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NorthPort
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Strike three for Devils
From AFL Tasmania - http://afltasmania.goal.com.au/ [quote]By James Bresnehan TASMANIA'S worst start to a VFL season since joining in 2001 may force coach Mathew Armstrong to change his plans for the team this year. The Devils have lost their first three games - something they have not done since their debut season -- after yesterday's fighting effort against the Kangaroos- aligned Port Melbourne at TEAC Oval. Port's 15.18 (108) to 14.11 (95) win pushed the Devils further toward the bottom of the ladder. It followed a heart-breaking two-point loss to Geelong at home last weekend. The lack of a prime target in attack, combined with a steady flow of injuries, have reduced the Devils as a threat. Armstrong is on the verge of conceding that 2005 must become a rebuilding year. "I hate to say it, I don't want to say it yet, but in the back of my mind that may be so," Armstrong said. The loss yesterday of prime-mover Luke Shackleton and goal-magnet Jason Ling delivered the team another kick in the guts. Shackleton was hit so hard in a pack in the second term that he had double-vision and was forced to watch from the bench, while Ling strained his left quadricep and sat out most of the second half. But rookie ruckman Markham Johnson, 19, played the most important game of his short career. He was so outstanding against Kangaroo players Corey McKernan and towering Hamish McIntosh that he drew the attention of Brisbane Lions talent scouts. "Good on him, he worked very hard today," Armstrong said. The Devils' are optimistic of breaking their duck against Frankston at Bellerive next Sunday. "It's going to be a long year. If we don't win next week it's going to be a long, long year," Armstrong said. "I'll reassess after next week. They're having a go, but personnel-wise we are lacking talls up forward. "The opposition kick easy goals and we battle every week." Port Melbourne's relentless rebound attack tortured Tasmania and helped the home team work to a 36-point lead late in the third term. But theTasmanians found the fight that has made them so admired in the VFL, and hit the front midway through the final quarter. But Shane Harvey and Leigh Harding kicked Port's only two goals of the last term to seal their side's first win this season. The usual suspects gave Tasmania its best service, with skipper Ben Beams bagging five goals, onballer Ben Setchell relentless in gathering a game-high 29 touches, and Ian Callinan, Matthew Geappen and Ben Atkin all super servants in the midfield.[/quote]