Blues must maintain pressure: Stephens

SUSTAINING intensity and pressure for four quarters will be crucial if Launceston is to beat Devonport in their State League clash at Windsor Park tomorrow.

Blues coach Scott Stephens said his young side needed to improve defensively as it attempts to grab its third win of the season and celebrate Beau Green's club games record with a victory.

Devonport beat Launceston by 52 points in their last encounter in round 6 but Stephens was confident they could turn that result around on their home ground with some key players back.

``We'd like to get a win for Beau and what he has given to the club over a number of years and it would be a fitting way to repay him for his service,'' Stephens said.

``We were well and truly in the game last time and probably should have been leading at half-time but they came out on put some pressure on us and we couldn't go with them in the second half, which was the difference.

``We need to make sure we're playing consistently over the four quarters and with a few additions coming back in this week we're pretty confident the boys can challenge for a win.''

Stephens was disappointed by the Blues' performance in losing to Hobart City by 64 points before the bye.

``The effort has been there especially over the past three weeks but defensively we need to get better,'' he said.

``It's what we've been looking at and our focus _ being better defensively in the forward line, midfield and defending the back half, so it is all over the ground being a better defensive side.

``I think early in games it's not too bad but I think it comes down to sustaining the intensity and pressure for a period of time.

``Also, when the opposition gets a run on we seem to be struggling to put that road-block up to stop them from scoring or shutting the game down so we can get some control back in our favour so we need to get better in that area.''

Stephens said inexperience played a part in that but insisted skill level does not dessert players and it was a matter of remaining confident and composed between the ears when the pressure was on.

Launceston will be strengthened by the return of Michael Musicka and Tom Cleary from injury, Cleary playing his first game since the club's last win against the Tigers in round 5.

``Obviously Beau Green is back and we have some players in the colts who have been in good form and who will put pressure on for selection in brothers Zach and James Griffiths, Sam Rawlings and Hamish Leedham who has been performing well in the ruck,'' he said.

Experienced defender Gary Shipton remains sidelined with a groin problem and is struggling to get back to play the six games he needs to reach the 250-game milestone before the end of the season.


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