Tag: tasmania devils

Scouting notes/wrap: NAB League Boys – Tasmania vs. Eastern

IN the weekend’s sole fixture, Tasmania and Eastern finally brought Round 12 of the NAB League Boys competition to an end, jerking the curtain at UTAS Stadium for the Hawthorn-Fremantle AFL clash. Given it was a standalone game, we combined the match report and scouting notes into one for your convenience.

TASMANIA DEVILS 5.1 | 6.3 | 7.6 | 8.7 (55)
EASTERN RANGES 4.0 | 6.4 | 7.9 | 11.11 (77)

GOALS:
Tasmania: J. Callow 4, J. Menzie, W. Harper, W. Peppin, R. Mansell.
Eastern: J. Rossiter 2, B. Hickleton 2, C. Downie, T. Edwards, T. Weir, B. McCormack, Z. Pretty, H. Keeling, M. Mellis.

BEST:
Tasmania: R. Mansell, J. Callow, M. McGuinness, O. Davis, I. Chugg, J. Lane
Eastern: M. Mellis, W. Parker, B. McCormack, J. Nathan, C. Black, J. Duffy

The Eastern Ranges extended their lead atop the NAB League standings to eight points, becoming the first side in 2019 to hit 10 wins with a 22-point victory over Tasmania on the Apple Isle.

It did not come easy though, with the hosts enjoying a great start on the back of a dominant three-goal opening term from bottom-age forward Jackson Callow. The Devils’ attacking approach saw them get the better of their more fancied opponents to the first break, opening a seven-point gap on the back of a free-flowing period of play. As expected, the Ranges hit back in the second term to edge in front at half time by a single point, but it proved a costly quarter for both sides as Tasmania lost Mitch O’Neill to an innocuous knee injury, while Eastern skipper James Ross was helped from the ground after copping the full force of a late bump. The game continued to tighten up in the third term as the sides shared a goal each to set up a tense finish, with Eastern’s tactical shift in the back half ensuring Callow was kept much quieter. Taking some good momentum into the final term, Eastern would go on to run away with the win with four goals to one, very much proving to be the team to beat.

The instinctual combination between Eastern’s midfield trio of Mitch Mellis, Lachlan Stapleton, and Zak Pretty proved telling, especially after Tasmania lost O’Neill with Mellis named best afield. Joel Nathan‘s role on Callow in the second half with Ross out of the game was crucial, despite the Tasmanian finishing with four goals and edging in front of Eastern’s Ben Hickleton to lead the NAB League goal kicking charts. For Tasmania, Matt McGuinness continued his good form across half back, taking on a greater role with Sam Collins shifting further afield at times. Oliver Davis was again instrumental through midfield, with Will Peppin busy around the ground and Rhyan Mansell dangerous up forward.

Both teams are set to line up in Round 14’s double-header at Box Hill City Oval, with Tasmania opening proceedings against Gippsland and Eastern readying for a top four clash with Oakleigh.

SCOUTING NOTES

Tasmania:

#1 Mitchell O’Neill

Unfortunately had his return game for the Devils cut short by what looked like a pretty innocuous knee injury in the second term. He had started the same term off the ground after limping off earlier, getting stuck straight back into the action. Can hopefully get a better run at it toward the back-end of the year, and looked a positive addition to Tasmania’s midfield in the early stages.

#3 Oliver Davis

The bottom-ager continues to excel in the engine room, putting in a typical shift with inside ball winning and hard tackling. He won the first clearance of the first and second terms to mark his intent and enjoyed a good battle against Eastern’s Lachie Stapleton, catching him holding the ball on two occasions with great technique. While Davis sometimes blazes away in possession, his presence in midfield is invaluable and he plays his role well.

#4 Will Peppin

The National Academy member looks to have regained some good form and was busy throughout this outing. Peppin loves to take off with ball in hand, doing so with agile moves through traffic in the first term to send his side forward. The zippy mover added tackling pressure to his game as it went on, while also running hard off the line at centre bounces and impacting the play further afield in general play. Peppin earned at front-on contact free kick in the first quarter to kick his sole goal for the game, with a later shot from 50 falling short.

#7 Matt McGuinness

Another who contributed a game now expected of him, McGuinness has been an important cog in the Tasmanian back six. He positioned well in the hole to intercept overhead on many an occasion, but was mostly sighted bringing the ball out of defensive 50 by foot on the move. While his range was a little off at times, McGuinness got some handy distance on his kicks and is finding solid consistency.

#13 Sam Collins

Was by no means a huge game from Collins, but he looked strong around the ball as he enjoyed some time in the midfield. When starting on the outside, he pushed hard off the line to impact stoppages and get involved in the play. The bottom-ager also got his usual kicking game going well, delivering a pin-point ball into the corridor in the first term and backing it up with an even better pass from half-back into the middle in the final quarter. Had a bit of a rough patch to open the third term as he gave away a couple of free kicks, but was otherwise effective when in possession.

