Greater Northern Raiders will attempt to put emotion to one side for their season opener over a former teammate's ongoing health issues with a growing brain tumour.
Jono Marsden had been an integral part of last season's Raiders squad, playing three matches for the Cricket Tasmania Premier League side.
Coach Andrew Gower said until recent concerns over a rise in seizures, Marsden was in the picture to continue playing a role this summer.
"That was what he wanted to do this year," Gower said.
"We had spoke preseason about being our back-up keeper to Alistair Taylor.
"To really work hard on his game and play some good cricket back at NTCA level.
"We had that conversation and from that he was keen to play for the Raiders because he wanted to play the next level of cricket that he can."
The seizures were later found out to be the result of the tumour's size growing exponentially that will require urgent surgery, expected to cost around $100,000.
Gower is keen to galvanise the tight playing group.
He nearly went as far to say the club would dedicate the season to their teammate.
"We haven't spoken about it as yet because it's came to our attention in the last few days," Gower said.
"We really haven't met as a group, but all the boys have been chatting together and we're 100 per cent supportive of Jono. He had been a key member of the inaugural Raiders last year and played some good cricket.
"While he wasn't in the initial squad this year, he certainly was a part of the under-19 pathway academy.
"He was also training early doors until this setback.
"We're right behind him and his family. So we'll look at ways of how we can support him through this period."
The Raiders were aware of his health predicament last year, but doctors told the family that he could continue playing with the right dose of medication and that surgery would not be required.
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The Marsdens have raised almost $50,000 by Monday night through their Go Fund Me page - Johnathan Marsden's Battle with Brain Tumour - as community support swells for the 18-year-old inside just five days.
Gower believes the shock news will have a profound effect ahead of Saturday's away clash against Clarence.
Marsden had first formed close friendships with Raiders pair Jake Williams and Blake Cassidey from their school days together at St Patrick's College and is also a South Launceston teammate with Raider James Beattie.
"There will always be that in the back of the mind. There is always someone doing it tougher than what you are, that's for sure," Gower said.
"Cricket is just a game.
"So we just have to stick together as a group and get around each other.
"There are all sorts of things that go on throughout the season with injury or disappointment over players not getting selected, but Jono more so will definitely be at the forefront of our minds going into the season.
"We don't want that happening to anybody, especially a kid of his age."
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