Tasmania out to win hard football

HAVING already witnessed today's opposition in action, Tasmania's match-day coach Brett Geappen is confident he knows how to disarm the hard-running NEAFL outfit at Bellerive Oval.

Western Storm's Bart McCulloch will play a key role up forward for Tasmania today.

Western Storm's Bart McCulloch will play a key role up forward for Tasmania today.

The visitors, made up of the best players from the ACT, Northern Territory and Queensland, have already had one representative game this year, an 85-point loss to the WAFL last month, with Geappen saying he has a real understanding of the way they set up.

Despite the big loss, the NEAFL won more of the ball than the WAFL, a stat that Geappen isn't taking lightly.

Former Sydney Swans listed midfielder Matt O'Dwyer was the NEAFL's best that day, with Geappen saying he, Northern Territory midfielder Cam Illett and former Richmond forward Cleve Hughes, who has kicked 44 goals this season, were three that needed to be stopped.

``But we can't focus entirely on them, we have to make sure we get our defensive structure up and going,'' he said.

``We won't do any full-on tags, with a collective team defence rather than individual, so hopefully these defensive methods we've put in place can counteract their attacking movements.

``Some things that worked for the WAFL we'll take and tinker with, but for us the focus is team defence, with a lot of our drive coming from our half-back line with our quality ball-users there.''

While he knows he's got some significant forward aces in his pack, Geappen is focused on the hard-ball stat.

``While we will have a forward-line strength with Jason Laycock, Aaron Cornelius, Bart McCulloch and James Charlesworth, like most games of footy it will be won at the coalface.

``If we can match them in there with our midfield and half-back flankers, we'll go a long way to winning the game.''

Geappen was confident his debutants, North Launceston's Andrew Cox-Goodyer, Mitch Van den Berg and Taylor Whitford, the Storm's Matt and Will Hanson and Lauderdale's Elijah Taylor, would be able to have an impact in their first outing wearing the famous Tasmanian jumper.

Today's game starts at 2pm.

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