#25 Jackson Callow

Callow looked like having a huge game after he booted three goals within the first half-hour, but was clamped well after the main break with Eastern ensuring he would compete against two or three markers in the air. He started off by winning a ground ball against his direct opponent deep inside 50 before snapping the first goal of the game, following up with a huge pack mark and set shot goal to highlight a scintillating opening. He also created Will Peppin’s goal after booting his third, marking deep in the pocket and kicking well inboard. His physicality ensured that direct opponents were more occupied with holding him that getting to the ball, and Callow’s work off the deck was scarily good for a player of his size. He would go on to show as much by turning his opponent twice in the third term but missing the shot, eventually being restricted well.

Eastern:

#7 Lachlan Stapleton

The natural ball winner did a lot of unheralded work around the contest, handing out well and combining almost telepathically with his Eastern midfield mates to buzz forward from congestion. His low centre of gravity and reading of taps ensured he often got to the ball first before dishing off quickly. Stapleton had a good moment in the final term where he ran forward hard from the stoppage to receive a handball of the attacking side, before delivering beautifully on the run inside 50 to honour Ben Hickleton’s lead.

#11 Mitch Mellis

Arguably the best afield, Mellis was aggressive in both his forward running and defensive efforts. His gut-busting runs after disposing of the ball to get on the end of a second handball broke the play open, with Mellis using his speed to burst away from trouble. He worked fantastically well in the small Eastern midfield to chain possessions together at stoppages rather than blazing away, and did as much around the ground as he got busy from the get-go. Mellis was alight early, booting a goal after finding space to get the hand-off inside 50 and snapping truly, going on to accumulate around the ground in an influential display.

#13 Jamieson Rossiter

Rossiter makes his possessions count, getting in dangerous areas within the forward half and impacting the scoreboard. He worked well up to half forward in the first half, throwing his weight around and taking a strong mark from behind on the attacking arc. He found space in the third term to get a shot on goal but fell short, before thumping home a goal from nothing as he threw the ball onto his boot 60 metres from home and saw it bounce through over the back. Rossiter added another in the final term, mopping up an errand handball to snap truly on his left boot.

#20 Connor Downie

The bottom-aged Metro representative was again influential on the outside, finding the ball on the flanks at both ends and using his damaging left boot to good effect. Downie had an early score involvement as he roosted long towards goal to find Harrison Keeling in the square, before getting another hand-off at the arc in the second term and slamming the ball home himself. He finds space well and always looks for the shorter option inboard, kicking long down the line when in doubt to ensure his plays are high-percentage.

#21 James Ross

Was unfortunately the other big injury casualty to come out of the game, being taken off the field by trainers in the second term after receiving a heavy late bump shortly after disposing of the ball. He did not return to the game, but had started solidly in his key back post and got up the ground well. Hopefully he gets another chance to prove his worth this year.

#23 Zak Pretty

Was in the thick of it early on with some linking handballs at the centre bounces and a nice goal on the run from the pocket to get Eastern on the board. He combined his usual inside work with some good movement forward, putting in another solid shift and finding his usual numbers around the contest.

NAB League Boys weekend preview: Tasmania vs. Eastern

A standalone fixture this week sees Tasmania Devils host the Eastern Ranges in a bout originally scheduled for Round 12, as the rest of the competition enjoys a week off before Round 14 recommences the season on Saturday, July 20.

TASMANIA DEVILS v. EASTERN RANGES

Round 12 – 13/06/2019

10:45am

UTAS Stadium – Launceston

 

While it seemed long odds at the beginning of the season, Eastern has been far and away the most consistent and best side in 2019, sitting pretty atop the NAB League ladder at 9-2 coming into its clash with Tasmania. The Devils have been competitive for the most part, battling to 4-7 in their inaugural full-time NAB League season to sit eleventh. The two sides are yet to meet this season, taking history out of the equation and allowing both sides to work from a clean slate. With the national carnival run and done, both sides will slowly return to full strength in the coming weeks, starting on Saturday for Tasmania as it regains leading prospect Mitch O’Neill for the tough battle ahead. The core of the Devils’ side is in place, with Round 13 Draft Central Player of the Week Matt McGuinness remaining in the heart of defence, O’Neill back through the middle, and Jackson Callow set to dominate from centre half-forward. Allies representative Jake Steele also returns and may be freed up from his usual ruck duties, named on the wing. For Eastern, a bit of forward line depth slots into the selected 23 as Jordan Jaworski and Joshua Tilley find themselves named alongside diminutive ball winner, Jonte Duffy. It means Eastern possesses threats all around the ground, with a midfield capable of winning high amounts of ball, a forward line with plenty of goals in it from tall and small options, and a solid defence with rebounding quality. The Ranges could look to really get on top in their forward half though, with Tasmania’s strength most significantly lying in the engine room. Needless to say, it will be an uphill climb for the Devils in their persuit to overcome the Ranges, but they should give it a red-hot crack in front of their adoring home fans.

