Kings of the honourable loss no more.
That is the message from and hope of Tigers coach Trent Baumeler after Saturday’s stirring win over the heavily fancied Blues.
The Tigers had been competitive for much of the season, but hadn’t broken through for a win since a round one defeat of the Demons at North Hobart Oval.
Starved of that winning feeling, the Tigers entered Saturday’s clash with the Blues with plenty of vigour and hunger, out hunting the opposition to set up one of the club’s most famous wins.
Baumeler concedes that the win was a significant breakthrough for his young side, particularly when you consider that Marcus Davies (suspension), Ryan Matthews (injury) and Hugh Johnston (studies) were all missing from action.
“(The feeling is) definitely relief. But this was reward for our last month of football and the way we have gone about it.
“We have been getting close but we didn’t want to be the ‘kings of the honorable loss’ anymore by just getting to within three or four goals of teams.
“It was great to see the boys have that smile on their face and be able to go in and sing the song, learn how to win and get addicted to that feeling,” he said.
Although the win surprised many in the football world, Baumeler was quick to remark that nothing had significantly changed internally in the lead up.
“We go in with a plan to win every game. We want to win. We have shown that we can get close to good teams but we have finally broken through for that win now.
“We are a tough team to play against and we are aiming every week to set up our next year and set up those winning habits and winning culture.”
Midfield bull Will Campbell was integral to the victory, controlling the midfield in the absence of star teammate Ryan Matthews.
Campbell’s midfield grunt has been a feature of his game in recent seasons, but he appeared to take it to even another level on Saturday.
“Having to replace Ryan Matthews is hard, he is one of the best inside midfielders in the competition and has been in the NEAFL as well. He is a high level footballer and our whole midfield group, including Will really stepped up in his absence,” Baumeler said.
Campbell, who made the move to the Twin Ovals from the-then Hobart City Demons in the preseason, was proud of the way the side went about Saturday’s win over the Blues, rating it as one of the best he has been a part of.
“It’s up there. We had our meeting during the week and there weren’t many senior players, there were a lot of young guys and players who had just come into the side.
“That’s what made it really good. It was a collective effort of hunger and pressure and hunting opposition players.
“The guys have been working really hard and to finally get that reward for effort and to be able to sing the song and enjoy the win after eight weeks of being close was really enjoyable,” Campbell said.
The Tigers were well-serviced by every player on the field, with some unheralded names standing tall as the Tigers harassed the Blues out of their usual precision-kicking game.
“Mitchell Cooke came into the side and kicked goals, Micah Reynolds shut down the best forward in the state (Mitch Thorp), it gives those guys a lot of belief and I think that will be really important across the back end of this year moving into next season,” Campbell said.
The Tigers’ next task will be a clash with Clarence at Blundstone Arena this Saturday as the club looks to build off this platform.
“Clarence are coming off a loss and will be hungry. They’re tough. Jake Cox is a super player, Jeromey Webberley has played every game. Their defence is really strong. We will get to work on them and see how they have been going about it
“The vibe and attitude around our group has been first class, but breaking through for that win will give us that little bit of confidence that our best footy can match it and that if we string together four quarters we can beat anyone,” Baumeler said.