Launceston stun wounded Magpies

Written by Richard Bannon and Andrew Johnston

Launceston has ended Glenorchy’s premiership defence upsetting the Magpies by 28-points in yesterday’s Southern Cross Tasmanian State League Elimination Final at Blundstone Arena.

Many considered Glenorchy the finals ‘sleeping giant’ but the title may prove to belong to Launceston this September. The Blues were incredibly impressive as they outclassed the reigning premier 14.15-99 to 10.11-71, to progress to next week’s semi-final against Clarence.

They were outsiders for many but the northern outfit looked far better than their home and away record and fifth place finish suggested and will take some beating next week.

Star Blues Sonny Whiting (four) and Jay Blackberry (three) combined for seven majors and Jake Hinds was brilliant as the trio starred to deliver Launceston their first finals victory since 2013.

Blackberry converted the opening goal of the game to give Launceston a dream start. Before Glenorchy kicked the next two goals courtesy of James Webb and Callan Daly, giving the Magpies a 2.2-14 to 1.4-10 lead at quarter time.

The second quarter looked like belonging to Glenorchy as the Magpies kicked a string of three goals to skip out to a 27-point lead halfway through the second. The Magpies had control and looked like putting the game to bed before the momentum swung drastically in Launceston’s favour in the final ten minutes of the quarter. The Blues cutting the deficit with clinical efficiency, slamming home three consecutive goals themselves with Whiting kicking his first to finish the first half in a flurry.

The Magpies’ season has been cruelled by injury and unfortunately, the trend continued in the cutthroat final. Utility Mitch Hills left the field in the second quarter with a lower leg injury and former Hawthorn-listed forward Zac Webster succumbed to yet another hamstring injury to see both players done for the day with a half to play.

Down two rotations on the bench and disrupting their structure, Glenorchy began to leak goals with Launceston dominating midfield as the Blues piled on six goals to one in the third term including a jaw dropping effort from Whiting and two from Blackberry seeing them take a handy 26-point lead into the final change, 10.10-70 to 6.8-44.

 

With a big finish required to resurrect their season, Glenorchy started the quarter in a hurry and kicked a goal in no time through skipper Brayden Webb (who battled manfully through injury to have a major impact, kicking three goals).  Launceston steadied with youngster Hinds’ cool head important as the Blues answered every challenge from the ‘Pies, adding four more goals to assure a 14.15-99 to 10.11-71 victory and a return trip to Blundstone Arena to face Clarence in another sudden death final.

Launceston senior coach Sam Lonergan was delighted with the victory and believes his side is not done with and can match it with the likes of Clarence, Lauderdale, and North Launceston throughout this finals campaign.

 

“We’ve all got slightly different strengths, but I think the level of footy is about the same.

“We’ve got over this first hurdle, and I think now that we’ve done this, if we can play well, we can achieve the same thing next week, which is going to be exciting to see.”

 

Lonergan believes the victory has injected belief into the Blues outfit.

“I honestly believe sides are nervous to play us, we’ve got an ability to break games open very quickly.”

“To hold on throughout the second half was valuable, and that we didn’t dip and we continued to steam on, apply scoreboard pressure, win contested ball and win those things we expect to win.”

The Blues now face Clarence in a semi-final showdown from 2:00pm at Blundstone Arena in what now looms as a fascinating tussle.

 

 

Tasmanian State League

GLENORCHY v. LAUNCESTON
Round 1 – 02/09/2017

Launceston                              1.4,  4.6,  10.10,  14.15  (99)

Glenorchy                               2.2,  5.7,  6.8,  10.11  (71)

GOALS, Launceston :
S. Whiting 4, J. Blackberry 3, J. Hinds 2, S. Lonergan 1, B. Taylor 1, R. Tyrrell 1,
N. O’Donoghue 1, C. Smith 1

Glenorchy :
B. Webb 3, J. Webb 1, H. Pearce 1, C. Daly 1, R. Banks-Smith 1, R. Mott 1,
J. Bowden 1, J. Geard 1

BEST, Launceston :
H. Leedham, R. Tyrrell, S. Williams, J. Hinds, S. Whiting, J. Donnellan

Glenorchy :
C. Daly, J. Arnold, M. Joseph, B. Webb, L. Smith, J. Arnold

 

Fitz’s Finals Forecast – Week 1

Written by Alex FitzGerald

Glenorchy vs  Launceston

Elimination Final

Blundstone Arena – 1:00pm

Saturday 2nd September

2017 Encounters :

Launceston 16.5 (101) def Glenorchy 4.7 (31) (Round 9, Windsor Park)

Glenorchy 14.6 (90) def Launceston 12.12 (84) (Round 18, KGV Oval)

The Magpies will be pleased they’re not venturing to the North of the state this week, with the accurate Blues making surprisingly light work of them at Windsor Park when they met in Round 9.  Glenorchy coach Aaron Cornelius described the Blues as one of the best sides in the competition prior to their rematch in Round 18, and the Blues won plenty of admirers in that game, conceding two late goals to just fall short of the fast-finishing Pies in one of the matches of the season. 

