North Hobart’s stunning upset of the Tigers on Sunday afternoon has rewarded the efforts of a young, resilient group of footballers, according to coach Richard Robinson.
There is no denying that the 2018 season has gotten off to a tumultuous start for the North Hobart Demons.
A raft of players leaving the club for the Tigers initially took some of the shine off the club’s historic re-branding from the Hobart City Demons back to the North Hobart Football Club.
A 53-point loss to the Tigers at North Hobart Oval started the season.
Losses to Launceston (131 points), Clarence (64), Glenorchy (93), North Launceston (172) and Lauderdale (42) followed, with the club’s captain and spiritual leader Hugh Williams also suffering a nasty injury in round four.
Many accepted that such results would be inevitable due to the youthful nature of the side, but doubts certainly started to emerge as to whether the club would be able to post a victory in 2018.
First-year senior coach Richard ‘Bear’ Robinson, an established figure at North Hobart Oval, remained upbeat throughout this difficult period, but couldn’t hide his delight at his side’s stunning eight-point win over the Tigers on Sunday afternoon – particularly with half a dozen former Demons taking to the field in the yellow and black.
“We were absolutely rapt. Relief probably would be the right word from a coaching point of view. The rooms were absolutely packed with supporters, past players and the president – people were in tears after the game as it was the first win back as North Hobart – a lot of hard work has gone into the club and to finally get reward for effort was fantastic.”
“After the game I said the feeling you had today, you want to have it again and again. We prepared for two weeks to take on the Tigers. We had a plan and executed the plan. That’s the standard and level you need to be at to be competitive in State League football,” Robinson said.
Robinson insists the mood around the club has remained upbeat, with building blocks being put in place for an exciting future.
“The morale has been great across the whole season. The kids bounce into training and we have good structures in place. Just because we haven’t won a game doesn’t mean that we just let the guys go, so to speak – we drive them really hard and they train really hard.”
“Blokes like the two Hugh Williams’, Brad Tilbury and Nathan McCulloch really drive that, so what we are hoping for there that in three or four years time the Will Peppin’s and Tyler McGinniss’ drive that forward again for the next group coming through,” he said.
The development of players like Peppin, McGinniss and Callum Kilpatrick has been further enhanced in recent weeks by the presence of Colin Garland.
Garland, who played his junior football for the Demons, played 140 games across 12 seasons with Melbourne in the AFL, and has brought his immense knowledge to the young group.
“Colin was very important. He played forward, had 25-26 possessions, took nearly 10 marks, kicked a couple, set up a couple but it was his on field leadership as well, as I said to him after the game we are just so happy that he has come to the club – the guys look up to him,” Robinson said.
Hugh Williams, led the way for a Demons side that had 10 teenagers (and two recently turned 20-year-olds) take to the field against the Tigers.
Williams, 28, played a key role in defence after starting up forward and admitted the win was one of the best he has been a part of.
“It was obviously a great win. My first year at the club we won a couple of finals, but I think this was one of our better wins with our backs against the wall.
“We go into every game thinking we can win. We had a plan against them and we executed it,” Williams said.
North Hobart now prepare for a clash with Launceston in round nine, and although the club knows it has a long way to go, both Robinson and Williams are quick to acknowledge that one win is far from job done.
“The half hour after a win is why you play footy and it would have been the best win these young guys would have had. It just makes you want to go again and again,” Williams said.