TSL Previews with Alex FitzGerald – Round 4
Written by Alex FitzGerald
Saturday 22nd April
Devonport vs Clarence (Devonport Oval) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Devonport 12.10.82 def Clarence 12.8.80 (Round 16, 2016, at Devonport Oval)
Devonport head into this match still looking to open their 2017 account, fresh off a 31 point loss in the coastal derby against a fired up Burnie at West Park. Clarence, on the other hand, would be full of confidence after putting away Eastern Shore rivals Lauderdale last week in an impressive display, with the Roos now sitting on two straight wins.
In Round 16 last year, Devonport came from behind to sneak past Clarence for a two point win. Mitch Thorp and Brayden Butler were the difference for the Magpies, while Jake Cox snagged four for the Roos, with Brady Jones and Sam Siggins also impressive. Devonport will be boosted by the earlier than expected return of their leader Mitch Thorp, he’ll add much needed leadership and a tall target capable of kicking a bag. Despite that, Clarence have started the year in fine form and this game could sees the Roos well placed to exact some revenge for the tight loss late last season.
Co-captain Dylan Riley has been in sensational form for Devonport, with the tough midfielder one of the only Magpies to impress across every game so far. He has been well supported by young Dylan Schnoor, with Brad Symmons, Brad Chard and Brayden Scott putting in solid performances in Round 3. The Magpies’ forward line is still yet to fire, and they face a tough task against a fast-rebounding Clarence. Brodie Connelly has shown glimpses of what he can provide up forward, but along with the small forwards, must support Brayden Butler and put multiple majors on the board for Devonport to stand a fighting chance. The return of Thorp is sure to take the pressure off these youngsters and may lead to a more competitive score, kicked.
Many Roos stood out last week against Lauderdale in a match where goals came in a hurry. Jake Cox was everywhere, kicking six goals from a wing, with Aiden Grace and 150 gamer Trent Standen chiming in with three majors apiece. Gabby Chambers ensured that Bombers captain Bryce Walsh had little influence on the game, and mobile tall Sam Siggins dominated the ruck to give his midfielders first use of the ball from most contests. James Holmes was impressive in his second game, taking several courageous intercept marks and setting up the Roos’ run from defence. These players will all be crucial to Clarence’s fortunes this week, but the Roos’ playing list runs deep, and there are a dozen other players capable of influencing a match.
Unfortunately for Devonport, Clarence have shown that they are able to lift to another level when challenged, and the young Magpies have conceded some big second halves this season against lesser sides already. This pattern may well continue at Devonport Oval this week, but the Magpies should be using the game to learn from an in form side and back themselves in when taking shots at goal, as they’ll need to kick a high score to stand a chance.
Hobart City Demons vs Burnie (Queenborough Oval) 12:30pm
Last Time They Met: Burnie 17.21.123 def Hobart City Demons 10.11.71 (Round 13, 2016, at West Park)
After big losses to flag favourites Glenorchy and North Launceston in their first two matches of 2017, Hobart City Demons were competitive in a low scoring match last week before a late goal saw them go down to the Tigers by four points. Burnie were impressive in the maiden win of 2017, downing rivals Devonport by 31 points in their strongest performance of the season. Burnie ran out convincing winners last time these sides squared off against each other, but with the Dockers fielding a much younger side this season, the result should be much closer this time around.
The inaccurate Hobart City Demons probably should have beaten the Tigers last week, and despite prime mover Will Campbell being well held, they had many players step up. Ryan Matthews continued his strong start to the season, and young Nicholas Baker had his best match for the club, with assistant Richard Robinson singing his praises in the post-match press conference. Forwards Josh Williamson and Sean Willis managed two goals each, but they will need help from Callan Dell and quick ball delivery from the midfield if they are to compete with a Burnie side full of confidence. Hugh Williams will return for the Demons but confusion reigns on whether it is their skipper or the more junior backman of the same name. Coach Kane Richter played games with local media and declined to reveal. I guess we’ll find out 12:30pm on Saturday.
Burnie were held goalless into the wind last week in the second term, but still managed to top the ton and run out the match for their first win last week. Mariner Blair Rubock continued his hot run of form, booting four goals, and the long-kicking Harry Walters and James Dowling kicked three apiece. Bailey Boag, Nick Walters and Samuel Kalbfell were also strong performers in the Round 3 victory. Burnie will likely lose Rubock, Jamieson House, Ethan Jackson and Thomas Mundy to the Mariners this week, which means that leaders Rudy Barrett, Nick McKenna and Tyrone Morrison will need to return to 2016 form if the Dockers are to wrestle the game away from the Hobart City Demons.
These two young sides are relatively evenly matched, and despite Hobart City Demons having the home advantage, the small Queenborough Oval will suit the Burnie forwards, who have shown they are more than capable of scoring from beyond the 50. It may sound simple, but this outcome of this match will be decided by which team wants the victory more. Expect a cracking contest right up until the final siren.