 

TEAMS:

 

TASMANIA DEVILS

B: 60. J. Barwick, 38. O. Shaw, 21. L. Gadomski

HB: 12. I. Chugg, 7. M. McGuinness, 17. P. Walker

C: 39. S.  Green, 3. O.  Davis, 8. J.  Steele

HF: 20. W. Harper, 9. J. Chaplin, 4. W. Peppin

F: 33. L. Borsboom, 25. J. Callow, 27. R. Mansell

R: 56. J. Lane, 13. S. Collins, 1. M. O’Neill

Int: 2. O. Burrows-Cheng, 37. L. Deegan, 23. H. Ireland, 31. J. Menzie, 50. C. Riethoff, 26. O. Sanders, 14. B. Simpson, 35. L. Viney

 

In: L. Deegan, J. Steele, W. Harper, L. Borsboom, O. Sanders, C. Riethoff, S. Green, M. O’Neill

Out: N. Baker,  T. Reeves,  E. Jackson,  C. Stephenson,  Z. Adams

 

EASTERN RANGES

B: 12. J. Gilbee, 39. J. Nathan, 40. J. Hourihan

HB: 4. J. Clarke, 21. J. Ross, 19. W. Parker

C: 20. C.  Downie, 7. L.  Stapleton, 30. T.  Edwards

HF: 9. J. Duffy, 28. T. Weir, 13. J. Rossiter

F: 10. C. Black, 36. B. Hickleton, 27. J. Jaworski

R: 18. B. McCormack, 23. Z. Pretty, 11. M. Mellis

Int: 42. A. Begg, 44. H. Keeling, 32. I. Mccormick, 45. M. Zalac

Emg: 24. T. Hardstaff, 53. J. Tilly, 3. C. Tilyard

 

In: J. Duffy, J. Jaworski, J. Tilly, A. Begg

Out: T. Garner, J. Diedrich

 

Draft Central Player of the Week: NAB League Boys – Round 13

TASMANIA Devils over-ager Matt McGuinness has taken out the NAB League Boys Round 13 Draft Central Player of the Week award, winning 76 per cent of votes in our Facebook poll against Oakleigh’s Reef McInnes. He becomes the first Tasmanian to claim player of the week honours after initially being the first to be nominated, and has been a constantly important part of Tassie’s back six – averaging 17.6 disposals, 5.1 marks, and four rebound 50s across eight NAB League outings this year.

The intercept defender had game-highs in disposals (34), kicks (29) and rebounds (11) in an effort that typified the best of his overall game, also clunking eight marks along the way. Of course, McGuinness’ effort is even more impressive given it came in a losing effort, with Tasmania going down by 29 points to Bendigo Pioneers on home turf.

DRAFT CENTRAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

ROUND 1: Noah Anderson (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 2: Mitch Mellis (Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 3: Matt Rowell (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 4: Tom Green (GWS GIANTS Academy)
ROUND 5: Zakery Pretty Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 6: Trent Bianco (Oakleigh Chargers)
ROUND 7: Sam Conforti (Bendigo Pioneers)
ROUND 8: Darcy Cassar (Western Jets)
ROUND 9: Lucas Rocci (Western Jets)
ROUND 10: Jordan Jaworski (Eastern Ranges)
ROUND 11: Darcy Chirgwin (Sandringham Dragons)
ROUND 12: Jye Chalcraft (Murray Bushrangers)
ROUND 13: MATT MCGUINNESS (TASMANIA DEVILS)

NAB League Girls Preliminary Finals preview – Grand Final spots up for grabs at Shepley

FINALS fever hits the NAB League Girls competition, with a revamped finals series set to get underway at Shepley Oval on Saturday. A spot in the grand final is on the line in both games as first does battle with fourth, and second plays third. In the weekend’s other game, Oakleigh hosts Tasmania at Windy Hill in a one-off exhibition.

