Nail-biter

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.”

Launceston steals points from Tigers

By Corey Martin, The Examiner

If there is such a thing as football thievery, Launceston were guilty as charged at Windsor Park on Saturday.

After trailing the Tigers throughout the second half, the young Blues rose to the occasion and to pinch glory in final stages – winning 14.10 (94) to 14. 8 (92).

The home side jumped to a 21-point lead at quarter time after controlling the midfield and finding targets inside 50 with ease, which saw five individual goal scorers take full advantage.

Adam Henley’s charges looked re-energised after a short break with repeated forward-50 making life difficult for Launceston’s defenders.

The ninth-placed Tigers dominated an intensity-lacking Blues to kick six goals to two in the second stanza.

Tigers forward duo Brandon Batchelor and Kyle Smith looked lethal, while Chayce Jones kicked his second and Jacob Boyd snagged his first senior goal on debut for Launceston.

The Blues’ key players disappeared and a successful conversion via a 50-metre penalty to Matt Coad late on gifted the Tigers a four-point advantage at half-time.

The third term produced an even battle with both sides adding four majors apiece.

Corey Sheppard stood up at the stoppages for the Blues as Jay Blackberry, closely checked by Jarrod Lawler, proved dangerous following a switch forward to boot two goals in the term.

Jake Nunn was undisciplined in giving away a free kick 25 metres out directly in front to hand Batchelor his second, allowing the Tigers lead 11.9 (75) to 12.6 (78) with a quarter to spare.

Launceston dug deep to kick three final-stanza goals with Jordan Harris putting them eight-points up in the 22nd minute.

Mitchell Walker hit back two-minutes later for the final goal of the match to settle the difference at a slim two points. Jake Hinds was brilliant for the Blues in attacking the contest at every opportunity, while Sheppard, Blackberry and Joe Groenewegen stood tall.

For the Tigers, Batchelor (four goals) was potent as Ashley Humphrey, William Cleeland and Marcus Gardner performed strongly.

It was Launceston’s fourth win of 2016 and second over the Tigers. “We stole it in the last few minutes,” Launceston coach Chris Hills said. “I’m proud of our guys the way we stuck with it, weeks gone by we probably would have given up a little bit.”

Hills said youthful energy and old heads combined to get them home.

Pies edge close to home final

By James Bresnehan and Adam Smith, The Mercury

GLENORCHY’S hopes of hosting a home final went through the roof at Aurora Stadium today as the Magpies flew home to snatch a four-point thriller over reigning premier North Launceston.

The Magpies were down and seemingly out at half time but staged a major offensive in the second half to steal a memorable win — 10.6 (66) to 9.8 (62).

North Launceston pressed hard in the dying minutes and had the chance to steal the game when forward Stephen Witkowski had a 40m set shot at goal five seconds before the final siren. He kicked a behind and the siren sounded soon after Pie Jaye Bowden kicked the ball back into play.

The heart-stopping victory meant Glenorchy held on to top spot on the ladder and has a strong opportunity of hosting a home second semi-final in the second week of the finals series next month.

“If that opportunity arose that would be fantastic for the club,” said Glenorchy coach Aaron Cornelius.

Moves made by the Glenorchy coaches’ box after half-time were match winning but Cornelius gave credit to the men on the field.

“I’m really proud of the boys,” he said.

“We didn’t want to be down [at half-time] but now we’ve shown when we are down we can find a way to fight back and win,” he said.

North Launceston coach Zane Littlejohn was frustrated with his side’s second half but said it was a solid learning experience.

“In the first half we played some pretty good footy and while our leaders were good all day we ended up with too many passengers,” Littlejohn said.

“We needed to have 22 contributors. They had that and we didn’t in the end.”

In wild conditions at Lauderdale, the Bombers and Hobart City played out just the second draw in the TSL.

The two sides failed to score to the top end in the second half — no goals were kicked into the stiff breeze all day — as the Demons came from 22 points down at three quarter-time to knot the game by the final siren 4.15 (39) to 5.9 (39).

Lauderdale failed to capitalise with the wind in the third term, frittering away several golden opportunities by kicking 2.8.

However the while the visitors were slightly more accurate in the last quarter with 3.4, they too missed a couple of reasonably easy chances to steal a second upset in succession after toppling Devonport last week.

Lauderdale has featured in both draws in the competition, tying with Burnie at home in 2014.

At Windsor Park, the Tigers nearly pulled off a surprise of their own, running Launceston to two points before suffering a heartbreaking 14.10 (94) to 14.8 (92) loss.

Bid to delay the Jaye train

By James Bresnehan, The Mercury

NORTH Launceston has a surprise waiting for ­Tasmania’s best player Jaye Bowden for their TSL top-of-the-ladder clash with Glenorchy at Aurora Stadium today – the state’s best defender.

Bombers coach Zane Littlejohn rates Corey Nankervis as the best backman in Tasmania.

He thinks Nankervis is the man to contain Bowden in a clash that will decide top spot on the ladder and a likely home second semi-final.

