TSL TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 7

This week sees representation from all-but one team, as we saw some of the best contests of the season to-date.
 
The Demons were the big story, producing a major turn up to pip Clarence by just one point. For their troubles, they have four players picked this week.
 
The Blues blew away the Tigers to the tune of 81 points and top this week’s selection with five in the best 22, including two defenders from a strong defensive display.
 
Once again there is plenty of red and black with the Northern Bombers having four and Lauderdale with three making the cut.
 
Of the losing sides, an undermanned Glenorchy impressed and as a result they are the best represented with three players in the team, while Clarence and Devonport had one each.
 
Continuing their red-hot form, Matthews, McCulloch, Lee, Couch and Boscott all made it back to back nods for the team of the week.

 

BACKS

Tom Morgan (Glenorchy)

Morgan was terrific on debut for the Magpies, accumulating plenty of the ball in the back half and using it with poise and class.

Liam Azzopardi (Hobart City Demons)

Hobart City’s backline general stood up for the Demons in their upset win over Clarence. In dark and moist conditions for most of the afternoon, Azzopardi was instrumental with ten big spoils to compliment his ten possessions, which included one rebound 50, three tackles, and two marks. Azzopardi’s performance was capped off by keeping dangerous Roo Sam Siggins goalless.

Jake Pearce (North Launceston)

Pearce was a vital reason behind North’s memorable victory over Glenorchy. With his ability to create contests and to use the ball cleanly out of the back half, Pearce was instrumental in restricting the dangerous Magpie forward line.

 

HALF BACKS

James Webb (Glenorchy)

James Webb was impressive in his side’s loss to North Launceston as he gathered plenty of the ball and kicked a big time goal late in the third term to keep the Magpies in the hunt for an unlikely victory.

Stuart Williams (Launceston)

Williams showed off his athleticism to run hard from half back, gathered touches across all four quarters, but especially strong in the first with a number of inside 50’s, one resulting in a Whiting goal, and in the third, where he had three rebounds 50’s. His great game was rewarded with three RACT Votes.

Jake Smith (Launceston)

Smith has been a consistent player all season, with close to 25 touches per game, had another 25 in this match, and provided plenty of drive from the backline as Launceston moved the ball forward, with a number of inside 50’s.  Kicked a goal as well, and his run both ways was damaging, breaking the Tigers’ lines repeatedly.

 

CENTRES

Nick Baker (Hobart City Demons)

The Tassie Mariner proved just why he is one of the best up and coming talents in the TSL, with a genuinely dominant performance by the midfielder. Baker drove the ball forward with conviction, evident in his 24 possessions, ten clearances and two inside 50’s. Baker was just as damaging without the ball, laying 16 crunching tackles, whilst also proving his worth in ruck when required, registering six hit outs.

Ryan Matthews (Hobart City Demons)

The Demon’s premier midfielder had the ball on a string as he racked up 28 touches, 13 of which were contested. Matthews set the tone for a standout display after he slotted a classy set shot from the pocket in the crucial opening stanza of this contest. The dominance of Matthews was highlight throughout the stoppages, registering eight clearances to go with ten tackles.

Robbie McManus (Lauderdale)

McManus was the best midfielder on the ground at Devonport Oval, the winger was one of the main reasons the Bombers started to get on top in the game to then run away with a win. W=He worked hard, harassed, chased and made sound decisions with ball in hand.

 

HALF FORWARDS

Jack Avent (North Launceston)

Avent was the perfect foil to big Bart McCulloch, booting two opening quarter goals and a dashing running goal late in the game to seal a victory over the reigning premiers. Avent was without question one of the liveliest and most dangerous players for North.

Thor Boscott (Lauderdale)

Another fantastic game from Boscott as the big beast again proved to be a formidable forward. He was able to make the most of mismatches, take some grabs and kick a handful of goals to be the most dominant man on the field.

Sean Willis (Hobart City Demons)

Willis was one of the better forwards on the ground, registering four goals. After kicking the opening major of the game, Willis got on the end of a quick transition of play from the Demons to have two goals by the first change, and played a key role in Hobart City’s fast start over Clarence. Willis went on to kick two more in the second term to take his tally to four at the main break, but was held goalless throughout the second half. Willis’s nine pressure acts and six tackles proves that when he isn’t kicking goals, he’s working hard to lock the ball inside the Demon’s forward 50.

