WAFL hands Tasmania a hiding in Perth

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson, The Mercury

THE strength of the WAFL proved too great for Tasmania as the West Australian side handed the Map a thumping in Perth.

The Tasmanian outfit kicked the first goal of the game through Clarence’s former AFL, VFL and SANFL player Ian Callinan just after the four-minute mark, but from there it was all the West Australians.

At Bassendean Oval the West Australians kicked the next 11 goals, setting up a resounding 25.14 (164) to 4.6 (30) victory – the highest winning margin in a match between the two.

The West Australians were just too good for Tasmania, with former Collingwood rookie Jye Bolton outstanding in the middle of the park and around the stoppages, kicking two goals and amassing more than 40 touches.

WA’s key forwards Ben Saunders and Brett Peake were scintillating up top finishing with six and seven goals respectively.

The West Australian selectors’ plan of including a number of midfielders for the clash on a large ground worked perfectly as Tasmania could not break through nor impose itself on the game – going goalless for over a quarter.

The Map lifted in the third quarter, at one stage outscoring the WA side, but the home side then woke up and kicked 13 straight over the final two quarters to cruise home to the 134-point victory.

For Tasmania, co-captain Taylor Whitford, Burnie’s Harry Walters, Glenorchy’s Rhys Mott and Callinan – who kicked a team high two goals to go with his 29 possessions – impressed with their effort in the loss.

Tassie lads hoping to catch coaches’ eyes

By James Bresnehan, The Mercury

IT worked for Mackenzie Willis.

Now Tasmanian young guns Nick Dodge and Brandon Batchelor are hoping it works for them too.

Dodge and Batchelor are two of 10 interstate rookies who will debut for Tasmania at senior level against Western Australia in Perth today.

A strong performance for Tasmania will catch the eye of AFL recruiters and put their namers into the mix for the AFL Draft in November.

That’s what got Willis over the line last year in his bid for an AFL career.

He was one of Tasmania’s best in the state’s loss to Queensland, and it didn’t go unnoticed by the Gold Coast Suns.

Batchelor, 19, said he would love to follow in the footsteps of his former TSL Tigers teammate.

“That’s the goal,” Batchelor said.

“Mackenzie had a ripping game in the state game last year and now he’s playing for the Suns.

“Every young guy out there will be trying to do their best for their state and put their name up in lights.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to play for Tasmania and as every young player coming through the ranks, you want to play for your state at the highest level.”

A star for the Tassie Mariners, Dodge, 18, set himself to play in the senior state team this year.

“I’ve been more focused on the Mariners and my hard work has paid off with selection to play for Tasmania — and hopefully I can play some good footy against WA,” he said.

“I’ve got my chance and I’ve got to take it with both hands.”

The teenagers believe Tasmania can give WA a run for its money.

“They are going to try to run us off our feet but if we put all the training we’ve done over the past few weeks into practice, we can really give them a shake up,” Batchelor said.


By Phil Edwards, The Examiner

Tasmania was totally outclassed by a dominant Western Australia losing their representative clash by a record margin of 134 points at Bassendean Oval in Perth on Saturday.

The Black Swans dominated all over the ground in the 25.14 (164) to 4.6 (30) victory in front of 2,575 fans.

The record defeat eclipsed the previous biggest margin of 122 points set by WA way back in 1964.

The Map kicked the first goal of the game through Ian Callinan but WA banged on the next 11-straight goals unanswered to lead by 10 goals at half-time, 10.10 (70) to 1.1 (7).

Tassie managed three goals in the third term in their best period of the game but could not sustain the effort. They went goaless in the last quarter at the Black Swans booted 15 goals for the second half, including the last 12 straight of the game.

Claremont midfielder Jye Bolton was outstanding picking up a game high 45 disposals through the midfield and booted two goals to win the Simpson Medal as WA’s best player.

Brett Peake kicked seven goals in his first representative match at the age of 33, Ben Saunders six and Darcy Cameron three in a forward structure that gave the home side great service and was dominant all game.

Clarence midfielder Jake Cox was named Tasmania’s best player winning the Lefroy Medal with 33 possessions. Burnie utility Jobi Harper also played well racking up 34, Callinan (29), Harry Walters (28), co-captain Taylor Whitford (26) with Tom Cleary and Dylan Riley other good contributors for a Tasmanian team that was totally outplayed by a more classy and talented WA.

