By Phil Edwards, The Examiner
The top-of-the-table State League clash between North Launceston and Glenorchy lived up to the pre-match hype with the Magpies grabbing a thrilling four-point victory in an enthralling contest between the two best teams in the state.
Glenorchy staged a remarkable second half fightback kicking seven goals to two to grab the all-important four points, securing top spot on the ladder and the reward of a home region second semi-final.
North Launceston controlled the contest kicking four goals to two in the opening quarter winning the clearances and applying plenty of pressure around the contests to prevent Glenorchy from getting their running game going on the outside.
They booted three goals to one in the second term to lead by 25 points at half-time dominating the inside 50s 16-8 for the quarter and seemingly having the Magpies, who managed just three goals for the half, on the ropes.
But in a game of two halves, it was Glenorchy who came out with more intent and purpose in the third term working harder, winning more ball and outplaying North kicking three goals to one for the quarter to close the gap to 13 points at the last change.
With the stakes high and the game up for grabs, the Magpies continued their revival with four goals to one in the final term and withstood a Northern Bombers challenge in the dying minutes as they pressed forward and threw everything at them with less than a goal separating the two teams – Glenorchy holding on for a 10.6 (66) to 9.8 (62) victory.
Jay Bowden finished with four goals and was important in the Magies revival and Clinton French kicked two to be another good player along with Jordan Arnold, Rhys Mott and Ben Reynolds.
Stephen Witkowski, Mark Walsh and Brad Cox-Goodyer kicked two each for North with Jay Lockhart, Jay Foon, Mark Walsh and Taylor Whitford good contributors.
Ruckman Daniel Roozendaal was reported for rough conduct on Glenorchy’s Cameron Duffy in his 150th game.
“Our tackling pressure went up in the second half which was lacking in the first and we had more intent and fight from the guys and they backed our system,” Glenorchy coach Aaron Cornelius said.
“We hadn’t been tested in that situation too many times so it was pleasing to see how they reacted, a lot more leadership and guys kept their cool under pressure and we were able to get the result.”
North coach Zane Littlejohn was happy with their first half but said they had too many passengers in the second.
“I said we needed to have 22 contributors and more than they had and we didn’t end up having that in the end,” he said.
“We turned the footy over an awful lot in the second half and they hurt us back the other way – but we will take a lot from it especially a lot of our inexperienced guys who haven’t played in a game with such hype and it will be a good lesson to take if we are lucky enough to meet them again.”