Saturday 29th April
Lauderdale vs Hobart City Demons (Lauderdale Oval) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Hobart City Demons 21.9.135 def Lauderdale 9.14.68 (Round 21, 2016, at North Hobart Oval)
Lauderdale has proven they can match it with form sides over the past fortnight, with strong first halves against Clarence and Launceston respectively, but remain winless after three games as the Blues found some strength late in last week’s match to defeat the Bombers by a meagre 11 points. Hobart City Demons burst out of the blocks against Burnie, but then relied on a couple of late goals to pinch the win from the coastal side after falling behind in a tense final term. The southerners held their nerve, and were rewarded with their maiden win of season 2017. Last time they met the Hobart City Demons were convincing winners, but this match will be a much more even contest.
While they remain winless, Lauderdale have played exceptional football in patches, and will be looking to build on last week’s narrow defeat and break through for their first win of the season. The Bombers’ midfield trio of Dylan Fyfe, Nat Franklin and Robbie McManus have led from the front in all three matches, and will need to continue their run and carry on Saturday. Captain Bryce Walsh had a good game against Launceston after a quiet match the week before, breaking away late in the final quarter to kick a telling goal, and the long-kicking Alex Hevey has been dangerous across half forward. The Bombers welcomed back Toutai Havea from suspension, and he played well across defence, as did Max Kleverkamp running forward.
The Hobart City Demons performed admirably last week, and were best served by Jayden Charlton and Heath Thompson. Hindered by a leg injury, the courageous Will Campbell had another outstanding game, winning contested possessions and snapping a goal from a stoppage late in the final term to put his side ahead. Callum Kilpatrick was solid across the middle of the ground, and playing coach Kane Richter provided drive from half back. Jack Guesdon and Callan Dell were the main focal points up forward, booting two majors apiece. The younger players will need to step up this week, with Bailey Walker and Nicholas Baker being the two leading the charge in matches previous.
This match has all the makings of a blockbuster, with two proud sides looking to progress from the bottom end of the ladder early in the season. Both coaches have stressed the importance of winning this match, so expect a physical encounter with lots of hard running. While Hobart City Demons were impressive last week, Lauderdale will head into the game favourites, but the result may likely depend on which team is able to play four quarters of consistent, attacking football on the day. As Vice-Captain Josh McGuinness said, the Bombers need to take care of their games at home.
Devonport vs North Launceston (Devonport Oval) 6:00pm
Last Time They Met: North Launceston 17.15.117 def Devonport 12.5.77 (Round 12, 2016, at Devonport Oval)
Devonport managed to hold Clarence to only six goals in the first half last week, but the Roos ran over the top of the young Magpies to defeat them by 65 points. North Launceston come off the bye after convincingly winning their first three matches with strong second half performances. Last time the two teams played the Bombers ran out winners by 40 points, but the gap between the two sides has widened since then, and Devonport will be looking to learn from one of the form sides of the TSL when they meet this week.
It has been a different looking Devonport side taking to the field this season, with many first gamers blooded in their first year at the club. Coach Mitch Thorp remarkably returned to the field last week after breaking his ribs against Launceston, and was influential early with three goals. 50 gamer Brayden Butler played arguably his best match for the club, and was well supported by midfield co-captains Beau Sharman and Dylan Riley. Quade Byard and Toby Enniss also stood up, and with a host of other Magpies, they will need to play to their potential against the Bombers to be any show.
North Launceston will be fresh after a week off, but it’s unlikely that the fittest side in the TSL have been resting on their laurels under Coach Tom Couch’s watch. Couch has been fantastic in the role of goalkicking midfielder this season, as has Brad Cox-Goodyer. Captain Taylor Whitford was impressive in his sole game for the season, while Zac Burt and Jay Lockhart have been nothing short of outstanding across the Bombers’ forward line and midfield. Jay Foon has been able to deliver the ball reliably from defence, when the opposition have managed to get it there, such is the dominance of the Bombers early season work.
This match will likely be dominated by North Launceston, as they look to build on an enviable start to season 2017. Devonport know how to play at home and may surprise the Bombers with a fast start but it is unlikely they can sustain it up against the quality of one of the premiership favourites. It will be a learning experience for the young coastal side, and one they will be all the better for, as they get senior experience into arguably the youngest squad in the competition.
Sunday 30th April
Launceston vs Clarence (Windsor Park) 1:00pm
Last Time They Met: Clarence 24.10.154 def Launceston 11.9.75 (Round 18, 2016, at Blundstone Arena)
Launceston bounced back from a heavy defeat at the hands of North Launceston to win a high-scoring away encounter with Lauderdale, playing themselves into form in a physical final quarter. Clarence have started the season in outstanding fashion, and continued their winning streak with a strong 65 point victory over Devonport last week. This match should be closer than the last time they played each other, with both sides widely considered the third and fourth best teams in the TSL this season, respectively.
