GNL. The Tall Timbers Smithton Saints men were demolished by South Launceston Suns in the Greater Northern League on Saturday.
Without the strength of five experienced players, Smithton fielded its youngest side in recent history to face the ladder leaders in a tough battle.
From the first whistle, South Launceston produced an overpowering pressure, an intensity that Joe Coombs and Austinn Bakes struggled to contain in defence.
Within two minutes the home side had notched its first score and added another three goals before the first break.
The confidence of young defenders Deakhan Poke and Hugh Dwyer increased in the second quarter, setting offensive play in motion for Kade Wooldrage and Harry Lester to capitalise on.
Following a bout of fierce competition, Lester earned a penalty corner which was converted by Sam Porteus-Smith to narrow the scoreline to 5-1 at the main break.
The defensive pressure resumed in the second half as Ben Revell and Daniel Cramer spent the game matching the intensity of their opponents to halt the offence and drive the ball forward.
The momentum began to dwindle in the third and fourth terms and Smithton surrendered its defence to allow South Launceston to pounce on attacking opportunities.
The home side secured a further five goals to seal the game in their favour, 10-1.
Sharing the spot with Queechy Penguins, South Launceston Suns sit at third on the ladder in the women’s division with six victories, three defeats and one draw in the records.
The Saints, who remain one victory and one draw shy of eighth place, were tested by the strength of the Suns in a thrilling competition on Saturday.
Without Melissa Stokes and Emma Spinks on the field, the side called upon Laura Tuson to provide strength along the backline.
Smithton produced a fine effort across the field throughout the first term to prevent South Launceston from attaining a score on the board despite numerous offensive opportunities.
The visiting side also launched a number of attacks however were unsuccessful in sneaking past the opposing goalkeeper.
In the second half, the intensity lifted as both sides again gained chances in front of goal before the home side secured a conversion.
Smithton continued to press into offence however could not finish off the attempts in time, recording an uncontested two goal defeat.
With seven rounds remaining, coach Elliott Mainwaring said now is the opportunity for the side to register some points.
“The forwardline is combining better with every passing week and a winning score seems to be just around the corner,” says Mainwaring.
“Defensively the whole team is making great strides and looking more confident.”
In the next round of the Greater Northern League, Smithton will take on Devonport at Meercroft Park this Saturday (July 7).