North Launceston playing-coach Taylor Whitford speaks on his side’s emphatic 69-point win over Launceston in round 11, the addition of youth and where his side needs to improve across the back half of the season.
So Taylor, a convincing win against Launceston on Friday night; you must be pleased with the result?
“Yeah it was really good after two weeks off to have a break and then play that sort of footy.
“It probably took us a quarter and a half to get going, and probably after half time we started to play the way we wanted to play which was really good.
“You don’t expect those sorts of results, but it was quite pleasing. The last two or three weeks (heading into the bye) we were starting to come together, but we have North Hobart this week and then Lauderdale and Glenorchy post that… It’s ok to be playing good footy now but you need to do that right through the back end of the season.”
How have you assessed the form of the younger players in the team so far this campaign? They have been forced to fill some pretty big shoes by those that left in the pre-season.
“When you make so many changes at the start of the season, as a coach you don’t really know what you are going to get.
“At stages this year we haven’t been great and at stages we have been. It’s about consistency now and getting consistency into guys.
“We played another two debutants on Friday night – Jackson Callow and William Edmunds – so we are still after that consistency and hopefully we get it going into the back half.
“It’s really good to see Tom Foon, Lachlan Cocker, Connor Pearton, these sorts of guys (in the senior team and playing well). Our Development League team has been playing some pretty good footy as well, so to have that consistent effort across the whole club is really pleasing.”
Brad Cox-Goodyer spoke last week about the club starting to put its strongest team onto the park. How close do you think you’re getting to that?
“Jordan Tepper was a late out (on Friday night), and Karlton Wadley also, we gave him the extra day but he wasn’t right and James Curran was sick. They are three guys who would probably play in our best 22 as well, so hopefully they come back in the next couple of weeks and we have a really good competition for spots.
“We can also look to get Ben Elmer back in the side who hasn’t’ been there for five to six weeks and Tom Donnelly, who is also one to two weeks away. Once we get these guys back and get a bit of jell within the 22, we should see some better performances.”
Young Devils forward Jackson Callow broke through for his first senior game on Friday night. How did you see his performance?
“He’s been around our group for two-three years but we just hadn’t been able to get him a game with his Devils commitments and Allies commitments. It was great to get him on the park on Friday night.
“We didn’t expect a world-beating performance but I think he played his role really well and took some strong contested marks. Hopefully we see him back in our group come finals time.”
The Demons on the road poses another challenge this week. What is the group’s focus heading into the clash?
“North Hobart pushed us out here last time with some one-on-one, contested style footy and that will probably suit North Hobart’s ground a little more as well.
“We will probably need to look at what we can do there to counteract their one-on-one style, it’s going to be a tough game.”
Bart McCulloch didn’t hit the scoreboard like he has on other occasions on Friday night but still looked to play a crucial role inside 50. How do you see his form and the structure of the forward line, especially with the inclusion of debutant William Edmunds.
“Our forward group hasn’t really been set. We’ve probably had two to three changes a week within that forward six, so hopefully we get some consistency within that forward group with Billy Edmunds also coming into the side, hopefully he strings some games together and we get a good flow forward of the footy.
“It’s probably the only line within our group that has been inconsistent.
“Bart has been a leader of that forward group. Whether he is kicking goals or crashing packs, he is just a really good person to have around our club and creates a good vibe – hopefully he can pass on some knowledge to the forward six or seven.
“Billy Edmunds played across half forward, on a wing and in the ruck on Friday night, so I guess the best thing about that is that we probably don’t know where he best fits for us. That’s probably for us to work out across the next five-six weeks, to get him in that position that’s going to be best suited to our group.”