Football. In an impressive tournament performance, Tasmania’s inaugural KickStart team was unlucky not to take premiership glory at the National Diversity Carnival in New South Wales last week.
Circular Head Giants Bailey Grey, 15, and Toby Reeve, 15, were a part of the successful team while fellow Giant Lloyd Gallaher, 13, represented the state at the tournament with the All Nations squad.
Played at Blacktown International Stadium in Sydney from Saturday April 8 to Thursday April 13, the carnival is open to footballers from all multicultural backgrounds.
KickStart’s opening performances saw the Tasmanian squad fall short to Northern Territory 2.3.15 to 3.6.24 and Western Australia 2.2.14 to 4.7.31 in games one and two respectively, before securing their first win against Queensland, 6.8.44 to 2.1.13.
Tassie dominated against South Australia with a 3.9.27 to 2.1.13 victory followed by a tight 5.4.34 win against Victoria 5.1.31. The final rostered game saw Tasmania win 5.2.32 against New South Wales-Australian Capital Territory 4.5.29 to pave the way for a Semi Final clash against this side, winning 7.6.46 to 3.0.18.
Dominating against Northern Territory 3.3.21 to 2.2.14 in the Preliminary Final, Tasmania’s luck ran out in the Grand Final against Western Australia, 1.1.7 to 11.18.74.
However KickStart players Bailey and Toby, say they were thrilled by their side’s games.
“The team performed outstandingly considering we were not expected to win a game let alone make it into the Grand Final,” Bailey said, with Toby chipping in: “We exceeded everyone’s expectations, even our own.”
Bailey says he was pleased with his individual performance and playing in a variety of positions, felt confident enough to run the ball throughout the field.
“My main highlight was kicking the only goal in the final!” he said of the premiership margin.
A valuable experience, Toby says the knowledge he gained from playing new positions and meeting former and current AFL players, in Matthew Stokes, Aaron Davey, Michael O’Loughlin and Aliir Aliir, will strengthen his game into the future.
“I believe the toughest challenge for me was playing a role that I never had before,” he said.
“I played in the back pocket and it was actually mentioned by the coaches that they thought out of the whole competition we had the strongest and best backline in the carnival, and that we were a main part behind our team winning the games we did.”
In other Tassie action, All Nations recorded their first win in game three against Northern Territory, 7.4.46 to 3.3.21 before following the victory with a second against NSW-ACT 8.6.54 to 2.1.13 in game four.
Despite losses in games five and six, All Nations made a Semi Final appearance to roll over Northern Territory a second time, 6.4.40 to 1.1.7 before going down in a tight preliminary clash against Western Australia 5.3.33 to 6.5.41.