NORTHERN KNIGHTS (1st, 8-0-1) vs. EASTERN RANGES (4th, 6-3)
Saturday May 18, 12:30pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Round 9:
Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Greater Western Victoria Rebels 0.5 (5)
Eastern Ranges 3.1 (19) defeated by Sandringham Dragons 3.5 (23)

Last Meeting:
Round 5 – Northern Knights 7.8 (50) defeated Eastern Ranges 4.2 (26) @ La Trobe University Oval

MATCH PREVIEW

The undefeated Knights came into the year as strong premiership fancies, and firmed as favourites with their 36-point Round 8 win over reigning premiers, Geelong – avenging their 2018 grand final defeat and snapping the Falcons’ two-year winning run in one fell swoop. The only hiccup in Northern’s season thus far was a Round 2 draw with Oakleigh, with the best attack in the league and a raft of stars helping them ease to eight wins – including ones over two fellow finals sides. They are only one step away from a second-consecutive grand final berth, but an exciting Eastern team stands in the way. The Ranges are one of the best marking sides in the competition, and can compete with most teams on their day, but suffered a couple of disappointing losses to lower-ranked sides and had a close encounter with Tasmania in Round 7. Their narrow margins of victory and defeat – including three wins by under a goal – make for heart-stopping games, but their more convincing wins like their 51-point one over Gippsland show why they are always a chance. Eastern’s prime movers in the middle include potential 2020 Collingwood father-daughter selection Tarni Brown, as well as gun bottom-ager Tess Flintoff, and Olivia Meagher, but their most potent threats will come through the tall duo of Laura McClelland and Serena Gibbs forward of centre. Northern key back Sarah Sansonetti has been in terrific in recent weeks, and could well find herself playing on both of those Ranges talls throughout the game. While her role will prove vital, if the likes of Gabby Newton, Britney Gutknecht, and Ellie McKenzie are thrown into the middle at the same time as we have seen recently, it may be tough for the Ranges to venture forward in the first place. The versatility of those three will make a huge difference, and one would think the range of Knights weapons could well prove too much as it did in the side’s previous meeting. With Northern getting one back on Geelong two weeks ago to come in as the top seed, and Eastern suffering a defeat in their final regular season outing, this will be a tough mountain to climb for the Ranges.

KEY PLAYERS

Northern:

Gabby Newton

The Northern skipper has been sensational throughout the year, averaging almost 20 disposals over her eight NAB League games. Much has already been made of her basketball background, with the gun midfielder showing off her hops in the ruck at times and her equally impressive composure in traffic to no end. While her starting position will most likely be at the centre bounces, Newton’s role as a general behind the ball will be key in this clash – with a potent Eastern tall duo likely to line up down forward. Her intercept marking and overall overhead prowess is profound, so look for that to be a feature in this game along with her consistent ball-winning ability – with over 20 disposals in five games this year. Versatile and damaging, Newton is key.

Eastern:

Serena Gibbs

Gibbs is one of three Eastern talls who pose an enormous risk to the Northern defence, often trading time between centre half-forward and the ruck. If she is matched up on Northern’s Sarah Sansonetti, the clash becomes one of the more important ones for the game with the likes of Laura McClelland and Tahlia Merrett also able to be freed up should they play forward at the same time. Gibbs has found the goals in seven of her nine NAB League appearances, led by a dominant 3.4 from 18 disposals against Gippsland in Round 8. While her Round 9 return saw her collect under 10 disposals for just the third time, Gibbs has been a consistently dangerous threat and will be a key focal point this time around.

GEELONG FALCONS (2nd, 8-1) vs. CALDER CANNONS (3rd, 6-3)
Saturday May 18, 2:15pm
Shepley Oval, Dandenong

Round 9:
Geelong Falcons 8.7 (55) defeated Murray Bushrangers 1.1 (7)
Calder Cannons 5.7 (37) defeated Gippsland Power 1.0 (6)

Last Meeting:
Round 7 – Geelong Falcons 3.2 (20) defeated Calder Cannons 1.0 (6) @ RAMS Arena

MATCH PREVIEW

The Geelong Falcons bounced back well from their Round 8 loss to Northern – their first since May 2017 – to secure second place with a welcome return to form, toppling Murray by 48 points after conceding the first goal. Their depth across all lines is scary good, but their premiership defence has largely been built on a typically sturdy back six and dominant midfield, with their forward structure taking greater shape across the year. Abbey Chapman has led the league’s stingiest defence all year, with the Falcons’ highest score conceded (43) coming against Northern, while the likes of skipper Lucy McEvoy, Paige Sheppard, and Luka Lesosky-Hay have been instrumental in the engine room. Pair the inside grunt of those three with the outside class of Laura Gardiner and Darcy Moloney on either wing, and you have a midfield that is hard to beat to say the least. Mia Skinner has been the spearhead forward of centre, booting a league-high 18 goals – including two bags of four – having only been held goalless on two occasions, in Rounds 7 and 8. The Cannons have some firepower of their own, which more often than not comes from star duo, Georgia Patrikios and Georgie Prespakis. Both have the ability to not only find a wealth of the ball through the middle, but to also find the goals – exemplified by Prespakis’ bag of seven in Round 2 from full forward. Prespakis, the sister of Carlton star Maddie, has averaged 23.3 disposals over her eight games with two returns of over 30 touches, while Patrikios averages just over 22 in her seven outings, and the pair should provide a dynamism that Geelong will have to pay great attention to. Include talls at either end, such as the likes of Alana Barba up forward and Krstel Petrevski, along with Makeisha Muller at ground level, and there are some interesting moving parts to the Calder line-up. Having already gotten the better of Calder as recently as in Round 7, Geelong will be confident of repeating the feat and storming into another grand final. If Calder can again keep the Falcons to under four goals though, then anything can happen. Expect fireworks either way.

