Tough As is where we will celebrate the moments not always recognised in your standard highlight packages. Big bumps, strong tackles, and high-pressure acts are what we highlight here. With that in mind here is Tough As for Round One.
In his first game for the club, Dougal Howard made Tarryn Thomas regret his decision to travel to Marvel Stadium. With the ball in dispute, Howard executed a perfect bump on the young North forward. Not content with rattling Thomas’ bones, Howard laid a text book tackle on Jy Simpkin with a determined second effort.
Dan Butler was brought to the club for his forward pressure and we didn’t have to wait long to see it in action. With the ball in dispute in the Saints forward line the former Tiger hit Josh Walker with a heavy tackle dislodging the ball. Before Jasper Pittard could do anything upon collecting the loose ball, Jack Lonie set upon him with an equally brutal tackle. The resulting spillage saw the ball into Dan Hannebery’s hands whose hurried opened the scoring with a touched behind.
The Saints pressure was elite in the first half and they offered the Kangaroos very little time and space in which to do their work. One of the best examples of this was in the first quarter when Jared Polec collected a loose ball. No sooner had he taken possession than he was set upon by Jack Steele, followed soon after by Dan Hannebery.
One of the best measures of effort and pressure is the tackle inside fifty numbers. By half-time, the Saints led this number 16-6 as they consistently gave themselves repeat scoring opportunities. Despite not being known for his forward pressure, Jack Billings delivered one of the best examples with a ball and all tackle in the first quarter. Following his lead, Zak Jones executed a similarly strong tackle in the second quarter to apply pressure up forward.
Despite being goalless for the day, Jack Lonie was determined to have an impact on the contest. This desire was keenly felt by Tom Murphy who was on the receiving end of a stiff Lonie bump on centre wing in the third quarter. A man well known for his blue-collar work is Jack Steele who laid four tackles against the Kangaroos. One, where he teamed with Dan Hannebery in the first quarter, we have already discussed, in the third quarter his effort on Trent Dumont was rewarded with a holding the ball free kick.
With time ticking down on the contest and with the two sides separated by just one kick, Dan Hannebery was determined to get his team across the line. Chasing up a miskick, Hannebery made heavy contact with Cameron Zurhaar. While the Saints would ultimately come up short, it would be through no lack of effort from the former Swan.