In his previous outing ­before Glenorchy’s bye last weekend, Bowden kicked 12 goals against the Demons.

Littlejohn knows he must derail the “Jaye Train”.

“Depending on where he plays, we will send the best ­defender in the state to him if he’s forward,” Littlejohn said.

“If he’s on ball we will do a ‘committee’ job on him and try to nullify his influence around there.

“But at the end of the day, if we’ve got the footy, he hasn’t.”

Littlejohn suspects Bowden will play a number of roles.

When Bowden is on-ball, his likely match-up is state captain and his main rival for the TSL Player of the Year Award, Bombers skipper Taylor Whitford.

“I think they’ll start Jaye on-ball and shoot him forward,” Littlejohn said.

“If [Glenorchy skipper] Brayden Webb plays, it will give them more depth on-ball, so he [Bowden] will spend more time forward.

“Look, I think Jaye does what he wants to do and when he wants to do it.

“He’s such a quality player.

“We’ll be ready and have Plan A, B and C in place.”

Plan A is Nankervis.

“He’s the best defender in the state, so he’s the man,” Littlejohn said.

“What we do know is Jaye is no robot, he’s human – ­humans make mistakes.

“We need to put him under the kind of pressure he probably hasn’t been under much this year and force him to make mistakes.

“We see it AFL level. They still make mistakes. That’s what we have to do, make them make mistakes.

“We know we will make mistakes. We have to limit how many times we make those mistakes.”

Glenorchy is one of the few teams to have won the week after a bye, giving the Pies hope of downing the Bombers.

“It does give us confidence, but it’s a road trip and a tough challenge,” said Glenorchy coach Aaron Cornelius.

The victor will be in the box seat to host the second semi, which sets up a gripping scenario over the last four weeks of the home-and-away series.

“We’ve got a couple of tough games on the run home and they do too, so winning this game would go a long way toward finishing on top of the ladder,” Cornelius said.

“For argument sake, if they beat us this weekend it would be tough to go back up there to play them in the second week of the finals.”

Bennett back after 294 days of rehab

By Phil Edwards, The Examiner

It was 294 days between senior games of football but North Launceston forward Tom Bennett is just happy to be back playing again.

The 23-year-old, physical education teacher snapped his achilles tendon against Burnie in last year’s State League preliminary final missing out on the Bomber’s premiership victory.

“I’ve played two DL games and three in the seniors and it has been really good getting back out there and playing footy again,” Bennett said.

“It was a long process to get back but I am really happy with the way it has been pulling up and it is going pretty well – I haven’t had any issues at all which has been good and I’m not pulling up sore or anything like that.

“It’s been a long time sitting on the sidelines watching but I tried to keep myself busy and involved around the club while I did the rehab.

“It was disappointing to miss on the grand final last year but I am looking forward to playing deep into the finals again this season. Glenorchy are a pretty handy side and we will have to play our best footy to match them.”

Dockers teen riding his emotions

By Brad Cole, The Advocate

Nervous, excited and just keen to get into it.

They are all the feelings going through Sam Kalbfell’s mind as he prepares to make his TSL debut for Burnie on Saturday.

The 16-year-old becomes the third teenager from another club to get a chance with the Dockers this season, following in the steps of Circular Head pair Joel Poke and Ethan Jackson.

After an promising start to his senior career with Wynyard in the NWFL, Kalbfell knows he has to lift his game.

“Playing seniors has helped, but it’s going to be a lot quicker (in the TSL),” the Wynyard High School student said.

“I’ve seen Burnie play a couple of games and the ball movement is far quicker compared to playing at Wynyard.”

Kalbfell was also a member of the victorious Tasmanian team that claimed the division two title at the under 16 national championships earlier this month.

But he believes his omission from the original team that won its opening game against Queensland, has helped spur him on.

“Missing that first game made me train a bit harder and really want my spot, and maybe helped me get to Burnie” Kalbfell said.

“To win with Tasmania was great and I’ve never experienced anything like it before.”

Kalbfell is likely to have just the one game with the Dockers this season, but is keen to play multiple games next season as he continues his development.

LIVESTREAM | R17 North Launceston v Glenorchy

LIVESTREAM | R17 North Launceston v Glenorchy

AFL Tasmania is pleased to advise the Round 17 TSL match this Saturday at 2pm between North Launceston and Glenorchy at Aurora Stadium will be live streamed via www.tasmanianstateleague.com.au and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wOcVDuE0PS8

This Saturday’s match will also have commentary provided by City Park Radio.

AFL Tasmania, in consultation with TSL clubs, has identified a number of matches over the reminder of the 2016 TSL season which will be streamed live via www.tasmanianstateleague.com.au

Dockers shrink for Roos

By Brad Cole, The Advocate

Burnie will take one of their smallest teams of the season into Saturday’s game with Clarence after losing two key position players at selection.

Ruckman Tyrone Morrison has been forced to the sidelines with a hip flexor injury resulting from last week’s game against Launceston, while reliable defender John Holland is unavailable.

