THE Tassie Mariners did their state proud and got their 2015 AFL national championships off to a winning start with a two-point victory over New South Wales-ACT in Queensland on Saturday.
The Mariners led by four goals at three-quarter time and withstood a last quarter fightback by the Rams to hold on for a 10.12 (72) to 10.10 (70) victory.
“I’m a bit washed-out and I feel like I played a game myself,” state under-18 coach Adam Sanders said after the win.
“They probably had a three or four goal wind in the final quarter they were coming home with.
“They kicked a two or three in a row and got back to about four points and then we kicked a settling goal but we let one through with about a minute to go and we just hung on and hoped.”
Sanders said the effort of his players was terrific indicated by a tackle count of 87 for the game.
“They were absolutely fantastic the way they went about it,” he said.
“We had a few plans in place and we’re not a big side but we wanted to make sure we had options to go to for the ball carrier and what I really liked was they took it on and tried to play the way we asked them to.
“We needed a goal badly in the last quarter and Nick Dodge kicked it for us, which was great.”
Lauderdale’s Dodge finished with three goals with two each to Glenorchy’s Brady Quinn and Mitch Rainbird and Lauderdale’s Isaac Franks.
Kingston’s Kieran Lovell continued his outstanding form to be best on ground for the Mariners with 42 possessions and four clearances.
Launceston’s Jack Donnellan played well in his first game with 21 touches off half-back, Devonport’s Tyler Gavralas in defence had 20, Clarence’s Mitch Hibberd had 30 possessions playing off a wing, Jordan Hayden had a good captain’s game with plenty of other good contributors.
“I reckon it was nearly as raucous a song that we have sung in my time,” Sanders said.
“We put a lot of emphasis on them having pride for playing for their state a little island state playing out of their weight division and everyone in Tassie should be proud of the boys and the way they went about it.”
The Mariners play Queensland in their next game on Saturday at Simmonds Stadium in Geelong.
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