KEY PLAYERS

Geelong:

Lucy McEvoy

Able to be utilised on each line, the Falcons skipper is arguably her side’s most important player. An ultra-consistent force, McEvoy has only dropped below 20 disposals once in her eight games – incidentally in the Falcons’ only loss – to average 22.2 disposals per outing. Her presence at the centre bounces in undeniable, using her size to prize the ball out and her composure to flick out effective handballs to receivers. In general play, McEvoy utilises a booming kick to rebound and enter either arc, while positioning herself a kick behind the play to act as an impenetrable wall at both ends. Her overhead marking is a feature, but expect to see her mostly in the thick of the midfield action given Calder’s strength in that area.

Calder:

Georgia Patrikios

Patrikios is all but equal to McEvoy in her disposal output, but provides a different kind of threat from midfield. Having shown how damaging she can be on the outside during her bottom-age year, Patrikios has developed into a balanced midfielder very quickly, but is still often seen bursting away from congestion and delivering forward with aplomb. The Cannons star’s best game came in Round 7 against the Falcons, collecting 31 disposals and finding the goals, so she will hope to produce more of the same here. With the strength of Geelong’s midfield obvious, Patrikios’ point of difference in her pace will be key amidst that battle.

OAKLEIGH CHARGERS vs. TASMANIA DEVILS
Sunday May 19, 11:00am
Windy Hill

Oakleigh hosts Tasmania on neutral ground for a one-off friendly game, completing a hat-trick of Devils NAB League appearances. With Oakleigh narrowly missing finals, this game poises the travelling side against the best of the rest as finals gets underway, and will be a third opportunity for them to pick up a win in the competition. Tasmania entered in Round 7 with two games over three days, going down to Western by 37 points under Friday night lights, and giving Eastern a mighty scare just two days later. Oakleigh will be keen to finish off the season with another win to make it six all up, but the Devils showed their fighting spirit already and should provide a good test for the Chargers. The game will also be a curtain raiser for the NAB League boys clash between Gippsland and Greater Western Victoria at 1:00.

Tasmania monthly wrap: Tassie’s finest mix it with the best

IT has been a busy month in Tasmanian football, with the very best Under 18 boys and girls competing against talent from across the Country. Locally, both Lauderdale and Glenorchy have made undefeated starts to their Tasmanian State League (TSL) seasons, while the TSL Women’s kicked off on ANZAC Day with a big win for the reigning premiers. All that, and more in this month’s Tasmania football wrap.


DEVILS BEGIN NAB LEAGUE LIFE

The Tasmania Devils Under 18 representative team has been introduced to the NAB League Boys and Girls competitions over the past month as part of the league’s nation-wide expansion, with the boys already picking up a win on home turf and the girls completing their two-game cameo. Below is a wrap of how both sides fared in each game.

NAB League Boys:

Round 2 

Sydney Swans Academy 7.14 (56) defeated Tasmania Devils 6.6 (42)

Goals: W. Harper 2, J. Menzie 2, J. Callow, N. Baker
Best: J. Chaplin, O. Davis, S. Collins, L. Gadomski, J. Steele, M. McGuinness

The Devils endured a tough introduction to their NAB League campaign, but fought to the end in a 14-point loss to the Swans Academy. The home side led all day in Blacktown, gradually pushing out the lead despite inaccuracy in front of goal to build a 26-point buffer heading into the final break. The Devils rallied late to push a potential comeback, but their three final-term goals were not enough to bridge the gap in what was a low-scoring affair. Will Harper and Jye Menzie each put two goals on the board, with hulking key forward Jackson Callow adding one to ensure bottom-agers contributed five of Tasmania’s six majors. Nicholas Baker was the other Devil to find the goals, while overlooked North Melbourne Next Generation Academy (NGA) prospect Matthew McGuiness led the ball-winning stakes with 27 disposals. Ruckman Joseph Chaplin beat him out to best-afield honours with his 20-disposal and 25 hitout effort, while bottom-aged stars Sam Collins (22 disposals, nine rebound 50s) and Oliver Davis (19 disposals, six tackles) impressed at either end of the ground alongside midfield ace Mitch O’Neill (21 disposals, nine tackles, six inside 50s).

