By Liam McCoppin
After two years playing with two-time QUAFL-winning national champions the Melbourne Manticores, star beater Deni Tasman recently announced his intention to transfer back to the Wrackspurts Quidditch Club. Tasman began his quidditch career with the Wrackspurts back in early 2013 before transferring to the Manticores in early 2014, and they have helped Tasman become the top tier beater we know today. Interviewer Liam McCoppin discusses Deni's decision to leave the team he helped become great, for the team that originally brought him into the sport of quidditch.
Deni Tasman in the QUAFL 2015 Grand Final. | Photo by SLDixon Photography.
Quidditch Post: It has been a wondrous two years for you with the Melbourne Manticores; have you got a special memory or highlight that you will always remember from playing with them?
Tasman: I think beating the Monash Muggles so convincingly at QUAFL 2014 sticks out. They were the defending Victoria Cup champs. Not to hark back to this moment time and time again (actually, though – get wrecked Neil, I own you and I'll bring it up always), denying Neil Kemister with a goal-saving beat just felt like everything was going our way. That, and that I belonged to a team that had not just gelled but become very good.
QP: It seems like under the coaching of the Manticores, you have developed from a bundle of raw talent into one of Australia's silkiest and smartest players. Can you tell us a little of what it has been like working under great coaches like Alan Lahiff and James Williams?
Tasman: Being coached by them was the best thing that could have happened to me. They encouraged me to think more about the game and utilise my strengths. They believed in me, gave me confidence, and put the responsibility on me to lead on the pitch. They pushed because they trusted that I would benefit from it. I'm so grateful for all they’ve done.
QP: What brought you back to your original team, Wrackspurts Quidditch Club? You have achieved great success at the Manticores, yet the Wrackspurts are still fighting to make a name for themselves in Australia. What did they offer you to get your signature for the coming year?
Tasman: I think when you collect a bunch of 21-year-old dudes and dudettes who all possess a funny bone and a general relaxed vibe, it’s hard, as a 21-year-old, to not be drawn into that sphere. Plus they’ve got serpent tongues, well-versed in the art of seduction. The Wrackspurts also offer a fanciful transfer fee for all those interested in joining the club: a jug of either the finest James Boag’s or cider available, which I happily took up.
QP: What are your goals for the future, both with your new team and individually?
Tasman: I saw going to the Wrackspurts as a new challenge, and with the success the Manticores have had, I was hoping to bring some of that experience back to my original team. Helping the Wrackspurts win medals would be my ultimate goal. They've continued to support me even as I left them, and I just wanted to come back and repay them. I hope I can be considered a leader at my new club, which may help elevate my game even more. But in saying that, I have already fulfilled a goal of mine – to be united with friends I have always wanted to play alongside and banter with. That in itself makes the future look like a lot of fun already.
QP: Excuse me if I’m wrong, Deni, but you were named QUAFL MVP in 2014 (Editor’s Note: We spoke with Tasman about that award earlier, an interview that can be read here), and you are widely regarded as one of the best beaters in the country; how could you elevate your game further?
Tasman: Coming to a team in need of an experienced beater would give me an opportunity to work on my leadership, communication, and decision-making. My aim at the Wrackspurts is to be the most vocal player on pitch, and the challenge to play with new team members makes me even more eager to focus on these skills, because “teamwork makes the dream work”. If I can improve those aspects of my game, I could work with any beating partner, and that's important if I want to earn a spot on the Australian Drop Bears team for the 2016 World Cup. You can bet your ass that I want that spot.
QP: Deni, thanks for taking some time out of your busy work schedule and training regime to talk to us, and we hope to see great things from you in the coming year!Tasman: Thanks; it’s been a pleasure chatting.