Written by Jarryd Barca
Tasmania Devils v Calder Cannons – NAB League Round 4
The Calder Cannons fell 12 points short of recording their second win of the 2019 NAB League season in their Round 4 clash against the Tasmania Devils.
The side lost six players due to Vic Metro commitments for their trip down south to Penguin Reserve meaning the depth mould be tested in the 10.3 (63) to 7.9 (51) result.
A dour first term – where both sides recorded a single behind each – was marred by an unfortunate, scary concussion that hospitalised ruckman Oscar Sasalu.
Fortunately Oscar was free to fly back home that night.
Harrison Minton-Connell was the midfield stand-out with 26 disposals and seven tackles in front of a packed crowd, while counterparts Jacob Martin (24 touches) and Ned Gentile (20 and six tackles) proved their worth.
Usual defenders Cody Brand (three goals) and Mason Fletcher (two) played makeshift roles up forward, while defenders Declan Tully, Fergus O’Neill, Max Simpson, Kyle Baker and Sean Callander can all hold their heads high after standing up tall against a dangerous Devils attack.
While the boys got away with goal-kicking inaccuracy in Round 3, they were this time left to rue their missed opportunities after recording three more scoring shots than their opponents.
“As a team, between our midfielders and forwards, we need better connection between where those forward entries need to go,” Talent Manager Tom Lonergan said.
“At the moment they’re shallow and it’s allowing teams to rebound quickly from the half-back line, we need to get our entries deeper to give the forwards the best chance of scoring.
“Considering we had six players out due to metro commitments we thought our boys’ effort was really good,” he added.
“A few skill errors cost us on the day, as well as not making the most of our opportunities when going forward.”
Brand broke the deadlock more than nine minutes into the second quarter, but the remainder of the term belonged to the home side who, booting the next five majors, constructed a handy 21-point lead at the main break.
Brand put through his second less than two minutes into a crucial third quarter.
But Devils forward Jackson Callow took the game by the scruff of the neck to boot three of his four goals in a dominant third quarter display.
The players’ spirits never wavered despite the 25-point deficit heading into the final term.
The four-goal to two quarter reeled the margin back to 12 points but it was too little too late as the Devils were able to record their second win of the season in three matches.
The boys will now enjoy a week off for Easter but will return to face the Geelong Falcons at Highgate Recreation Reserve in Round 5 the following week.
“It’s been a big six or seven weeks for everyone,” Lonergan said.
“A lot of boys played in a lot of practice matches and haven’t really had a break so it will be good for everyone to have a rest after Tuesday to freshen up and come back ready to go against the Falcons.”
The Calder Cannons are now 1-3 and sit 15th on the ladder early in the season.