The Tasmania Mariners have set off to take on the Brisbane Lions Academy, at Tidbold Park in Queensland at 9:30AM tomorrow.
This match is the third for Tasmania in the academy series, with promising outings in the first two, with a 13.10.88 to 5.9.39 win over Northern Territory and a narrow 12.5.77 to 14.4.88 loss to GWS.
This week’s match was originally scheduled for Saturday 1 April 2017 but was washed out due to extreme weather in Queensland.
Tasmania has had a week off since their meeting with GWS and Coach Lance Spaulding says the boys have been training well and are ready for the challenge of the Lions.
“We’ve trained really well and we are just looking forward to it.
“We’ve worked hard on shutting down the opposition receiver and trying to get some overlapping run into our game, they have been the key focus areas for us,” Spaulding said.
The Mariners will be without Ben McGuinness through an injured hip flexor, as well as Tarryn Thomas and Chayce Jones who are off to New Zealand, with the AFL Academy. Spaulding has assessed the opposition and sees some similarities between the Lions and his Mariners, with a key difference being their big men in the forward 50.
“They play a similar style to us where they go wide and try and run and carry it out of defence so it is very important that we are physical with them tomorrow and close them down early.
“They are big, they are handy at the contested footy, they use their hands well to move it quick and they get their numbers back and run it forward.
“They have three blokes at over 200 cms, it’s going to be important we get it going our way early so we cut supply to their big monsters.
“We are going to need to be good one on one and not get sucked into the contest, we are going to need to hold our ground,” Spaulding explained.
There are six changes to the team with North Launceston’s Tom Donnelly and Rhyan Mansell coming in, along with Burnie trio Blair Rubock, Ethan Jackson, and Jamieson House. Fellow Docker Thomas Mundy returns from injury, after being a late withdrawal versus GWS.
Spaulding said rotation has been planned and considered throughout the Academy Series, with a focus on not exposing too many Under 17s and fielding teams that can physically match their rivals.
“The whole way through we’ve been mindful of not having too many bottom agers in the side.
“We’ve got a fantastic group of 17 year olds but we thought against GWS that we got pushed around a bit and some of the younger ones looked a bit tired.
“We are giving some of our other under 17s a chance and we don’t want too many in at one go despite them all playing well. We need to be physically capable of staying with these sides all day,” Spaulding explained.
The Tasmania Coach has been pleased with the development of the team in a short time but believes their best is yet to come.
“I’m happy with how we are developing and happy to be giving more boys an opportunity this week.
“I don’t think we’ve played as well as I know we can, we’ve shown patches and our style of play is good but we’ve been sloppy in some areas.
“If we can get a little improvement out of each bloke on Saturday, we’ll go okay,” Spaulding said.
First bounce is at 9:30AM tomorrow morning at Tidbold part in Redlands Queensland.
TASSIE MARINERS U18s
BRISBANE LIONS ACADEMY U18s
at Tidbold Park Redlands
9:30am Saturday 22 April 2017
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