The ruck duties will be left to Joshua Handley, while the only other genuine tall timber in the side is utility Nick McKenna, who will most likely swing into defence to cover Holland, and forward Andrew Lee.

Coach Clinton Proctor has also dropped himself to the emergencies list after kicking two goals last week, while Brodie Knight is also missing from the side that defeated the Blues by 58 points.

Proctor however does get some star power back with on-baller Zac Smith back from injury for his first game since May 27.

The Dockers have also brought in some extra goalkicking power in Aaron Butler, along with Emmitt Smith and Wynyard’s Sam Kalbfell for his first game.

Clarence’s chances of an upset win at West Park have taken a blow with star midfielder Jake Cox and Ashton Dickenson out suspended after a fiery game against Lauderdale last week.

Also missing for the Roos, who sit three games out of the top five, is Wade Wall, Matthew Drury and Claude Alcorso.

The five inclusions are Brad Tilbury, Michael Blackburn, Nicholas Raglione and debutants James Brenner and Keegan Bailey.

The match of the round takes place at Aurora Stadium on Saturday when second-placed North Launceston host ladder-leaders Glenorchy.

Bombers coach Zane Littlejohn has made two changes to the team that annihilated the Tigers last week, bringing in Marcus Haley and Alex Lee for Jock White and Connor Pearton.

Glenorchy are well-rested after coming off the bye last round and have only one confirmed inclusion at this stage with Cameron Duffy returning to the side.

Lauderdale will look to make it four wins from its last five outings when it takes on Hobart City at home.

Despite winning last week, the Southern Bombers have surprisingly made four changes with Alex Sweet, Alex Hill, Campbell Hooker and Mitchell Anderton replacing Zachary Plant, Rhys Sutton, Nat Franklin and Kaine Waller.

The final match of the round will have no bearing on the finals race with eighth-placed Launceston playing ninth-placed Tigers at Windsor Park.

Both teams have made four changes to their line-up’s as they look to finish off disappointing seasons on a high note.

Blues are on a Tiger hunt

By Phil Edwards, The Examiner

LAUNCESTON will be chasing their fourth win of the State League season when they host the Tigers at Windsor Park on Saturday in round 17.

The Blues had a big 86-point win over the Kingborough side at Twin Ovals in round eight and coach Chris Hills would love a couple of more wins for his young charges before the end of the season.

“They will come at us pretty hard I think – we may have shocked them at home in Hobart last time and they will no doubt want to redeem that and try to return the favour on our own dung-heap,” Hills said.

“We will have to be on our toes and they will be dangerous if we let them have a run at things and let them play the way that they want to.

“If we can get a couple of more wins it would pick everyone up and get us back on track again and hopefully get the boys excited to do a pre-season and hopefully stick around and see the positives for next year.”

Injuries to experienced players in co-captain Sonny Whiting and forward Michael Musicka have not helped Launceston’s cause with both key players having been sidelined for extended periods in the back half of the season – Whiting with an ongoing plantar fasciitis footy injury and Musicka a groin problem.

The Blues regain ruckman Joe Groenewegen who missed the Burnie game last week with work but Casey Brown will miss with independent school football commitments.

“ We may be looking at our 41st senior player for the year and we have had probably six to eight senior debutants so far,” Hills said.

“Sonny is wearing a foot brace at the moment and he has spent a fair few weeks out – whether the plantar fasciitis problem takes hold or not or whether it’s worth playing him or not we’re not quite sure at this stage and will be guided by the experts.

“Michael has been out too with a groin problem for close to two months so it leaves a bit of a hole in the physicality side of it.”

North Launceston lost Jock White and Connor Pearton to independent school football for their big clash against Glenorchy at Aurora Stadium.

They included Connor and Lochlan Young, Jordan Bennett, Marcus Haley and Alex Lee in their squad.

“We’ll have a look at the group on Thursday night and finalise the squad and whether Alex Lee comes back in as a ruckman-forward or we go with a bit more speed,’’ coach Zane Littlejohn said.

Glenorchy named captain Brayden Webb as an emergency in a possible return from an extended injury spell from an ankle injury and bone bruising.

Burnie included Zac Smith, Jason Ling, Aaron Butler, Jameson Foreman and Blair Rubock for their clash with Clarence but lost John Holland, Tyrone Morrison and Brodie Knight.

Development League – Match forfeits R17 and R18

Prospect Hawks Football Club have advised AFL Tasmania they will be forfeiting the TSL Development League round 17 match against Clarence FC scheduled for Saturday 23rd July and the round 18 match against Glenorchy FC scheduled for Saturday 30th July.

Prospect Hawks FC have advised they do not have adequate numbers to field a side due to a number of injuries and interstate school football commitments.

Prospect FC expects to field teams in their remaining two matches in rounds 20 and 21.

Under TSL rule 3.9- Clarence FC and Glenorchy FC will be awarded 4 premiership points for the match effected and each team will receive a score of 0 goals and 0 points and their percentage adjusted accordingly.