Tasmania has been left more than just sweating overa heavy defeat against Northern Territory amid stifling humidity in Darwin on Friday night.
The locker room lookedakin to a hospital ward when a number of players were left dehydrated and suffering from exhaustion.
The players struggled to play out the second half that led to a 16.12 (108) to 6.9 (45) loss at TIOStadium.
The result was almost inconsequential to coach Adam Sanders, more concerned with the welfare of his players.Manyof themwere “running on empty” under lightsin the Darwin 30-degree heat for the first time.
“We’ve got probably at least four or five boys, who are sitting back quite sick now,” a shocked Sanders said immediately after the game.
“It was a very short turnaround after five days being on the plane Sunday night coming home from Melbourne and then playing in Darwin on Friday night.
“That’s not certainly not an excuse, I don’t wantit to comeacross that way, but it was a bloody big ask.
“The boys were at the airport at 4:30 yesterdaymorning, so the scheduling left a bit to be desired.”
The Mariners played threeconsecutive games against a Victorian TAC Cup side before three days restand flying more 4000kms to the Top End.
“We weren’t able to do much training with recovery and the lot,” Sanders said
“Could we do much more? Not really.We couldn’t do much training up here.”
Northern Territory scored six goals to three to shoot to a 21-point quarter-time lead, but by the main break the opening national under-18 championships encounter was a fait accompli.
The hosts stretched the lead to 49 points,increasingto 67 points at the last change.
Tasmania only kicked three goals in the last three quarters, including a goalless third.
“They were more experienced with older bodies and just ran all over us, really,” Sanders said.
“They were certainly the better side on the night.
“At times we did okay –in the first quarter it wasn’t too bad, the second quarter was poor and the second half was spasmodic.”
Launceston defendersRyan Tyrell,from the Blues, and North Launceston’s Issac Thompson did a “good job”down back.Sanders also rated the work of16-year-old ruckman Tim Auckland.
“There was a positive with the boys who are still two years away. We could expose them and they know they can compete,” he said.
“We probably lacked some class;we weren’t just quite clean enough.”
TOUGH: Tasmania chasing hard on Friday night at the under-18 national championships against Northern Territory in Darwin. Picture: AFL Tasmania
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