GNL. The Tall Timbers Smithton Saints men required a shift in mindset during round seven of the Greater Northern League as the side attempted to regain its competitive edge.
The high tempo of the game was set immediately, producing slick ball movement from both Smithton and South Burnie in a spectacular show for spectators.
Scoring opportunities were hard to come by as the defence of both sides stood strong and the scoreboard remained unscathed following an intense first quarter.
In the second quarter, offensive chances began to appear however both sides still struggled for conversion.
In the opening minutes of the second half, Division One debutant Henry Wright earned a penalty corner for Nathan Johns to swiftly place in the corner of the goal and Smithton to gain the lead.
The Saints’ confidence soared, driving the side forward and placing added pressure on the opposition.
A small lapse in concentration was all it took to allow the visitors to equalise the score.
Debut player Deakhan Poke repelled the incoming South Burnie offence throughout the final term with the assistance of halfbacks Daniel Cramer and Logan Buckby.
Several missed shots proved detrimental to the Saints’ game when South Burnie scored from a fast break with three minutes remaining in the match, claiming the 1-2 victory.
A revised game plan produced an impressive Smithton Saints women’s outfit, as the side took to the turf with strength and stamina.
This intensity allowed the home side to control the game and panic the opposition as the Saints scored early to gain the lead.
South Burnie switched into attacking mode in the second quarter, pushing Smithton into defence.
As the visitors converted twice, Smithton forfeited the lead as half time approached.
A repeat of the first quarter occurred in the third, as the Saints leapt into attack with poise and purpose.
Abbey House represented the home side strongly, playing a dominant game on the right side of field and allowing her fellow strikers several offensive opportunities.
Following a positive passage of play, this hard work resulted in two quick conversions and Smithton reclaimed the lead.
As the clocked ticked down in the final quarter, Smithton’s lead threatened South Burnie who in a desperate effort claimed an equalising goal, denying the home side of a victory.
Despite the three goal draw, coach Elliott Mainwaring said there was “much to take out of a very competitive effort” noting outstanding efforts by Melissa Dodd, Jandi Smith and Melissa Stokes in defence while midfielder Sonia Poke was recognised for her contributions to the Saints’ attack.
The Smithton Saints will take on Queechy Penguins this Saturday (June 2).