Hobart City Demons finish season with a bang

Written by Alex FitzGerald

A powerful display from midfield trio Will Campbell, Eddie Cole and Ryan Matthews has seen the Hobart City Demons end their 2017 campaign on a high note, defeating the Tigers by 19 points in a fiery encounter under lights at North Hobart Oval on Friday night.

After booting seven majors to the Tiger’s five in a free-flowing first term, the hosts limited their opponent’s scoring opportunities during the second and third quarters to claim a morale-boosting 14.12 (96) to 11.11 (77) win, just missing a finals berth by percentage as a result.The opening term saw goals scored by both sides at will, with the Tigers kicking away to an early 13 point advantage with five of the first seven majors.  From then on the momentum was all the Hobart City Demons’ way, with the hosts piling on the final five goals in red time to take a 7.2 (44) to 5.2 (32) lead into the first break.

The opening term saw goals scored by both sides at will, with the Tigers kicking away to an early 13 point advantage with five of the first seven majors.  From then on the momentum was all the Hobart City Demons’ way, with the hosts piling on the final five goals in red time to take a 7.2 (44) to 5.2 (32) lead into the first break.

Tigers forward Hugh Dixon had the crowd on their feet after climbing on Liam Azzopardi’s shoulders to haul down a huge mark in the opening stages of the second quarter, but an arm-wrestle between the two sides followed, with just three goals scored for the term.  Hobart City Demons kicked two to the Tigers’ one to head into the rooms at the main break with an extended 9.6 (60) to 6.5 (41) lead.

The third stanza saw the host do all of the attacking to no avail, with Mitch Carter repelling almost every forward foray inside the first 20 minutes in a determined display.  Enter 16-year-old third-gamer Mitchell O’Neill, who performed a bold blind turn and kicked a brilliant banana goal to break the deadlock for the Hobart City Demons.  At three-quarter time a melee broke out, perhaps out of frustration from the Tigers, who faced a 7.9 (51) to 10.10 (70) deficit heading into their final quarter of the season.

Retiring Tigers captain Tim Peterson urged his charges to fight hard during his final address, but the hosts came out firing, with sensational goals to Jonty Barwick, Eddie Cole and captain Hugh Williams all but sealing the result.  The visitors managed to slot three late majors but their efforts came all too late, with Hobart City Demons holding on for a resilient 19 point win at the final siren.

Hobart City Demons assistant coach Richard Robinson was all smiles after the match, but conceded his side could’ve capitalised more in the early stages of the match.

“It was a good win; I think the margin could’ve been greater if we’d made the most of our inside 50’s in the first half..  We had over thirty, and we haven’t had over thirty in a whole game (all season).

“We wanted to finish the season off on a positive note; last year we had six and a half wins and after tonight we’ve ended up on nine, so that’s the improvement you want from a young group.”

The hosts were well served by midfielders Will Campbell, Eddie Cole and Ryan Matthews, who ran hard to finish with two goals each, with the former earning the praise of Robinson.

“I thought he (Campbell) was dominant; he’s had a sensational season from where he was 12 months ago.  He broke the lines continually and his defensive pressure was awesome all night.”

Forwards Charlie White and Josh Williamson also provided a target in attack all evening to finish with two majors apiece, while teenagers Baxter Norton and Mitchell O’Neill provided fans with an exciting glimpse of the future.

For Tigers coach Aaron Vince, it was another case of his side starting well before falling away.

“Their (Hobart City Demons’) run and spread from half back and through the midfield was really good.  We looked up and about early, but we just couldn’t sustain the effort for the rest of the game.”

Vince praised the efforts of defenders Mitch Carter, teenager Lachy Gadomski and retiring captain Tim Peterson, who managed to stem the flow of goals for length periods of time in the second and third terms.  Four Tigers forwards combined for ten of their eleven majors, but Vince highlighted the game of three goal draft prospect Hugh Dixon in particular.

“He loves having a jump at the footy and he’s also good at ground level; he’s versatile and I reckon there’s a fair chance someone will pick him up (in the National Draft).”

Looking back at the Tigers’ four win season, Vince took a positive approach in praising the improvement his young group has shown in patches.

“There’s a lot of upside coming from the season; we’ve been able to compete in a lot of our games and we’ll take a lot out of the year.”

With the Hobart City Demons missing final by percentage following the win, Robinson admitted the win was bittersweet and would drive the playing group.

“Any side that says they don’t want to play finals at the start of the season are kidding themselves and that was our aim; unfortunately we fell just short, but throughout the year we were really competitive with the teams around our mark and we struggled against the better teams.”

“That’s something we’ve identified and have to improve going forward.  We’re confident we can play finals next year.”

HOBART CITY DEMONS v. TIGERS
Round 21 – 25/08/2017

Hobart City Demons                      7.2,  9.6,  10.10,  14.12  (96)

Tigers                                  5.2,  6.5,  7.9,  11.11  (77)

GOALS, Hobart City Demons :
C. White 2, J. Williamson 2, E. Cole 2, R. Matthews 2, W. Campbell 2, H. Williams 1,
M. O’Neill 1, B. Norton 1, N. Baker 1

Tigers :
B. Livingston 3, H. Dixon 3, D. Archer 2, B. Batchelor 2

BEST, Hobart City Demons :
W. Campbell, E. Cole, J. Williamson, R. Matthews, N. Hutchinson, B. Norton

Tigers :
L. Gadomski, H. Dixon, M. Walker, M. Carter, B. Livingston, B. Batchelor