Written by Josh Duggan
Homecoming day for the North Hobart Football Club, might have ended with a less than ideal result, as the Tigers ran out 53-point winners; however, the effort displayed by the club’s new generation should give hope to the Demons faithful that the future looks pretty bright.
With the high-profile departures of assistant coach Trent Baumeler and several senior players (including midfield stars Ryan Matthews and Will Campbell) to Kingborough, a rather coincidental round one opponent, the 2017 cupboard was left rather bare for Richard Robinson to name a team from.
However, the mosquito fleet that donned the traditional red and blue guernsey for the first time since 2013 showed great promise with their endeavour, and spent large periods of the football match with the bulk of possession.
The side that graced the historic North Hobart Oval on Good Friday afternoon was especially young, with nine Demons born in the 21st century- including emerging stars Bailey Walker and William Peppin, and Thomas Reeves, who kicked the Demons first goal for the season.
This youth is set to give North Hobart fans plenty to watch out for over the course of the season.
“[It was] such a young group with 15 teenagers. Some of the guys have only played under 16 footy and now they’re thrust into a massive game of senior footy.
“I thought particularly the first two and a half quarters they stood up really well” Coach Robinson said
Though a fast start gave Kingborough a three-goal advantage in the opening ten minutes, North Hobart fought back well.
A fair amount of pressure from the underdogs turned the game into a proper contest, which many hadn’t expected.
“We want to be able to compete, whether it is offensive of defensive, and I thought our back six stood up too.
“Around the contest as the game wore on I think we got a little bit better, it was just towards the end that fatigue set in,” Robinson said.
As a young side, North didn’t run the game out as well as the Tigers; some cheap goals meant the final margin may not have done justice the Demons’ effort.
The Demons will also be looking to improve their potency inside forward 50, with their patches of dominance over the contest not being reflected on the scoreboard.
The Demons struggled to find a key target inside forward 50, allowing the Tigers to have more success rebounding the ball out of defensive 50, despite the pressure being applied.
However, these young players building a better fitness base and gaining senior experience will be key focuses for the season, and will hold the Demons in good stead.
With Kingborough expected to be an improved side in 2018, the Demons’ performance on Friday showed that they can mix it with such teams for parts of games, making the boys in red and blue a side to watch this season.