Round 3

Northern Territory 6.8 (44) defeated by Tasmania Devils 13.14 (92)

Goals: J. Callow 5, W. Peppin 2, M. McGuiness 2, J. Menzie, J. Hennessy, R. Mansell, J. Chaplin
Best: M. O’Neill, J. Callow, L. Viney, R. Mansell, J. Steele, O. Burrows-Cheng

Tasmania Devils claimed its first win as a full-time NAB League side at the second time of asking with a thumping 48-point win over the Northern Territory Thunder Academy. With the game played on neutral ground at the Holden Centre in Melbourne, the Devils were made to travel for a second-consecutive week, but the four points ensured this one was much more fruitful. It was all-Tasmania after the Devils conceded a quarter time defecit, booting four goals in each of the remaining three terms to romp to victory. Jackson Callow put his name in lights with a starring five-goal performance from 19 disposals and eight marks, adjudged to only be bettered by Mitch O’Neill‘s 35-disposal effort. Jake Steele was again amongst the best, with over-ager Rhyan Mansell (23 disposals, seven inside 50s, one goal) and hard-working midfielder Oliver Burrows-Cheng (17 disposals, seven tackles) also thereabouts. National Academy memeber Will Peppin and Tyler McGinniss joined Callow as multiple goal kickers with two apiece, while Matthew McGuiness (18 disposals, five rebound 50s) and Oliver Davis (22 disposals, six inside 50s) again found plenty of the ball at either end.

Round 4

Tasmania Devils 10.3 (63) defeated Calder Cannons 7.9 (51)

Goals: J. Callow 4, J. Hennessy 2, J. Menzie, R. Mansell, P. Walker, W. Peppin
Best: J. Callow, O. Shaw, J. Chaplin, R. Ashlin, L. Gadomski, J. Steele

The firsts continued in Round 4 for the Devils as they overcame a persistent Calder Cannons outfit by 12 points to register their first win on home turf. After a stalemate first term saw the sides only manage a behind each, Tasmania burst to life with five goals to one setting up a 21-point half time lead. Despite their best efforts, the depleted Cannons could not overcome the Devils as they hung on for a second-consecutive win in front of adoring home support in Penguin. Jackson Callow continued his hot form, with his 16 disposals, eight marks and four goals this time enough to claim best-on honours from defender Oscar Shaw (17 disposals, 12 marks). Jake Steele (24 hitouts) was named in the best for a third-straight week for his role as an undersized ruck alongside Joseph Chaplin (17 disposals, 23 hitouts), with the injury-hampered Lachlan Gadomski (20 disposals, six marks) returning his best game to date. Bottom-ager Patrick Walker and over-ager Nicholas Baker led all-comers for disposals with 24 each, as the former also managed to find the goals in a solid outing. 

Round 5

Tasmania Devils 3.8 (26) defeated by Western Jets 10.13 (73)

Goals: T. Penwright, I. Chugg, L. Gadomski
Best: O. Burrows-Cheng, P. Walker, M. McGuiness, B. Gordon, L. Viney, O. Shaw

Tasmania’s winning streak was snapped by the Western Jets after a week off from NAB League duties, with the Devils going down by 47 points in Launceston. The home ground advantage did not prove as telling for Tasmania this time out, though signs were promising early on. The Devils booted the first goal of the game through debutant Isaac Chugg and dominated general play in the first 10 minutes, but a lack of scoreboard pressure allowed Western to find their way to a quarter time lead. The Jets did not let up after that, scoring consistently in each quarter to eventually overpower the hosts and claim take the four points back to Melbourne. Oliver Burrows-Cheng was named best for the Devils on the back of his 22 disposals, six tackles and six inside 50s in a combative display, while Patrick Walker was this time recognised for leading the disposal count (25) with a slot in the best six players. Matt McGuiness (16 disposals) and Oscar Shaw (11) stood up alongside Walker in defence to also be named in the best, while Bailey Gordon matched his disposal count of 25 as another to play well. Lachlan Gadomski and Tyler Penwright joined Chugg as the Devils’ only goal scorers on a dirty day, with the absence of bottom-age Academy members and star man Mitch O’Neill proving telling in the defeat. 

NAB League Girls:

Round 7

Western Jets 5.8 (38) defeated Tasmania Devils 0.1 (1)

Goals: Nil
Best: E. Brickhill, E. Dixon, A. Prokopiec, H. Smith, M. King, A. Clark

Much like the boys, the Tasmania Devils girls encountered a tough introduction to the NAB League, going down to the tenth-paced Western Jets in a goalless Friday night outing. The home side goalled in every quarter to build the eventual 38-point winning margin, with best-afield Devil Ellen Brickhill (14 disposals) finally getting Tasmania on the board in the final term with a behind. 2018 Allies representative Mia King was Tasmania’s leading ball-winner with 16 disposals, named in the best alongside Brickhill, Amy Prokopiec (14, eight rebound 50s) and Angelica Clark (10 disposals). Skipper Hailee Baldwin also had a steady start, collecting nine disposals and laying two tackles. 

