Geelong Supercats coach Leon O’Neill is lamenting a disappointing weekend double in Tasmania that started with a tough lesson at the hands of North West Tasmania in Devonport, with the perennial powerhouse, backed by a parochial home-town crowd, scorching its way to an 18-point win, 96-78. “We didn’t really come to play, lacking the necessary aggression on defence, our communication was terrible and our attention to detail, as far as the scout goes, wasn’t great,” O’Neill said. “We just turned it into a trot up and down, and putting some shots up. They capitalised on our poor play and were just far too good for us.”
That result came despite the visitors bursting to a six-point advantage at the first break, 21-15, before the host turned the corner to dominate from that point onward. Geelong struggled to contain the free-flowing Tall Timber offence in the second term with the home side pouring in 33 points to 14, essentially setting the tone for the remainder of the game.
Tall Timber skipper Jeremiah Ingram (25 points @ 47%), Lachlan Barker (24 @ 53%) and dangerous point-guard Marcus Bragg (18 @ 54%) shouldered the bulk of the scoring burden for North West Tasmania, while for Geelong, imports DeMarcus Gatlin (20 points at 53%) and John Davis (18 @ 44%) were the only double figure scorers. The Supercats fired at 45% from the field making 33 of 73 attempts in contrast to the home side’s 34-64 at 53%.
Davis and Gatlin were just as effective on the glass ripping down 12 and 11 rebounds, respectively, as Geelong ruled the backboards 49-28, but just could not make up for a concerning turnover count that tallied 19 by the final buzzer. The home side conceded just 12.
With a three-hour drive south and on the back of limited sleep, come Sunday Geelong was always up against it meeting a Hobart combination lying in wait for its fatigued foe. A corked thigh, sustained by Michael Luxford in Devonport compounded Geelong’s problems and shortened its roster. “Fortunately we were able to put the first game behind us pretty quickly and the game against Hobart saw a much improved effort,” O’Neill said, despite the 92-86 loss.
“Our composure and effort was really good for 40 minutes. Had things gone our way and with a bit of luck, we could have walked away one and one for the weekend.”
Geelong held the advantage by seven points at the last change, but was overrun in the fourth quarter by the rampant Chargers, 28-15. Nathan Herbert led the scoring with 18, while Gatlin (15), Jamie Medved (13) and Davis (11) were also prominent on the scoresheet, while Kristian Rocci was just a field goal from a double-double in his 22-minute contribution. “We fought really hard and executed our game plan really well for 90% of the time,” O’Neill said.
“We were undermanned, but they battled their hearts out and I couldn’t be prouder. If we can carry that intensity over we are going to put ourselves in with a chance to win a lot of games.”