Written by Mitchell Jones
A new coach and a host of new names have swept into the Twin Ovals since we last saw the Tigers in action. TSL Digital reporter Mitchell Jones gives us an insight into what we can expect from the new-look Tigers in 2018.
TSL Inception: 2014
Home Ground: Twin Ovals, Kingston
Guernsey Colours: Yellow and Black
Club President: Paul Gadomski
Head Coach: Trent Baumeler
Senior Assistant Coach: Jamie Hariss
Playing Assistant Coach: Marcus Davies
Captain: Sam Rice
Leadership Group: Will Campbell & Mitchell Carter
Rivals: North Hobart Demons
Round 1 vs North Hobart at North Hobart Oval on 30th of March (Good Friday)
Round 4 vs Lauderdale at Twin Ovals on 20th of April (night match)
Round 5 vs Glenorchy at Twin Ovals on 25th of April (Anzac Day)
Ladder Position: 7th
After a large player turnover, the Tigers started the 2017 season in convincing fashion with a win over a young Burnie side in round one followed up by a nail-bitting win over rivals North Hobart on Good Friday in round three.
After this promising start the Tigers went on to record two more victories for the season, defeating Burnie and Devonport, finishing the year in seventh – the club’s highest placing since joining the TSL in 2014.
The Tigers were competitive across much of 2017 and did go on to slightly improve their win-loss ratio, but still showed that they were a way off the top teams in the state.
Ryan Matthews (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Will Campbell (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Nic Hutchinson (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Heath Thompson (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Sam Duigan (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Jake Doran (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Blake Grant (North Hobart/Hobart City Demons), Luke Graham (Huonville), Edward Burrows-Cheng (Bond University), Hugh Johnstone (Hutchins School Old Boys Football Club), Will Deane (Peninsula Crows)
Hugh Dixon (Fremantle AFL), Marcus Gardner (University), Braden Livingston (University), Mitchell Walker (Glenorchy), Chris Neild (Clarence), Brandon Batchelor (Aspley Hornets NEAFL), Will Cleeland (Aspley Hornets NEAFL), Callum Rawson (Huonville), Tim Peterson (Retirement)
Incoming President Paul Gadomski will be pleased to have new Head Coach Trent Baumeler on board for a full preseason after the Tigers changed senior coach just two weeks before round one of the 2017 season.
Crossing over from the Tigers rivals in the Demons, Baumeler has brought seven Demons along with him to the Twin Ovals, including midfielder Ryan Matthews, who ran third in last year’s Alister Lynch medal.
Luke Graham also joins the Tigers after a successful season with Huonville in the SFL, as does Edward Burrows-Cheng, who has been playing good football for Bond University in Queensland. These inclusions will be key to the Tigers improving their ladder position after only finishing above Burnie and Devonport last year.
The Tigers have managed to hold onto most of their top talent for this season but will be without young forward Hugh Dixon, who was drafted to the AFL by Fremantle, leading goalkicker Brandon Batchelor, 2016 Best and Fairest Will Cleeland and the versatile Mitch Walker, all of which have made the move to Glenorchy.
The Tigers have become a breeding ground for young AFL draft prospects with Hugh Dixon, Kieran Lovell and Mackenzie Willis all finding a home at AFL clubs in recent years. Tigers Coach Trent Baumeler will look to continue this trend as he sets out to develop more young talent.
The Tigers will be hoping the side’s senior players and exciting young talent have developed over the preseason as the Tigers look to make a push for a maiden finals berth.
The Coaches Training report:
Conner Bryant, one year out of the Tassie Mariners program, will be a player to watch across the 2018 season according to Baumeler due to his “improved running capacity after completing a full pre-season with the Tigers.”
Former Carlton player and key Tiger Marcus Davies will also be influential for the young group, with Baumeler citing his full fitness and professionalism around the club as key takeaways from the preseason.
Mitch Carter, who was named in the TSL Team of the Year for 2017, will again be influential for the Tigers with Baumeler impressed by his leadership qualities around the group.
Carter will provide plenty of support to new captain Sam Rice, a former Burnie premiership player who enters his fourth year at the Twin Ovals and first as captain.
The Tigers possess a young brigade of talented players who have now played a handful of matches and been given another preseason to develop, while an influx of mature players will also provide the side with more experience.
This combination is likely to see the Tigers take it up to the best teams in the competition as they look to be bullied no more. The Tigers will be eager to take it up to rivals North Hobart in round one, particularly with a handful of former Demons likely to be donning the yellow and black for the first time.
The Tigers will face a challenging opening month of the season, playing three of 2017’s finalists in the opening four rounds. Wins throughout this period will set the Tigers up nicely and could help define their season as they look to ensure they get off to a good start and don’t have to play catch-up later in the campaign.
The Coaches Say:
When asked about the Tigers’ key areas of focus across the preseason, Baumeler was pleased with what has been worked on.
“We have spent a fair chunk of pre-season on our habits and environment, building something sustainable. We’ve also spent considerable time on our game style and finding multiple roles for players.
“We want to be seen as a flexible side that is able to sustain acceptable pressure for the whole 120 minutes.
“Our major expectation is buying into our system and standards and positive results will flow from that,” he said.
When asked about what clubs may set the bench mark for the 2018 season, Baumeler identified three clubs, last year’s premiers North Launceston, finals bolter Launceston and grand finalist Lauderdale.
“North Launceston are always a challenge as they have complete buy-in to their system and culture and I don’t expect them to be taking any backwards steps under Taylor (Whitford) this season”.
“Launceston will be tough with some key additions from Burnie and Devonport along with the return of Chayce Jones at the back end of the year after Mariners duties; while Lauderdale can’t be written off after reaching the grand final last year with no major losses to their list. They are a well-coached contested side who added offensive flair last year,” Baumeler said.
Competition for finals spots will only become tighter in 2018 as the Tiger army look to march into finals for the first time.
Can the underdog Tigers achieve their first finals berth and replicate their AFL counterpart by upsetting the competition as the young Tigers look to grow into a finals team?
Prediction: 4th – 5th