Blues determined to weather Storm

LAUNCESTON finds itself in the unusual position of being the underdog when it kicks off its State League season against the Western Storm at Aurora Stadium tomorrow.

The Blues have had a significant turnover of players in the off-season while the Storm boasts a strong nucleus of former South Launceston premiership players and was impressive in its second half demolition of Devonport last week.

"They looked very fit and strong but obviously have some kids at the bottom end that they are bringing through like any club," Launceston coach Scott Stephens said.

"They look like being a good side but we have to find a way around that.

"They probably don't have as many avenues to goal as they once did so that's probably an area we can target."

Stephens said he believed the Blues still had a good depth to their list, if not the number of experienced players from previous seasons.

"Everyone looks at our side and sees the departures - if that's the attitude they come in with they are going to get a real shock.

"I'm confident in the players I'm selecting this week that they can compete and can be competitive in every game we play.

"We just have to teach them how to play senior footy and train them to play good quality senior footy consistently over four quarters."

The Blues have a full list available and could have up to four senior debutants this week in Casey Reissig, Chae Evans, Hamish Leedham and Brayden Pitcher.

Western Storm coach Mitch Hills was keen to improve on the side's first-up win and make a better start against Launceston.

The Storm has added forward Shaun Collis to its line-up for his first game for the club as another forward option, and former Bracknell player Callum Mulder.

Trent Page is likely to miss out with a shoulder injury.

NORTH LAUNCESTON travels to West Park to play Burnie in its season opener.

The Bombers have a full list apart from Callen Young who broke his leg in round 17 last season and Jake Foon who broke his leg in the preseason.

They have named recruits Damien Medwin, Josh Ponting, Andrew Cox- Goodyer, Corey Nankervis and Ryan Worn for the first game.

"Counting the Western Storm, we play the top four from last year in the first four rounds - it's an exciting challenge and we'll know where we are at after four weeks," Northern Bombers coach Zane Littlejohn said.

Burnie looks to again be a strong contender, having retained most of the players from last season's side that finished runner-up to South Launceston, including the likes of Jason Laycock, Darren Banham, Kade Munday, Luke Shackleton, Rudy Barrett and Rohan Baldock.

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