No luck in land of giants for NEAFL

A LAND of giants wearing the Tasmanian map on their chest were far too much for the NEAFL to counter yesterday in their representative match at Hobart's Bellerive Oval.

Specifically two giants in particular.

One with the name of Jason Laycock, who took home the Lefroy Medal as the best on ground, and the other Bart McCulloch, who again showed how much he enjoys representing his state.

The two big men, who stand at 201 and 197 centimetres respectively, were giant not only in physical stature, but in performance, as Tasmania won 18.12 (120) to 12.7 (79).

Jason Laycock

Jason Laycock

Laycock used his size and strength to outmuscle the visitors all over the ground, while McCulloch's marking, especially inside forward 50, was a joy to watch.

Combine this with intense pressure all over the ground and the resultant dominance with the contested ball, and match-day coach Brett Geappen had a winning recipe.

It didn't look so rosy early on when Chris Dunne goaled for the NEAFL in the opening 40 seconds, but after a frenetic start when three goals were kicked by both sides via as many forward 50 entries, the Map tightened the screws.

James Charlesworth was on fire early, kicking two in the first term as Tassie opened up a 20-point lead, 6.1 (37) to 2.5 (17).

The NEAFL showed fight in the second term, outscoring the home team by five points, with a magical Eddie Sansbury goal and two late majors from Dunne giving it genuine hope.

But then the McCulloch show took place in the second half, taking three huge grabs in the third term, but not taking the opportunity in front of goal.

Tasmania's 5.6 to 1.4 quarter gave it the 41-point lead it would have at the final siren.

While Laycock and McCulloch stood out, they had plenty of mates who would be proud of their performance in what was the ultimate team effort.

Darren Banham, Thane Bardenhagen, Harry Walters, Matt Hanson, Jaye Bowden and Jay Blackberry were all strong contributors across the ground, while Charlesworth finished with four goals, McCulloch three, Laycock two and Aaron Cornelius two.

For the NEAFL, Dunne bagged three, as did Cleve Hughes, with skipper Cameron Ilett, Sansbury and Adrian Williams among its best.

Post-game, Geappen admitted he went in with some worries coming up against a team with plenty of former AFL-listed players that is known for its pace.

``But it came back to our pressure,'' he said.

``Without that pressure, we would have been touched up by a similar margin.

``The effort from the start was the traditional way Tassie teams have played in the past.

``We knew if our pressure was good and our big guys were doing the job [we would win].''

NEAFL coach Daniel Archer admitted an ability to match Tasmania with the contested ball had been costly and his midfielders had not adapted to conditions that were a little more slippery than what they are used to in Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Tasmania 18.12 (120)

NEAFL 12.7 (79) 


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