose control of the score, with Tasmania taking a strong lead into the main break. Queensland found themselves constantly on the back foot, with immense forward pressure from Tasmania leading to mistakes in the Queensland backline. A hallmark of Tasmanian football over recent years has been slick ball use and they were living up to this reputation in the first half, with plenty of work for Queensland ahead.
The third quarter saw Queensland start to regain control of the game at stages, booting three of the next four goals to reduce the margin to a more manageable number. McMillan was starting to exert his influence on the contest, as was teammate Levi Fyffe, who generated plenty of much-needed run for his side. Queensland had admirably chipped away at the deficit, but it was not long before Tasmania were able to put their foot down and put the game away, dominating most of the final quarter and a half to run away with a convincing victory.
For the victors, Owens was outstanding in the first half, giving his side first use with a towering performance in the ruck, while teammates Colby McKercher and Liam Jones impressed for all four quarters, and Campbell finished the day with four majors. For Queensland, Fyffe and McMillan gave it their all, and were a class above others for large periods of the game.
QUEENSLAND 2.0 | 3.2 | 6.3 | 9.5 (59)
TASMANIA 4.3 | 6.5 | 9.10 | 14.12 (96)
Queensland: C. Langan 2, K. Baines 2, I. Gezas, R. McMillan, L. Fyffe, J. Young, T. Ryschka.
Tasmania: S. Campbell 4, J. Callinan 3, L. Cowan, D. Lee, C. Leeflang, B. Alomes, T. Beaumont, T. McCallum, H. Ollington.
Queensland: R. McMillan, B. McCarthy, B. Tome, K. Reynoldson, L. Fyffe, L. Hude
Tasmania: R. Sanders, C. Owen, C. McKercher, L. Cowan, S. Campbell, T. Beaumont
Photo: Tasmania Devils Facebook