Eastern Ranges 3.3 (21) defeated Tasmania Devils 2.4 (16) 

Goals: H. Breward, B. Oates
Best: H. Smith, B. Oates, M. King, C. Lovell, P. King

The Devils followed up a disappointing opening game with a much-improved effort against the finals-bound Eastern Ranges, narrowly going down by five points. After leading the tight tussle at quarter, and three-quarter time, Tasmania looked on course for an unlikely upset victory – only for it to come unstuck via a late Serena Gibbs goal for Eastern. 19-year old Hayley Breward scored the Devils’ first ever NAB League goal, joined later on by Brianna Oates, who was named in the best for her 12 disposals. Mia King again led the disposal count as the only Devil to crack the 20-mark, with Killarney Morey the next best on 13. Hannah Smith was adjudged Tasmania’s best for her 12-disposal and four-mark effort, while Perri King had another 10 disposals in the midfield. Again not the result the travelling side was after, but plenty of development and the experience gained would have the Devils label the weekend an overall success. 

 

DEVILS SHINE ON NATIONAL STAGE

With state representative honours now a weekly theme for those in the Tasmania Devils squad, four Apple Isle products got the chance to go a step further and represent their nation this month.

After suiting up for Tasmania in three NAB League outings, midfield ace Mitch O’Neill had the honour taking part in the AFL Under-18 Academy showcase game against VFL side, Casey Demons at the MCG. The annual match, which this year feautured the best talent from across the country, allows the next crop of hopefuls to shine on the big stage against AFL and VFL-listed players. O’Neill contributed 11 disposals, six tackles, four clearances and a goal in a positive display, playing a key hand in the second half as the Academy side rolled over the top of Casey. The North Hobart product played in with typical Tasmanian spirit, putting his head over the ball on numerous occassions against bigger opponents and working hard throughout the game.

In the other annual national showcase, O’Neill’s bottom-age Devils teammates Jackson Callow (North Launceston), Sam Collins (North Hobart), and Oliver Davis (Clarence) took on New Zealand’s open-age side at Marvel Stadium on ANZAC Day weekend. The Under 17 Australians proved too strong for their cross-Tasman rivals in the Adelaide v. St Kilda curtain raiser, picking up a thumping 77-point win. All three played important roles in the win, and along with O’Neill will soon return to NAB League duties with Tasmania ahead of Allies squad selection. Callow had 10 disposals and four marks, as well as three tackles while running at 70 per cent efficiency. Collins stood up in defence with 10 touches at an elite 90 per cent efficiency as well as five marks and two tackles. Davis was a prominent player in the midfield, racking up 21 disposals at 71 per cent efficiency with less than three quarters on the filed, while taking six marks, three clearances and seven tackles in the win.

 

LAUDERDALE TOPS TSL

Lauderdale and Glenorchy boast perfect records after five rounds of TSL action, with the former topping the table having played an extra game. Reigning premiers North Launceston sit third with three wins after going down in a Round 4 grand final rematch, with Launceston a game behind them at 2-3, and Tigers (1-3) rounding out the top five as Clarence and North Hobart languish at the base of the ladder with no wins thus far. The Southern Bombers’ early-season form is merely a continuation of their late-season run in 2018 which cultimated in a grand final appearance from fifth, and they look the team to beat going into their first bye. North Launceston can spoil their nearest rivals’, Glenorchy’s, winning run when they clash at UTAS Stadium this weekend, while one of North Hobart or Clarence will claim its first win (barring a draw) as they meet to open Round 6. Glenorchy’s Aiden Grace tops the goal kicking and Player of the Year charts with 15 in four games, including a bag of five against North Hobart, with Blues player-coach Mitch Thorp the next best goal kicker with 13 on the back of his six-goal haul against the Demons. Northern Bomber Brad Cox-Goodyer is another who continues to find the goals, starting the season in good form, with ex-Hawk Kieran Lovell performing for Tigers. Lauderdale’s Sam Siggins joins Grace with six votes in the Player of the Year race, while Lovell, Jobi Harper (Launceston), Josh McGuinness and Haydn Smith (both Lauderdale) are all tied on five votes after excellent starts to the season.