#HeroesForZeroes campaign launched

2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty and former Western Bulldogs captain and Fox Footy presenter Brad Johnson today spoke at AFL Tasmania’s second annual Gender Equity Lunch where the Tasmanian State League “Heroes for Zeroes” television and social media commercial was launched.

“Our first Gender Equality luncheon was more general in subject matter, for our second event we have chosen to face into the heartbreaking and devastating aspect of gender inequality being domestic violence. Every week somebody’s wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, or friend is killed through domestic violence. AFL Tasmania is committed to playing a role in changing that statistic through raising awareness and education.  One example of this has been the creation of a Television commercial produced in conjunction with our Tasmanian State League clubs and Southern Cross Television.” said Rob Auld, AFL Tasmania’s CEO.

“Heroes for Zeroes” is the brainchild of Brendon Murphy who has a heart-driven will to stop women dying. In 2015 Murphy gathered a group of his footballer mates from the Yarra Valley Mountain District Football League and produced a social media video appealing to men to take a stand to end violence against women.   The video went viral on social media and Murphy appealed to sporting clubs and individuals around the country to follow his lead and make their own video with the same message using the hashtag #heroesforzeroes. The hashtag refers to the fact that on average one woman is killed each week as a result of domestic violence.

The Tasmanian version was filmed earlier this year at football venues across the state and features players from each of the State League clubs:
Burnie Dockers: Harry Walters
Clarence: Jeromey Webberley
Devonport: Ben Hawkes
Glenorchy: Liam Smith
Hobart City Demons: Jake Doran
Lauderdale: Michael Cassidy
Launceston: Cam Downie
North Launceston: Taylor Whitford
Tigers: Marcus Davies

“Footy has the power to reach so many people and play a leading role in the community so when we saw the Yarra Valley “Heroes for Zeroes” video we spoke with the State League clubs who got on board immediately and then approached the competition’s naming rights sponsor Southern Cross Television who offered to broadcast the commercial,” said Sachie Yasuda, AFL Tasmania’s GM – Communications and Community Relations.

Co-captains confident in state team

By James Bresnehan, The Mercury

STATE captains Ben Rey­nolds and Taylor Whitford are confident Tasmania will give a good account of itself in tomorrow’s interstate showdown with Western Australia in Perth.

Reynolds, a former Glenorchy TSL skipper, and Whitford, North Launceston’s two-time premiership captain, were revealed to the Tasmanian players as their leaders at training at North Hobart Oval last night.

Reynolds will lead the team as its backline general from centre half-back and Whitford will inspire from the midfield.

Big Ben says Tasmania will give its all against the tier-one football state.

“I’m confident we will go over there and give it our best shot,” Reynolds said.

“We’ve got a lot of good runners in our team and a lot of players who can play a variety of roles. On the big ground over there I reckon we’ll shape up pretty well.

“We’re all committed to playing rep footy. We’ll go over there giving ourselves the best opportunity to take the win.”

As for being named co-captain­, Reynolds said: “It’s a huge responsibility and a great accolade.

“I’m looking forward to leading the group, along with Taylor.

“I just wanted to be in the team. I was focused on playing good footy for Glenorchy, so to make the state team, that’s great, and to be made a captain, it’s a huge honour.”

Whitford said it came as a surprise to be named North Launceston captain two years ago, let alone Tasmania.

“It’s a real honour,” he said.

“The family is really proud of what I have achieved to get it.

“I haven’t thought about it too much.

“It’s not going to weigh on my shoulders, but it will be something to look back on.

“It’s just a real honour to play for Tasmania, and to be captain is something special.

“We want to go over there and represent the ‘Map’ the best we can.”

Whitford, Reynolds to lead

By Corey Martin, The Examiner

NORTH Launceston premiership captain Taylor Whitford will lead Tasmania with Glenorchy skipper Ben Reynolds against Western Australia on Saturday.

Whitford, 24, was named co-captain by state coach Brett Geappen at the team’s final training session in Hobart on Thursday, before they fly to Perth for the Bassendean Oval battle.

Geappen said there were several solid candidates suitable to replace injured 2015 captain Brady Jones.

“Wingnut (Ian Callinan) and Thorpy (Mitch Thorp) are obvious leaders and they will naturally lead the group,” Geappen said.

“Taylor has sort of been the premiership captain the last two years so he has certainly earnt the right and Ben is a strong leader.”

The 2015 State League player of the year said it was an honour to get the nod.

“The family is real proud of what I’ve achieved to get it and at the moment I haven’t thought about it too much,” Whitford said.

