U18 TAC Cup Squad

Story thanks to Tim Michell from The Leader

Image Source: PA Sports Photography 

NORTHERN Knights coach Justin Wenke has conceded his side must be “competitive for a little bit longer in games” to challenge the TAC Cup’s best teams.

The Knights have one win on the board to Round 4 after a testing start to the campaign, a 14-point victory over Western Jets.

Northern proved it was capable of pushing top-four sides Sandringham Dragons and Oakleigh Chargers in rounds one and three, but came away empty-handed from both games.

Wenke said the Knights had played “really strong quarters” but failed to translate their form for long enough to overcome the Dragons and Chargers.

Northern won two quarters against Oakleigh and three of the four terms in its win over Western.

“The boys have really tried to move the ball well and we have probably had a bit more emphasis on some run and carry,” he said.

“When we do that for periods, we look really good.

“The learning from that is we want to keep taking the game on, have a bit of a crack at it and encourage the players to do that.”

The Knights were unable to square their season on Saturday as a goal from Gippsland Power’s Irving Mosquito with 26 seconds to play caused a 10.6 (66) to 10.6 (66) draw between the sides.

Skipper Braedyn Gillard was best afield in the nailbiter, while Ryan Sturgess played his best game of the campaign.

Draft prospect Tom McKenzie has maintained his red-hot start to the season, while wingman Oscar White’s form earned him a call-up to the Vic Metro squad.

Wenke also highlighted the efforts of defender Joel Randall and bottom-age player Lachlan Potter in recent weeks.

School football will force Wenke and his coaching staff to juggle the magnets in coming weeks.

“The good thing is there’s some boys that are waiting in the wings,” he said.

“Probably some more senior players that probably didn’t play early that played last year that are still waiting for their first game this year.

“We still think we will be pretty competitive in those middle stages (of the season)”.

He said the Knights were slowly gaining belief they could take it up to the competition’s top sides.

“We are actually getting a bit of belief we can put some things together,” Wenke said.

“As the season goes, we will keep getting better with a bit more experience.”