 

NEW-LOOK TSLW KICKS OFF

An expanded TSL Women’s competition kicked off on ANZAC Day, with reigning premiers Glenorchy picking up where it left off with a 10.13 (73) to 1.0 (6) win over Tigers in Round 1’s only fixture. Magpie Nietta Lynch was instrumental in the vcictory with half of her side’s 10 goals, while Paige Flakemore booted Tigers’ only goal for the game. The season continues this week as all six sides are set to participate in a Gala Day at UTAS Stadium, with competition newcomers Lauderdale and North Launceston commencing proceedings at 11:00am in what should be a cracking showcase of Tasmanian female football.  

 

In AFL-related news, Tasmanian products Chayce Jones (Adelaide) and Tarryn Thomas (North Melbourne) each made their debuts at the highest level, with both impressing in respective roles forward of centre. Closer to home, Launceston was treated to a cracking match of AFL football between Carlton and Hawthorn, with the Hawks staging a remarkable second-half comeback to topple the Blues by just five points.

NAB League season preview: Tasmania Devils

TASMANIA becomes the new-look NAB League’s thirteenth side this year, competing week-in, week-out in the competition which provides over half of the AFL’s new talent come draft time. With a combination of raw prospects and proven talent shining through and looking to follow in the footsteps of 2018 draftees Chayce Jones, Tarryn Thomas, and Fraser Turner, the Devils are well placed to cause headaches for the established Victorian sides.

New AFL Tasmania Talent Football Manager Craig Notman said his side is excited by the opportunity this “unique challenge” presents, with Tassie talent now able to measure itself against the best on a weekly basis.

“In excess of 60 per cent of the draft population comes out of the NAB League so the opportunity for our boys to compete and effectively compare apples with apples I think actually helps our cause and what we’re trying to do,” Notman said. “I think it’s a different kettle of fish… for our kids, it’s a great opportunity for them and it’s great for footy in the state too so this is the first step in a really exciting journey.”

Leading the top-age talent this year is midfield ace Mitch O’Neill, who will be looking to build on his impressive 2018 season. Notman says the Allies representative is slowly building into form.

“When you look at previous form, Mitch has got some runs on the board,” Notman said. “He’s had an interrupted pre-season but just started to come into some games and some good form so we’re really looking forward to seeing how he goes first round against opposition.”

Others in the mix include over-age North Melbourne Next Generation Academy member, Matt McGuinness, as well as co-captain Nic Davis. Notman said the former will boost the side’s versatility, while the latter is improving key areas of his game.

“Matt had the opportunity to go to North Melbourne earlier on in the pre-season to play a trial game at senior level and performed quite well… he’ll play across half back, he’ll play on a wing, and he’ll play through the midfield at times I’m sure – he’s got great flexibility and a great left foot kick so we want to utilise that,” he said. “Baker has lead from the front in what he’s done in training and match sense to this point so I think he’s made some inroads into flaws that people perceived. “He’s racking up a lot of the ball in the midfield, he’s pushing forward taking grabs and hitting the scoreboard too which is really good to see.”

A successful 2018 Under 16 Division 2 campaign means the state’s bottom-age talent also “looks rosy”, with some likely types set to make an impact across all lines.

“The kids are coming on really nicely – I think the (Jackson) Callow‘s of the world, Sam Collins, Oliver Davis, those boys have been doing a really good job up until this point,” Notman said.

Callow is a solidly built key forward who may well double as a defender throughout the season, while Collins and Davis are tidy users who can play both across half back or through the midfield.

While the talent coming through is set to provide some exciting moments, the Devils are focussed on delivering a brand of football true to the state, playing on the reputation built by those before them.

“One of the big things in the game simulation that the boys want to work on was that they want to be hard at it, I think that’s a trait that’s been a Tassie trait in footy for a long period of time,” Notman said. “A lot of these boys have been playing state league footy against men so they’ve probably been forced out of their comfort zone a little bit… we want to keep the ball well and compete and be stronger – that’s the real key, to be a real competitive unit.”

Having swapped duties at the perennially successful Oakleigh Chargers for this Apple Isle pursuit, Notman hopes to use his notable experience to help the state make “the first step in a really exciting journey.”

“I think there’s a lot of things from the Oakleigh program that I’ve looked to bring into what we’re doing but at the same time, this is a unique program too and we want to have our own spin on things and drive it that way,” he said.

With a whole state to back them and more than just a region of talent to choose from, Notman is hoping a home ground advantage, slight as it may be, can make a difference throughout the season.

“The fact that we’re playing at home in front of family and friends and the footy community which is really getting behind the program I think that’ll give the boys a huge interest to get the best out of themselves,” Notman said. “In some cases some of the boys will be travelling further to get the home game than what the travelling sides will be… I think it’s an interesting one.”

The Devils may have to wait until Round 4 to play on home turf, but are set to kick off its NAB League campaign with a trip to Sydney to face the Swans Academy on Saturday.