The NTFA didn’t need to dig deep to overcome the SFL’s second-string representative side, but may have unearthed a future star nevertheless.
A seven-goal haul to Rocherlea teenager Brayden Claridge helped the NTFA assemble a 25.15 (165) to 1.7 (13) victory in a match which was somewhat overshadowed by the SFL’s lead-in dramas.
Excitement for the NTFA’s first representative game in five years was marred by a lack of support and interest from its Southern counterpart and despite the best efforts of those who eventually lined up for the SFL, the contest was a mismatch from the opening term.
“The scoreboard probably told a story - they were very under-prepared,” NTFA coach Aaron Viney said.
“They had a falling out through the process, they changed coaches - (Jon Murray) took them on in the last week and I think they were struggling for players so we were lucky we actually got a game today.
“It was disappointing the SFL didn’t put up much of a fight, but against any side I think we would have come out on top the way we played today.
“The guys did exactly what I asked them to - the buy-in I had from our guys was sensational and the 22 we took down did the job beautifully and I couldn’t have asked for any more.”
South Launceston’s Jordan Tepper was the standout early for Viney’s men, who put four goals on the board before SFL scored its first and only major through Elijah Reardon.
Claridge added his first on the stroke of quarter time and didn’t add another until the 13th minute of the third term.
Another five were to come as the NTFA’s youngest player formed a fearsome forward partnership with George Town veteran Allan O’Sign (five goals).
“Brayden was pretty quiet in the first half but once he got his confidence up he was untouchable,” Viney said.
“To end up with seven goals for a 17-year-old kid… he could have been playing in the under-18 game so to come out and get best on ground in the senior game was an awesome effort from him.”
Nathan Pearce and Jacob Knight provided plenty of run for the winners, while Geoff Mohr and Joshua Moore ran the defensive 50 with aplomb.
Viney said he would welcome more representative games in the future.
“I hope rep footy goes ahead because the NTFA has a huge amount of talent.”
The NTFA also won comfortably in the under-18s, overcoming a quarter-time deficit to win by 64 points.
Jonty Lanham won best on ground for a dominant display through the midfield, while Deloraine’s Oliver Proudfoot, Callum Smith and Jarrod Scott impressed.
George Town’s Chev Deacon kicked four goals including the first of the match.