“It’s not going to weigh on my shoulders but it will be something good to look back on.”

The Port Dalrymple teacher said the group were united heading into the match against a strong WAFL squad, which boasts 11 players with AFL experience.

Among them are Clint Jones (St Kilda), Brett Peake, Jay van Berlo (Fremantle), Paul Johnson (Melbourne), Ashton Hams (West Coast), Josh Bootsma and Matthew Watson (Carlton).

“We are confident in what we can bring to the table,” Whitford said.

“Every time you play for Tasmania it’s an honour and it’s a privilege so we want to go out there and represent The Map as best we can.”

Geappen hopes his players can make good use of  Bassendean Oval’s wide-open spaces.

He said the team’s chances were “unknown”.

“We don’t go in fearing them, everyone probably thinks we are going to get beaten pretty easy,” he said.

“We have got 10 debutants this year, which is quite a big number and I guess with that there is an uncertainty from a coaching point of view.

“We certainly respect blokes that have played AFL footy but there are also 10 blokes that haven’t played AFL footy that might be just as good.

“With our team, I think they will only focus on the guys that have played AFL footy (Thorp and Callinan)… but we think we have some quality players that they won’t put any time into that hopefully can sneak under the radar.”

Geappen said excitement was building.

Saturday’s game starts at 4.15pm (AEST) and will be broadcast live at www.sportfm.com.au.

The passion of the Map

By Alex Fair, The Advocate

Mitch Thorp just loves the feeling he gets when he puts on the Tasmanian jumper.

‘’As a young bloke it was something that I always passionate about, representing my state,’’ he said.

‘’I played two years of under 16 and under 18s and I was fortunate enough to play for the Tassie VFL side, and anytime you get the chance to represent Tassie, you do want to.’’

The Devonport coach will wear the Map for just the second time in his State League life, with injury impacting previous selections, when Tasmania travels to face Western Australia on Saturday.

He was part of the team that defeated the NEAFL in 2013, kicking six goals that day.

The key-forward will enter the game in good personal form, with a bag of 7.4 and 14 marks against Launceston.

The league’s leading goal-kicker is confident he can put in a good performance against the WAFL.

‘’Training has been really sharp and as a forward, your job is much easier when you are playing with good players.

‘’Having Ian Callinan and Jake Cox kick the ball to you, you only need to be half a yard in front of your opponent to get the ball, so it is certainly enjoyable leading to those guys.’’

Thorp said there was one simple message to the group: just enjoy yourself and play the ‘’Tassie’’ way.

‘’There’s no doubt that the talent and athletic level that WA have is greater than ours, but Tassie is renowned for playing a certain brand, and we need to make sure we play that way.

‘’We need to be able to tackle hard and keep the ball in close and not let them get out on the spread.

‘”We have picked a side with a lot of good competitors in the midfield.

‘’It also is great to see guys who are 19 and 20 years of age who are really passionate and really want to do well.’’

Thorp is one of two Pies in the side with midfielder Dylan Riley.

‘’To come back straight away (from the NTFA) and make the Tassie side is a full credit to the pre-season he had and the professionalism he has put in.’’

Former Devonport player Ben Reynolds co-captain the side with North Launceston’s Taylor Whitford.

WA lead the overall record 17-5.

Saturday’s game at Steel Blue Oval at Bassendean in Perth will be at 4.15pm.

Dockers are hurting but still fighting

By Alex Fair, The Advocate

The week off may have come at the perfect time for Burnie.

The Dockers’ injury woes finally caught up with them on Saturday against Glenorchy, when they Zac Smith and coach Clint Proctor withdrew before the bounce, and the Nick McKenna and Kallum Kubicki were hurt in the opening term.

The end result was a 114 point loss.

‘’It is amazing what a loss does, because it opens everything up really,’’ Proctor said this week.

‘’But no-one wants to get beaten by that much, and we were insipid, which is really disappointing as I have trust in the players to compete no matter what.

‘’But they didn’t have that on the weekend.

‘’I’m confident we can bounce back.

‘’But one thing that did impress me was our review on Monday, as I believe every player was there except Jobi (Harper) who was in Launceston and every coach was there to.

‘’So the accountability and courage to really take on board what went wrong impressed me a lot.’’

That loss was the first major negative, with Proctor’s side sitting third on the table with an 8-2 record, despite a large casualty ward.

The other loss was to North Launceston, while the highlight was the home win over Glenorchy in round four.

