The Tasmania Devils under-17 and under-19 boys travelled to Brisbane last Friday for a huge double-header against Queensland, and while they came home with mixed results, both sides impressed throughout. The under-17s were dominant from start to finish in the opening game, winning every quarter and running away with a 37-point victory, while the under-19s started slowly before storming home late and ultimately falling short by just two points.
Tasmania 4.3 6.5 9.10 14.12 (96)
Queensland 2.0 3.2 6.3 9.5 (59)
Tasmania: Campbell 4, Callinan 3, Lee, Alomes, Beaumont, McCallum, Leeflang, Cowan, Ollington
Queensland: Baines 2, Langan 2, Fyffe, McMillan, Ryschka, Gejas, Young
The Devils under-17s got away to a perfect start in their game, kicking the first goal inside the opening three minutes and continuing to push from there. It wasn’t all one-way traffic in the early exchanges, though, as Queensland hit back quickly with their first major to level the scores. The Devils locked the ball inside their attacking 50 for long stretches in the first quarter, with a tidy snap from Declan Lee giving them a slight buffer, but Queensland promptly hit back again with a goal of their own.
That would be as close as the hosts would get for the rest of the day, though, as the fantastic defensive pressure of the Devils began to take its toll. Goals to Connor Leeflang and Seth Campbell gave the visitors a 15-point lead at the first change, and they raced further ahead when Campbell snagged his second less than 30 seconds into the second term. That was one of only two goals for the Devils in the quarter, but they allowed just one major to Queensland as they dominated the clearances and continued to work defensively. Ryley Sanders was unstoppable through the midfield in the first half, racking up 18 disposals before the main break, and he and his fellow midfielders were well serviced by Cameron Owen in the ruck.
A 21-point lead at half-time was a deserved reward for effort, and it quickly grew after the main break. They struck immediately once again with a goal in the first 30 seconds of the third term, this time through a snap from Thomas Beaumont. That was the first of three unanswered goals for Tasmania inside the opening 11 minutes of the quarter, with the lead ballooning to 40 points. To Queensland’s credit, they fought back late in the term and started to shift the momentum as they lifted their intensity, and they were rewarded with three goals in a row that brought the deficit back to 25 points at the last break.
The Devils steadied with an early goal in the fourth quarter, with Campbell once again kicking truly for his third of the day. Queensland continued to battle and hit back with two quick goals just minutes later, but the Devils kept their composure and piled on four of the last five goals to kill off the contest. Campbell led the Devils forwards with four goals, closely followed by Jack Callinan with three, while Sanders finished with a game-high 31 disposals and six inside-50s.
Tasmania 1.2 2.7 3.9 8.12 (60)
Queensland 1.4 5.5 8.8 9.8 (62)
Tasmania: O.Sanders 2, Collins, Davies, Gillow, Menzie, Splann, McIvor
Queensland: Briskey 3, Bella 2, Pescud, Triffett, Tasker, Fletcher
It was an end-to-end start to the under-19s game, with the Devils absorbing plenty of pressure in their backline and transitioning forward with purpose. They were rewarded with the game’s first goal when Oliver Davis found Will Splann on the lead inside 50, with the North Hobart forward kicking truly. The Queenslanders peppered the goals through the rest of the term but could only manage one major themselves, leaving the Devils just two points behind at quarter time.
Queensland started the second quarter in spectacular fashion with a huge mark and goal in the opening minutes, and that was the first of four consecutive goals they would kick in quick succession. That left the Devils reeling, suddenly behind by 26 points just ten minutes into the second term. They did well to steady and claw back some momentum through the rest of the quarter, with Bailey Gillow pulling a goal back with a lovely kick on the run. The Devils could have made more headway on the scoreboard, but five behinds in the quarter saw them still trailing by 16 points at the main break.
The third quarter followed a similar script, with Queensland attacking in waves and quickly adding to their tally with the first three goals of the period. That blew the margin back out to 34 points, and while the Devils continued to battle hard defensively and make some positive plays in possession, they struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard. A strong mark and goal to Jonty McIvor in the dying moments gave the Devils some momentum heading into the final term, but they would still need a mountain of work to get back into the contest.
They made the perfect start to the final quarter, with Davis winning the opening centre clearance and Sam Collins converting with an early goal. Suddenly able to lock the ball inside their attacking 50 with their immense pressure, the Devils added the next two goals from Queensland turnovers through Oliver Sanders and Jye Menzie. That brought Tasmania back within ten points with plenty of time on the clock, but Queensland upped their intensity and the goals dried up for both teams. It was the home side that finally found a crucial breakthrough, with a quick transition and goal moving them 14 points clear with 16 minutes gone.
The Devils weren’t done yet, though, as Sanders let fly with a booming kick from 60 metres out that flew through for an important goal minutes later. When Alex Davies kicked a tidy checkside goal shortly after, the margin was back to just two points with more than 22 minutes gone. That was enough time for the Devils to repel a Queensland attack and race forward, with a rushed kick out of the middle landing on the chest of Sam Tilley as the siren sounded. That gave him a shot after the siren to win the game, but from 60 metres out he pushed his effort wide as Queensland just barely hung on for the win. Sanders was at his dynamic best throughout the game, finishing with 26 disposals and two goals, while Davis dominated at the stoppages with 25 disposals and an equal game-high four clearances.