Losing by 172 points doesn’t bring with it a lot of positives, but as TSL Digital Reporter Josh Duggan writes, there is still great optimism around North Hobart that this year’s rebuild is going to bring better days for the famous club in red and blue.
The young Dees started well against the reigning premiers North Launceston on Saturday, kicking the first two goals of the game via Trent Millhouse and Sean Willis, stunning the visiting side and bringing the home crowd to life early.
This momentum didn’t last long, however, with the Northern Bombers quickly establishing control to incredibly kick the next 28 goals of the match, all while keeping the Demons to 2.5 (17) for the match.
North Launceston’s experience delivered an onslaught, with five goals from Tom Bennett, four goals each from returning premiership coach Tom Couch, Zach Burt and Fletcher Bennett, three goals from Bart McCulloch and current coach Taylor Whitford and two from Ben Simpson, underlining the Bombers’ control over the contest that lasted until the final siren.
The North Hobart Football Club is destined for a few days like this in 2018, with a host of high profile departures occurring over the off-season decimating the mature talent and experience of the playing group, however, this reality doesn’t make such losses any easier to deal with.
Defence was a particularly inexperienced area of the field with coach Richard Robinson noting that the back six had played only 20 senior games between them; always problematic against an elite forward line like the Bombers have. This inexperience was made all the more profound with defensive general and captain Hugh Williams missing the match after suffering a nasty injury in round four.
“When we did the side on Thursday, you look and Tom Couch is back, potentially playing forward, Zach Burt’s forward, Bart McCulloch’s forward, Tom Bennett’s forward; you have concerns you’re not going to have the right matchups.
“There was a lot of heat on the ball carrier [in defence]; their forwards applied a lot of pressure and when we whacked it out, the Bombers guys had set up well behind the footy – they just got repeat inside-50 entries,” Robinson said.
While the season so far hasn’t been a positive one on the scoreboard, it’s providing a steep learning curve for the playing group, and it should pay dividends over the long term, as the club gets a chance to blood players at such a young age, with nine players who faced up against North Launceston born in the 21st century. These players have fought hard across the opening rounds of the season, and have given every indication that they will develop into an impressive football team.
“We asked the playing group after the game – every player – what they learnt out of the game, so there’s 22 things up on the board that they guys have learnt out of today. But we as a coaching group and the players have to do something about it, to ensure that these types of things don’t happen again,” he said.
North Hobart will play host to Lauderdale this weekend, before having the bye in round seven.