A battered but resilient Australian under-21 rowing team has kept its hopes afloat ahead of the second Trans-Tasman regatta next month.
Taking on New Zealand in Penrith late last week, Australia was hit by a spate of injury and illness which did little to help the hosts' cause, but did allow a third North Esk rower to take his place in the green and gold.
Teen rower Joseph Wilson was called up to join clubmates Connor Ryan and Jack Barrett and performed admirably, finishing just shy of the medals despite limited preparation.
Australia will take a 30-point deficit into the second leg at Lake Karapiro starting August 22, but was well-serviced by its Tasmanian contingent.
"As far as individuals went, Connor went really well," North Esk coach Trevor Barrett said.
"He had to race four single races in one day because of injury.
"He had to step up and do the heavyweight single heat final and then the lightweight reserve heat final ... to race four times within four hours is an unbelievable effort to be honest.
"He just got pipped of winning a gold medal in his reserve, he got third in the heavyweight single so he did pretty well in that."
Ryan wasn't the only one asked to take on a different role for the sake of the team.
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"Jack had to go up into the sweep because most injuries were in the scullers and Joseph is a sculler so Joseph came in to do sculling," Barrett said.
"He got fourth in the heavyweight single, and Jack went up into the heavyweight pairs and ended up winning with a guy from Queensland whose partner got sick, so as far as the boys went they went really well.
"To get three in the Australian team from the one club is pretty well unheard of.
"Their performances were outstanding and Joseph who got the late call-up - he had been training but not to the same level... to be able to compete and be competitive, he did a fantastic job."
Tasmania's involvement wasn't just limited to those in the water, with TIS duo Brett Crow and Brendan Long tasked with coaching the under-21s in trying circumstances.
Barrett praised the pair for leading a makeshift team with character and a positive attitude.
"As far as the coaching went Brendan and Brett Crow did a brilliant job to keep the boys and girls going," he said.
"A lot of other coaches would have whinged and moaned and dropped their bundle, but they kept them all positive and did a really good job."
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