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Lauderdale vs Launceston (Lauderdale Oval) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Lauderdale 12.21.99 def Launceston 10.9.69 (Round 14, 2016, at Lauderdale Oval)
Lauderdale started well last week against Clarence, but despite an admirable performance they were unable to match the run of the Roos in the second half, going down by 32 points. Launceston was convincingly defeated by Northern rivals North Launceston by 85 points, which halted their streak of two impressive wins over Devonport and Burnie. The Bombers were clear winners when they last met in 2016, with only inaccuracy stopping the defeat from being a major one. Ryan Wiggins kicked five for the Bombers, while Jay Blackberry was strong in booting three majors of his own from the midfield.
Lauderdale are yet to win a game in 2017, but have led in both of their matches against more-fancied sides at quarter time. Last week the Bombers were well served by midfielders Dylan Fyfe, Nat Franklin and Robbie McManus, who fought hard across all four quarters to collect over 100 disposals between them. Thor Boscott was lively up forward with several shots on goal for a two goal return, and Ryan Wiggins kicked three in his first game after moving home from Victoria. Bryce Walsh was well held, and will need to lead from the front this week in the absence of some Mariners players. The Bombers will welcome the inclusion of tough utility Toutai Havea back from suspension to do battle with the bigger Launceston players.
Launceston have had a solid start to the season, so the blowout loss last week will cut deep. Expect Sam Lonergan, Rulla Kelly-Mansell, and Hamish Leedham to assert themselves after quieter games last week. Sonny Whiting continued his stellar season up forward against North Launceston, booting four goals from limited options, and he should be a handful again this week. Kelly-Mansell with his aerial ability should also be hard to contain, as will the hard-running Jay Blackberry, who pushes forward for shots on goal every week. Launceston will have weaker defensive lines, as Jack Donellan is serving a two match suspension after a fiery clash last round, and Mariners trio Jake Hinds, Chayce Jones, and Ryan Tyrell will miss due to a match against the Brisbane Academy side. It will be up to Corey Shepherd and Jordan Harris to contain the lively Bomber forwards.
This clash may be a fiery one, with both sides not afraid of physicality, especially early in a match. Before last week’s loss, Launceston would have been clear favourites, but their poor showing and Lauderdale’s bravery against a strong Clarence outfit has the outcome hard to pick this round. The trip to Lauderdale Oval is a daunting one for any side, and don’t be surprised if the Bombers take it up to the Blues. The question is, will they be able to maintain that intensity all game, or will the Blues wrestle the win away in the second half? Only time will tell.
Tuesday 25th April – ANZAC Day
Glenorchy vs Tigers (KGV) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Glenorchy 21.22.148 def Tigers 4.5.29 (Round 21, 2016, at KGV)
Glenorchy had the bye last week, which gave them time to rest their goalkicking feet. The Magpies have been way too strong for their respective opponents early in the season, defeating Hobart City Demons by 98 points and Devonport by 154 points respectively. Their Anzac Day opponents, Tigers have started the year in great form, with two wins at home and a close loss to Clarence across their first three matches. Last year Glenorchy hammered the Tigers, as they did most teams, but the Tigers have gained more experience and look a different beast in 2017, the two teams running out on ANZAC Day will be in for a closer match than in 2016.
The Magpies have had many stand out players across their first two games, with none more impressive than Jaye Bowden, who backed up a first round haul of five goals with an astonishing 11 majors the following week. Tyler Bowden and Harrison Gunther have also looked dangerous up forward, along with Harrison Pearce, but the latter two won’t travel with the Mariners this week, providing an opportunity for Hawthorn recruit Zac Webster to put his hand up and find a bit more of the footy. Big man Cameron Duffy has been dominant, giving midfielders Braydon Webb, Rhys Mott and Mitch Rainbird consistent first use of the ball and boy they’ve used it well, cutting opposition teams apart.
The Tigers have a huge task ahead of them, but are playing as well as they have in years, so it will be interesting to see how they shape up against the all-conquering Magpies. Former Carlton-listed recruit Mitchell Carter has been outstanding in defence, taking intercept marks by the dozen and providing the first kick in many attacking chains of possession. Ash Hunphrey and Cameron Johns have had a great start to the year alongside him down back, and will be tested by the Magpie forwards this week. Brandon Batchelor and Mitch Walker have been great options up forward, and will rely on Marcus Davies, Will Cleeland and Jack Bilson to provide them with clean delivery. The Tigers will be without a number of young players due to Mariners representative duties, with Lachlan Clifford, Hugh Dixon and Toby Cowen to miss the match against Glenorchy.
As impressive as the Tigers have played, Glenorchy have been scarily good so far, and kicking goals at an alarming rate. The Tigers are one side that have the ability to match the run and carry of the Magpies, they will look to move the ball quickly from defence into their forward half. At their best, they certainly could give the reigning Premiers a scare but the question is whether they can sustain it, no one has matched the Pies for beyond a quarter so far. Hopefully this is an ANZAC Day clash that will be remembered for the display of pure football and the contest it provided.
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