Tassie Mariners win opening game of AFL academy series against Gold Coast Suns

LISTEN UP: Tassie Mariners take in coach Lance Spaulding's instructions amid the clash with Gold Coast Suns Academy. Picture: AFL Tasmania
LISTEN UP: Tassie Mariners take in coach Lance Spaulding's instructions amid the clash with Gold Coast Suns Academy. Picture: AFL Tasmania

Launceston midfielder Chayce Jones broke the game wide open on Saturday for the Tassie Mariners in what was another step towards restoring state pride.

Jones dominated throughout the middle and kicked four goals in the resounding win against the Gold Coast Suns Academy at Blacktown. 

A scintillating eight-goal second term set up a comfortable 45-point victory during the opening round of the AFL academy series.

The under-18 state team turned around a six-point quarter-time deficit into a healthy 37-point lead at half-time to eventually win the clash, 15.9 (99) to 8.6 (54).

The resurgent win was another early-season morale boost for the Mariners program that has picked up the pieces since the disastrous 2016 campaign. 

The Mariners appeared in disarray, with a winless Tasmania on the end of a series of huge defeats that year.

But the return of stalwart coach Lance Spaulding to the helm coincided with stability and a string of victories.  

Launceston teammates were also stirring behind the performance on Saturday.

Tim Auckland controlled the Mariners game in the ruck, as Blair Rubock proved dangerous with ball in hand, adding a further three goals.

Former Burnie star Tom Mundy, who has shifted across to Launceston this year since the demise of the Dockers, returned to the side with three goals.

Blues talent Jared Dakin kicked two goals while Jamieson House also racked up a number of touches.