The first quarter saw a goalless tussle that Tasmania probably should have been leading by more. While both sides were utilising short kicks and moving through the corridor with relative ease, Gippsland struggled to pin point a forward target and found themselves losing 50/50 or 2-on-1 contests in their forward half. The Devils looked more potent up forward, yet were unable to capitalise on their efforts. Tassie were more adept at exiting their defensive 50 as well. More than once did they use their pacey defenders to their advantage against the Power’s slower tall timber, gaining valuable territory in their attempts to set up their next attacking move. Both sides did not back away from each other, however Tasmania were the ones to show a bit more vigour and desperation.

The second term saw Gippsland immediately move the ball forward through a centre break from the opening bounce, however the goal drought broke when the Devils rebounded forward and after their second attempt at the big sticks, snagged the first goal of the game. For the next five minutes the ball was played between the arcs as both sides attempted to get some meaningful movement forward as both defensive units held up. Tassie had been forcing the Power into some questionable disposal decisions as the pressure rose, though at the nine-minute mark Gippsland managed to get a mark inside their forward 50 and kick their first major. The Power, however, were intent on keeping the ball moving at all costs. With both sides missing some gettable chances, the Power hit the front with their second goal at the 14-min mark. Gippsland’s pressure gauge rose a notch and were able to keep the ball in their attacking half, forcing Tassie into turnovers and then into scoring opportunities. A particularly costly defensive kick in front of goal was cut off by Gippsland, which resulted in their third goal of the game. It wasn’t until the 19 min mark of the second term that the Devils wrestled back some momentum, which saw them snag a nice running goal from the boundary 40 metres out. This was quickly followed up by some slick movement into forward 50 from a centre break and Tassie found themselves back in front with a goal from a set shot. Both sides maintained their ferocity at the ball and with 30 seconds to go before half time, Gippsland had a set shot on goal from 50 metres out. However, this would sail wide of the left hand behind post for no score and the margin remained in favour of the Devils by two points at the main break.

The third quarter saw the battle between the arcs continue until Tasmania managed to break forward and slot a set shot at the 3:30 min mark, extending their lead to eight points. After a high free kick, the Power managed to peg it back to two points, despite the Devils defenders insisting it was touched on the line. Gippsland then managed to conjure a goal from a contest 45 metres out to regain the lead at the 8 min mark of the term. Both sides were working hard defensively, making it hard for each other to gain any uncontested disposal past the centre of the ground. At times, the Power’s attempts to create overlap and run-and-carry resulted in poor options, putting the receiver of the ball into unnecessary pressure. At times this resulted in turnovers and at the 15-min mark, Tassie were able to capitalise and regain the lead, goaling from a mark in the goal square. The Devils started to move the ball with purpose, using as much of the ground as possible and using patience to pick out the right option. Both sides started to create scoring opportunities through turnovers without reward, more often than not finding the wrong side of the goal posts. Tassie controlled majority of the term midway but were unable to put the required scoreboard pressure on, peppering away for three behinds that could of easily been 6-pointers. At the 22-min mark, Gippsland broke through with a goal from a set shot 40-metres out and once again, there was a lead change. The Power would carry a one-point lead into the last break with their sights firmly planted on retaining their undefeated status.

The last term started with a bang as both sides were ferocious at the ball, knowing the game could swing either way from that point. A little spot fire flared on the wing which suggested spectators could be in for hotly contested final quarter. Tassie snagged the first two goals of the term, through both sheer determination and great skill execution. Their lead extended to 10 points at the 5-min mark. Despite some sloppy ball movement, the Power were able to respond with a major of their own at the 7-min mark, bringing the margin back to four points. With the pressure rising, both sides created scoring opportunities without a major and with time ticking down, every forward thrust became vital. Both sides started to brim with numbers around the contested ball, making sure someone was there to dish out the ball to. At the 12-min mark, Tassie were awarded a free kick in their forward 50 after a high tackle, which was then penalised 50 metres, gifting the Devils a goal and extending their lead to 9-points. A set shot a minute later would again result in a behind, which would have likely made it hard for the Power to come back from. At the 15-min mark, Tassie lead by 10 points and the travelling Power boys began to look tired. Frustration had now crept into the Gippsland camp. There had been a few contentious frees go against them in the second half and when they were penalised for a dubious push in the back in the middle of the ground, they gave away another 50 metre penalty allowing another shot on goal for the Devils, which sailed wide once more. Tassie would again waste another opportunity to put the Power away at the 19-min mark, but as the clock ran down and Tasmania’s dominance continued, a comeback win was looking less and less likely. Despite their best efforts, the Power struggled to move the ball outside of their defensive half for the remainder of the game. Pressured kicks down the line in hope of connecting with a team mate were thwarted repeatedly by Tassie’s defenders, who in turn returned the ball back. A last ditch attempt saw Gippsland enter their forward half at the 24-min mark for a set shot on goal which was wide of the mark, resulting in another behind. It would be the last score of the game and the final siren rang at the 25-min mark, resulting in Gippsland’s first loss of the season.

#9 Zane Duursma

The eye-catching forward-midfielder had a purple patch in the second term that really got the Power going, kicking Gippsland’s first three goals of the match. They all came in the space of eight minutes, with two set shots and a clever snap off hands, though the first set shot was from a high free kick, whilst the other was a great read of the play to intercept inside 50. Duursma started the last three quarters in het middle and had the first clearance each time, thumping it long to put pressure on the Devils defence. He does not need a lot of the ball to have a great impact, and though others had more of it, he always looked dangerous with it when he did have it.

#22 Archer Reid

A real presence around the ground, Reid not only impacted aerially, but used the ball supremely. He hardly made a mistake from his 12 touches, also taking six marks and able to cover the ground really well. He took risks with his kicks that paid off, and when needing to slow it down, hit the short, regulation pass. Missed a set shot in the fourth term he should have nailed from 45m, but otherwise was a really impressive player across the match, particularly when the game heated up in the second half.

#27 Cooper Vickery

Worked into the game nicely after having an okay but quieter start, with Vickey particularly impressive in the third term. He applied great pressure throughout, winning the ball on the outside as well as in close, then would go back into defence to provide some movement. He won a number of his touches at the coalface then would find himself in space, often looking to kick long down the ground. His execution was not always perfect, but Vickery did cap off his day with a great running goal in the ninth minute of the third term to hand Gippsland back the lead.

#37 Max Walton

Amassing the most touches for his side, Walton had a real crack throughout the four quarters. He started on the wing and covered the ground really well, moving into stoppages at times and then winning it in transition and kicking long from half-back. Though he could have been a touch cleaner at ground level and with his disposal, Walton was to apply good pressure in close, and win the ball in all thirds, providing run out of defence, and then along the wing going inside 50. He kept running even to the final siren with a late one-two down the middle in the last 90 seconds of the match.

Excerpt taken from article published by Rookie Me Central, which can be viewed in full here.


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