On the improve

NWFL. The Greenham Tasmania Smithton Saints returned from Latrobe on Saturday with a win and two losses across three grades in results mirroring those of round two.

However final margins were different against a Demons outfit on the improve: Smithton’s U/18s holding on by 21 points; the Reserves handed a 177-point lesson; and the Seniors going down by 125 points in comparison to an earlier 24-point loss.

In the first match of the day, the U/18s took an eight-point lead in a low-scoring first quarter and led at every change, maintaining the narrow lead throughout and withstanding a late fightback in kicking four goals to one in the final term.

Smithton’s Josh Gale was prolific up forward, taking his total goal tally for the year to 21 with seven goals alongside three to Jarod Elphinstone.

Coach Rob Coates said it was pleasing to see Gale “really up and about” and proving why he is a difficult match-up for some of the better back men in the competition, adding he hopes his side can continue to “string four quarters together”.

Elphinstone’s contribution in the ruck was also noted; his development coming along in “leaps and bounds” having made the change over from basketball and using his height to make an impact.

The Saints’ Reserves had “another tough day at the office” according to coach Dwayne Everett, who marked inconsistency as his side’s major problem.

Smithton was kept scoreless in the opening half as the Demons piled on 13.8, with Dale Poke scoring Smithton’s only goal for the match in the final quarter with the damage well and truly done.

Everett thanked the players who doubled up for two matches, believing a “four-quarter effort” is needed this week to be competitive against Penguin: “If all the boys turn up ready to play, we can match some of the better teams.”

The Seniors were staring down the barrel of a similar result, facing an uphill battle after conceding six goals to one in the first and managing to post just three goals of their own for the match.

Coach Aaron Tuxworth remained upbeat despite the result, saying his players’ endeavour was a lot better and they “really responded” after the Devonport game.

“Some of the younger boys are starting to get some consistency into their game which will help us to continue to improve over the remainder of the season,” he said.

“Latrobe had definitely improved from the first time we played them in Smithton, which is a credit to them.”

Tuxworth added Jordan Williams was “excellent” in his first senior game for the club, believing he is an indication of “how bright the future of the club is looking”.

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