A SPIRITED and ruthless Tasmania toppled South Australia by three goals on their home deck in Adelaide on Saturday, leading from start to finish.
Coach Lance Spaulding praised his under-18 side’s tackling execution and contested pressure around a sweeping AAMI Stadium surface – winning 14.7 (91) to 11.6 (72).
“Their pressure, the way they went about it and their physicality was just fantastic – I’ve never seen anything like it,” Spaulding said post match.
“It was state on state today, Tassie versus South Australia … and we are fully aware that we carry enormous responsibility when we play these state games.
“South Australia came at us a couple of times but the boys sorted it out and got back on top. It was warm and played on a big ground and the opposition certainly knew that we were alive and up and about.”
Their pressure, the way they went about it and their physicality was just fantastic – I’ve never seen anything like it.
The Mariners led by a solitary goal at quarter time, 19 points at the main change and controlled the match by as much as 29 points with a term to play.
Spaulding said his charges began to tire towards the end but never gave up.
Launceston trio Jake Hinds, Tim Auckland and Ryan Tyrell were instrumental in the victory along with captain Lachlan Clifford and his Tigers teammate Lachlan Gadomski.
Glenorchy’s Harrison Pearce (four) and North Launceston gun Tarryn Thomas (three) combined for half of the Mariners’ majors, while Harrison Gunther and Zac Buechner finished with two apiece.
Single goalkickers were Toby Cowen, Rhyan Mansell and Tyson Hanslow.
“Our backs were fantastic, Hinds was just unbelievable in the back end of the ground with Gadomski and co,” Spaulding said.
“It was one of those games where 16 or 17 blokes had their best game of the year but it was more about how they went as a team.
“They worked so hard for each other, I reckon they had about 100 tackles and I’m not exaggerating.”
Spaulding said he had been impressed by they way the team had grown throughout the academy series and the one-off state game.
“The way they have come together as a team is one area they have improved, it is not easy coming from three different areas,” he said.
“They have had a big focus on what it means to be a member of a team and that effort and energy are really important ingredients in where you’re going.”