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How the JackJumpers have united Tasmania

27 Mar
3 mins read
Tasmania assistant coach Mark Radford believes Scott Roth's "defend the island" mantra has united the state.

Tasmania has always been a state divided in the sporting realm. It’s always been a case of north vs south, and Hobart vs Launceston. That’s not necessarily the case anymore according to JackJumpers assistant Mark Radford, who says the NBL side has united the island state under one banner.

The state of Tasmania had already had two teams grace the NBL prior to the JackJumpers. First there was Launceston Casino City, who won the 1981 title during a whirlwind three seasons in the competition. Then, the Hobart Devils spent 14 seasons in the competition without ever making Finals.

Radford says head coach Scott Roth’s ‘defend the island’ mantra has helped unite the Tasmanian sporting public.

Tasmania from a sporting standpoint is very divided. It’s not as bad as what it used to be, but it’s north, north-west, and south. There’s a real divide and it’s probably more from the football and cricket days and one thing he (Roth) was very focused on when he came to the state was this is a state team,” Radford told SEN WA.

“It’s not the Hobart Devils like it was in the past, it’s the Tasmania JackJumpers. When we first made the Playoffs, schools all over Tasmania had green days for the JackJumpers, and I think that’s part of the mindset from the club and Scott’s language with the users around press conferences and interviews that this is a Tasmanian team.

“We are one.”

The JackJumpers have the opportunity to raise the NBL title should they defeat Melbourne in Thursday’s clash at MyState Bank Arena, and former Perth Wildcat Damian Martin has labelled a potential closeout game as “the hardest” in a series.

Martin won six NBL titles with the Perth Wildcats during his career, and suffered a further two Championship Series defeats.

He says the JackJumpers have to get the job done on Thursday.

“The hardest game is the closeout game. It goes to Game 5 and you know ‘this is it’, and both teams put bodies on the line,” Martin said. “When you’re up one you can feel that you’re so close to securing a championship, but the other team knows if they lose their season is done.

“Will they be able to match the energy, desire and passion Melbourne are coming in with because they are all on the line? It’s the mental thing more than anything because you don’t want to go into this as a Tassie JackJumper thinking it’s a free hit, because it’s not.

“I don’t think they’re going to win in Melbourne in Game 5, they have to take care of business in Game 4 and that has to be the mindset.”

Game 4 of the Championship Series between Tasmania and Melbourne will tip off at 7:30pm AEDT on Thursday, live on ESPN via Kayo.

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