 

FORWARDS

Brodie Connelly (Devonport)

The youngster enjoyed a new found role deeper in the forward 50, getting good supply and finishing off four well taken goals.

Bart McCulloch (North Launceston)

McCulloch was a huge presence up forward for the Bombers and looked like taking every mark that came his way. The key forward booted 5 in his best performance of season 2017 to date.

Sonny Whiting (Launceston)

Predicted to be a handful for the Tigers’ defence pre-game, Whiting was a target up forward all match. Outmarked his opponent one on one for the first goal of the match, and followed up with a strong contested pack mark and goal soon after. Dominant one on one with his strength, his booted two goals in each of the first, third and fourth quarters, to be the real difference up forward, and proved that he remains one of the best leading forwards in the competition. Finished with six goals from 8 or 9 shots on goal, the majority coming from marks and converted set shots.

FOLLOWERS

Hamish Leedham (Launceston)

Controlled the ruck with his size and determination, and beat Peterson and the Tiger’s pinch hitters at stoppages more times than not.  Imposed himself on the game with some strong tackles, and was part of possession chains, releasing his midfielders with quick handballs as they moved the ball from the backline.  Lonergan described his game as fantastic, and echoed the opinion that Leedham has to be pushing for selection in the eventual state side to face the NEAFL. Without a doubt in the top three ruckmen in the competition, and backed up his strong game against Clarence.

Tom Couch (North Launceston)

Couch was a class above on Saturday at KGV, providing drive, grunt and slick skills out of the middle of the ground. After spending much of the early part of the year in the forward half, Couch thrived as a midfielder against the ‘Pies and was crucial in dragging his Bombers over the line.
Sam Lonergan (Launceston)

After a big pre-season, Lonergan is starting to hit his straps in the midfield.  He was first to the ball from a number of key stoppages, doing the in and under work for the Blues, as well as taking some intercept marks down back and driving the ball inside 50.  A real leader on and off the field, he lets his footy do the talking, and had a big second half, and capped his game off with a great goal kicked over his head in the final term.

INTERCHANGE

Alex Lee (North Launceston)

A key reason behind North Launceston’s crucial win over the reigning champs was the ruckwork of Alex Lee. The tall Bomber gave his midfielders first use all day as North dominated the clearances, while also showcasing his mobility around the ground. Getting the better of Duffy is no mean feat.

Harry Pearce (Glenorchy)

Pearce slotted straight back into the ‘Pies side and had a big impact with three goals. Pearce was one of the Magpies best in their loss against the Bombers, with his three goals and manic defensive pressure really standing out.

 

Ray Hill (Lauderdale)

Hill has found some fine form in recent weeks and he was at his goal scoring best against the Magpies, putting them to the sword with a strong marking game and five goals.

Trent Standen (Clarence)

The Clarence veteran worked his way into this contest, having remained relatively quiet throughout the first half. Standen, much like many of his Clarence teammates, lifted in the third term as the rain began to come down and the Roos started to get on top. Standen finished with four telling goals, including what can only be described as a freakish effort from the forward in the final term. Standen raced to get front and centre of a contest deep in his side’s attacking 50. As the ball was knocked down from the pack, a quick soccer off the ground by Standen somehow floated through the big sticks.

 

Unlucky omissions…

Bryce Walsh was part of a second half midfield dominance from Lauderdale and was a really strong contributor in guiding the Bombers to a good away win. Josh McGuinness stamped himself on the game in the back half and Jordon Roberts and Ryan Wiggins both had strong impacts inside forward 50.

Magpie Brayden Webb has been a fixture of the TSL team of the week throughout the early part of season 2017 and he only just misses out this week, in round 7 he produced yet another classy performance with his foot skills and drive out of the back half. Harrison Gunther was also fantastic on his return to the fold for the Premiers. Josh Ponting was also great for North Launceston and Mark Walsh found plenty of the football. Jay Lockhart also rarely wasted it off half back.

The Blues had a bunch picked but such was their dominance they had some others that could consider themselves a little stiff! Casey Brown – Mariner-listed defender who broke the game open in the third term with some key intercept marks and run from half back.  Lonergan described his third quarter as ‘unbelievable.’ Nathan O’Donohue – The big man played predominantly across half forward, and was damaging in the second quarter, where he had four inside 50’s and two rebounds 50’s.  Also pinch hit in the ruck at times, and used his size and experience to his advantage.