‘’We have been finding a way to win, and I honestly thought we were coming out of the end of that and we were going to find some really good form,’’ Proctor said.

‘’I don’t know if we have walked under a ladder, but we have kept getting hit by injuries, and especially during training sessions, which is unheard of.

‘’ But Ii you had told me we’d be 8-2 at the start of the year and in the top three, I would have taken that.’’

Proctor praised ruckman Tyrone Morrison and Clint Riley as two of his standouts this season.

Morrison’s transformation from number two at the Dockers to Tasmania’s  first choice ruckman this weekend came after a fantastic pre-season, while Riley, another one who will wear the map, has grabbed hold of the opportunity to be more of an accumulator of the ball.

Up front, Nick McKenna (19 goals) and Andrew Lee have led the charge, with McKenna the ‘’barometer’’ and Lee’s leadership vital.

John Holland down back has been outstanding, with Proctor saying he ‘’really straightens us up’’.

There has also been milestones for Kade Munday (club record), Lee, McKenna, and the club, with the launch of their hall of fame.

Their next assignment will be the Tigers away (their fifth trip to Hobart) Saturday week.


WA rolls out AFL 11 for state game

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson, The Mercury

THE WAFL side for Saturday’s representative match will have almost 500 games of AFL experience in its ranks, dwarfing Tasmania’s AFL expertise.

The gulf in elite-level ­experience is a further example of the David and Goliath battle ahead of Tasmania when the sides meet in Perth.

Tasmania coach Brett ­Geappen is not bothered by reputations.

“I don’t like to look at it that way [that the WAFL’s greater AFL experience makes it a hot favourite],” Geappen said.

“Obviously there’s [AFL] experience in the squad but we think we’ve prepared really well for them. We know their strengths and weaknesses, and believe our plan can work on the day.”

There are two players with AFL experience in Tasmania’s ranks – Clarence’s former Adelaide small midfielder/­forward Ian Callinan and ­Devonport player-coach and one-time Hawthorn recruit Mitch Thorp.

Callinan appeared for the Crows 32 times between 2011 and 2013 while a spate of injuries restricted Thorp to only two games for the Hawks after he was taken with the sixth pick in the 2006 national draft.

In contrast, the final team selected yesterday from the West has 11 members who played in the AFL, with a combined 485 games.

Leading the way for the West Australians is former St Kilda tagger Clint Jones, who played 149 games for the Saints.

WAFL outside midfielder Brett Peake played 75 games for Fremantle and 43 for the Saints.

East Perth ruckman Paul Johnson played 68 games for Melbourne, one for West Coast and one for Hawthorn while former West Coast forward Ashton Hams played 39 times for the Eagles.

Also in the WAFL team is Jay van Berlo, the younger brother of former Adelaide captain Nathan. The younger van Berlo made 32 appearances for Fremantle.

Former Carlton players Matthew Watson (23 games) and Josh Bootsma (14) are also in the WAFL squad.

The match will be played at Swan District’s Bassendean Oval with the first bounce at 4.15pm AEST.

Four-way contest to lead Tassie squad

By Simeon Thomas-Wilson, The Mercury

THE honour of leading Tasmania in Saturday’s representative clash against the WAFL is a four-man race.

Regular skipper Brad Jones is injured and last year’s vice-captain Brayden Webb, of Glenorchy, is also sidelined (ankle), forcing coach Brett Geappen to go with a new leadership team.

The Mercury understands there are four men in the mix to lead the Map – North Launceston premiership player Taylor Whitford, Devonport player-coach Mitch Thorp, former Glenorchy captain Ben Reynolds and Clarence’s former Crows midfielder Ian Callinan.

With Tuesday’s training run at Aurora Stadium washed out, Geappen has delayed naming a captain until today.

There is a possibility that the role could be shared by co-captains and Geappen said he and his coaching team would take into account the unique nature of representative footy when making their decision.

“It’s very different to club footy,” Geappen said.

“In club footy it’s very much about building a good culture on and off the field, but in representative footy it’s often just the one game.

“So it’s about performances on the field. We need the leaders to stand up and have a really strong performance, not necessarily getting best on ground, but they need to lead with their performances.”

Gun midfielder Whitford has impressed in his first year as captain of North Launceston as the Northern Bombers seek to win a record third straight TSL flag.

Reynolds has shone in the past as Glenorchy captain while Thorp and Callinan are two of the side’s best players and have AFL experience.