Launceston have started the season strongly, bar the big loss to Northern rivals North Launceston in Round 3. While Sonny Whiting and Rulla Kelly-Mansell were overlooked for the initial state squad, they have been arguably the best forward combination in the competition, combining their differing skill sets to hit opposition teams hard on the scoreboard. Hamish Leedham has been one of the form big men of the competition, and his battle with Sam Siggins will be one to watch, and no doubt physical. Jay Blackberry and Sam Lonergan have been strong through the midfield, while Brendan Taylor and Brodie Palfreyman were fantastic against Lauderdale. Launceston has a number of Mariners defenders who are not available for selection, which could affect the backline’s ability to shut down the dangerous Clarence forward six, they will also miss suspended defender Jack Donellan.
Clarence boast a strong mix of youth and experience, and this has been displayed in each match played this season. Young midfielder Tyson Hanslow was best afield last week, and three game defender James Holmes backed up his Round 3 performance with another strong match against Devonport. Small forwards Ian Callinan and Trent Standen are in dangerous form, as is recruit Michael Fisher, who kicked a great running goal last week in one of the highlights of the round. Goal kicking wingman Jake Cox has helped himself to bags of four and six goals so far this season, but suffered a niggle last week and may not be at 100%. Big man Sam Siggins, Jason Bailey, and small forward Aiden Grace have been solid in every game so far, while Gabby Chambers has performed shut down roles well and is likely to get the job on one of Launceston’s key midfielders this week. Clarence have great top end talent and they have depth, depth that will be increased with the nearing returns of Jack Gleeson and Jordan Roberts.
If both sides play the brand of football they are capable of, this match could be the most watchable of the round. Both are capable of kicking high scores, and possess elite skills and fast ball movement. Hosting the match may give the Blues a slight edge, but whoever takes the four points will have to really earn it in what is likely to be a tough, physical encounter.
City Park Radio (103.7 FM) will be broadcasting the game from 1255 they can also be heard via their online stream at http://cityparkradio.com/online-stream/”
WATCH THE LIVE STREAM OF THE MATCH OF THE ROUND!
Burnie vs Glenorchy (West Park) 2:30pm
Last Time They Met: Glenorchy 22.17.149 def Burnie 8.7.55 (Preliminary Final, 2016, at Blundstone Arena)
Burnie are coming off a disappointing away loss to Hobart City Demons, where they managed to hit the lead late in the match but ultimately went down in the dying moments. Glenorchy took until half time to find their feet against the Tigers on Anzac Day, but hit their straps as soon as the ball was bounced in the third term and ran out convincing 70 point winners. If Burnie were the third best team last year and still lost to Glenorchy in the preliminary final by nearly 100 points, it could be a tough day for the young Dockers, this week.
Burnie took a while to get going last week, which was understandable given the inexperience of their squad, with the four Mariners who dominated against Devonport in Round 3 unavailable. Nick Walters was outstanding against Hobart City Demons, as he has been all season, and with brother Harry, has shown the ability to kick long goals from the midfield. Big men Tyrone Morrison and Nick McKenna have been building on their form each week, and McKenna will be sorely missed after receiving a two week suspension for an errant elbow thrown against Hobart City Demons. Rudy Barrett has found his feet, and was dangerous at both ends of the ground on the weekend, as was youngster Bailey Boag, who has slotted seamlessly into the Dockers’ lineup. The Dockers are still without Blair Rubock, Tom Mundy, Ethan Jackson and Jamieson House due to Mariners duties.
Glenorchy have had almost every player stand out so far this season. Ruckman Cameron Duffy has been consistently influential in making sure midfielders Mitch Rainbird, Brayden Webb and Rhys Mott have had the best chance to clear the ball every game. Rainbird stood out in an impressive performance against the Tigers, winning ten clearances and asserting himself at every contest. James Webb and Anzac medallist Joel Millhouse were standouts on Tuesday, as were Matthew Joseph, who kicked three goals, and forward presence Mitch Hills, although his kicking was a worry. Jaye Bowden put in another elite performance, booting five goals from a number of strong contested marks, while brother Tyler was unlucky not have kicked more than his two majors.
Glenorchy have shown that losing seven players from last season’s premiership side has done little to affect their resolve and output, and are likely to continue their winning ways against a youthful Burnie at West Park. The Magpies like to win big, and if Burnie can restrict them to under 100 points it will have done well. The key will be applying defensive pressure across four quarters and forcing the Magpies to take low percentage shots at goal at a ground exposed to the coastal wind. The wind always plays a big part at West Park and Burnie will need to take advantage of it when it is blowing their way if they are to go deep in this contest.