Lucas Hogg had a memorable starting debut last month. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Locals lead Tasman resurgence

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Lucas Hogg faced a daunting task during his debut for Tasman last month.

The teenager was introduced to the National Football League against the best side in the league, riding a three year, 49-match unbeaten run.

However, against all odds Tasman pulled off the upset of the season and ended the streak in spectacular fashion in Nelson a fortnight ago.

“To not just get a get a debut but to beat a team like Auckland City, it was awesome,” says Lucas.

Lucas played every minute of the historic 2-1 victory.

“I was surprised to get picked in the squad let alone start.”

Lucas had been training with the squad but was given no indication he would feature during the season.

However, following an injury to Hamish Cadigan opened the door for the 19-year-old and coach Jess Ibrom showed faith in his rookie left back.

“I was nervous but the boys prepared me right, once I got on there my nerves went away.”

Lucas preparations were hampered by a niggle in his knee.

“On Friday I got a knock and Saturday morning I was 50-50 whether I was going to play, but we just strapped it up and it held up ok.”

The clash was incredibly heated with a number of altercations between players.

“There were a couple of scuffles but I just stayed away, not really my thing. Auckland are always going to be dominant so we had a plan that we were going to sit back, defend and take our chances when we got them.”

Tasman certainly did that with Jean Philippe Saikpo slotting the match winner in the 94th minute.

“The boys were just so over the moon, it was so surreal, we celebrated, sung Sweet Caroline and had a few beers in the changing rooms.”

The Waimea College product says the side will now be full of confidence as they look to push into play offs.

“It’s a massive opportunity to make the finals and make it the best season Tasman has ever had.”

Lucas is one of a number of local helping lead a resurgence at the franchise.

After being written off early in the season, Tasman United has enjoyed a rich run of form lately including the historic scalp against Auckland City.

A mass exodus at Christmas time did not inspire confidence for fans but Tasman has since silenced its doubters and are now right in contention for a play-off spot.

Fellow Nelsonians such as Nick Stanton, Billy Scott, Fox Slotemaker, Matt Tod-Smith, Max Winterton, Sam Wilson, Lachie Brooks, Scott Morris, Josh Creswell have all played their part in the turnaround.

With a bye last weekend Tasman travel to the capital this weekend to take on the Wellington Phoenix reserves.

Kick off at Porirua Park is 2pm on Sunday.