Devils set for Swans season opener

The Tasmania Devils will open their NAB League Boys season when they take on the Sydney Swans Academy this Sunday April 10. The game will be played as part of a huge double-header at the Blacktown International Sportspark, with the Devils girls playing a curtain raiser against the GWS Giants Academy.

Match details:

Girls Winter Series, Tasmania Devils vs GWS Giants Academy: 9:30 AM
NAB League Boys, Tasmania Devils vs Sydney Swans Academy: 12:00 PM

The NAB League Boys clash will be broadcast live, with the stream available via the NAB League app.

It will be a new-look Devils outfit in the NAB League Boys this season, with a plethora of debutants and a new head coach in Jeromey Webberley. There will still be plenty of experience on the field, though, led by co-captains Sam Banks-Smith and Lachie Cowan. Banks-Smith played three NAB League games last season while also captaining Tasmania’s under-17 side, while Cowan made seven NAB League appearances and quickly became a key cog in the Devils side. Both will be looking to lead from the front in their first game as captains.

The Devils, coming off the round one bye, will look to start the year in style against a Sydney Swans Academy outfit with a game already under its belt. The Swans suffered a 69-point loss to the Northern Knights, and they struggled to get first use of the ball out of the midfield against a strong outfit. Still, that game was an opportunity for them to shake off the pre-season cobwebs.

 

Last time they met

The Devils travelled to New South Wales in round eight last season and came home with a win, beating the Swans by four points. Five players kicked two goals apiece for the Devils in a balanced display, including current players Will Splann, Seth Campbell and Sam Banks-Smith. For the Swans, Felix Rogers was everywhere and racked up 26 disposals and two goals.

Team news

With this being the first game of a new campaign, it will be fresh faces aplenty for the boys in the Map. 15 players will be making their debut – Will Clifford, Josh Gillow, Connor Leeflang, Luke Nicholson, Isaac Hyatt, Beau Nash, Jack Callinan, Dillon Goss, Colby McKercher, Brandon Leary, Ethan Hubbard, Heath Ollington, Oscar Van Dam, Fletcher Hooker and Arie Schoenmaker.

Leadership group member Tom Beaumont is unavailable due to injury.

Selected side:

B: #30 Will Cliffford (Kingborough), #39. Joshua Gillow (Launceston), #41 Connor Leeflang (North Launceston)

HB: #15 Lachlan Cowan (North Launceston – C), #37. Tom McCallum (Clarence), #12 Luke Nicholson (Glenorchy)

C: #31 Isaac Hyatt (Launceston), #33 Liam Jones (Launceston), #38. Bryce Alomes (Clarence)

HF: #2 Jack Callinan (Clarence), #7 Will Splann (North Hobart), #3 Dillon Goss (Latrobe)

F: #27 Colby McKercher (Launceston), #23. Cameron Owen (Clarence), #1 Brandon Leary (North Launceston)

FOLL: #11 Logan Elphinstone (North Hobart), #5 Beau Nash (Wynyard), #13 Seth Campbell (North Launceston),

INT: #16 Fletcher Hooker (Lauderdale), #18. Heath Ollington (North Launceston), #21 Arie Schoenmaker (Launceston), #28 Oscar Van Dam (North Launceston), #32 Ethan Hubbard (North Launceston), #35 Sam Banks-Smith (North Hobart – C)

 

Key players

Tasmania Devils

Will Splann

After a strong finish to the 2021 season, Splann returns to the Devils this year and looms as one of the top talls in the competitions. He averaged 9 disposals and 3.4 marks per game last season, but hauls of three goals against Murray and Calder highlighted his sky-high potential. With the ability to play forward or back, he will give the Devils a lot of flexibility and huge upside at either end of the ground.

Brandon Leary

Leary will make his NAB League debut in round two after a dominant 2021 season in the Tasmanian State League. Playing for runners-up North Launceston, he earned selection in the TSL Team of the Year after booting 36 goals in 17 games, and he continued that form with three goals in the Bombers’ round one win a fortnight ago. With lightning speed and superb forward craft, he will be a real handful for NAB League defences.

Leary had a breakout 2021 TSL campaign with North Launceston. IC: Solstice Digital

Sydney Swans Academy

Felix Rogers

Rogers was a standout when these sides met last season, and he impressed once again in round one. Despite his side suffering a heavy loss, he still kicked two goals to go along with 16 disposals. A prolific midfielder with the ability to drift forward and kick goals, he will need plenty of attention around the stoppages.

Luke Giacometti

After playing three games for the Swans last season, Giacommetti looks set to take his game to another level in 2022. He racked up 27 disposals and seven marks in round one, and he used the ball with purpose to finish with six rebound 50s and seven inside 50s. With a high football IQ and the ability to read the play, he is a damaging player from the half-back line.