Previous Finals Encounters:

None.

Form Guide:

Glenorchy (4th) – 12 wins/6 losses; 156%:

The Magpies started their season with four big wins, but then lost four matches in a row; all to the sides who ended up qualifying for the finals.  Glenorchy had a stronger back half of the season, despite being decimated by injuries, to win eight of their final ten games against quality opponents.  The boys from KGV have the ability to play at an elite level, as their healthy percentage shows but are undoubtedly racing the clock to field their best side in September.  The Magpies love proving the doubters wrong, and may well do so as they strive to defend their 2016 flag against the other four sides who have lifted to match them in 2017.

Launceston (5th) – 9 wins/9 losses; 113%

Launceston have played solid football in patches this season, without blowing the socks off any opposition sides.  Still, their performances against Glenorchy warrant attention, and the Blues did manage to limit the damage when going down to the other four sides playing finals, with their bravery and hardness at the contest in close matches unquestionable.  With a strong mix of experience and talented youth, the Blues are seen by many as the dark horse of this year’s finals series, with coach Sam Lonergan repeatedly stating he believes his side can surprise teams and play deep into September.

Pic: Snapshots by Sal

Key Matchups:

Glenorchys’ Cameron Duffy and emerging Blue Hamish Leedham have been among the form big men of the competition, with Duffy’s form rewarded through his selection as the state ruckman earlier in the season.  Leedham has turned heads with his physicality and presence in what has been a breakout season for the Launceston tall.  With Duffy nursing an injured finger, the prospective duel between the two is evenly matched, and whoever gets on top to feed the ball to the midfielders will play a crucial role in the progression of his respective side.

Sonny Whiting has been a prominent feature in attack for Launceston this season, with the veteran leading forward booting 44 goals to finish the home and away season as the second highest goal kicker in the competition.  Glenorchy is likely to play state representative defender Jordon Arnold on him, with the Magpie’s courage and spoiling ability crucial to negating Whiting, who has the strength and ability to play tall.  A host of other defenders have played negating roles with great success this season, including Matthew Dilger, who will line up for his 150th match this weekend; as a result, Glenorchy has conceded the second-least points of top-five sides in 2017.

Both sides possess enviable midfields, with Glenorchy captain Brayden Webb, Mitch Rainbird, Rhys Mott and RACT Insurance Player of the Year Jaye Bowden all capable of racking up high numbers and using the ball well by foot.  Launceston have their own power quartet however, with Sam Lonergan, Brodie Palfreyman, Jay Blackberry and Jake Hinds all in stellar form.  The foot skills of Blackberry and Hinds are particularly damaging, with Hinds’ confidence to back his kicking seeing him break lines through the latter half of the season, and Blackberry earning the nickname ‘The Mailman’ due to his ability to always deliver.

Fire Starters:

Zac Webster, like many of his Glenorchy teammates, has had an injury-affected 2017, but has been damaging when on the park.  The former Hawthorn-listed small forward doesn’t need to have a huge amount of the ball to cut teams apart, such is his vision and ball use.  Webster is particularly skilled at finding targets inside attacking 50, and works hard both ways to find the ball in space.  Having not faced the Blues this season due to injuries, Webster is a bit of an unknown for Launceston in that regard, and could be the wildcard in Glenorchy’s quest to remain in the hunt for back to back flags.

Not a lot needs to be said about Jaye Bowden, with not many sides able to quell his influence this season.  Running a hard tag on the versatile superstar wouldn’t be the worst thing Launceston could do, if the nominated player can keep up with him.

Rulla Kelly-Mansell has been a nominated fire starter a number of times this season, with the high-leaping forward well and truly earning the title.  RKM has the ability to kick goals at crucial times in matches, with his snap from the pocket at KGV Oval in Round 18 against the Magpies temporarily giving his side the lead in a hotly-contested final term.  Launceston have trialled him further up the field in recent weeks, and if he lines up on a wing then a tantalising match up on Rhys Mott could be on the cards.  With the uncanny knack of finding a way to produce the impossible, Kelly-Mansell must be guarded closely, as most of the games where he’s been quiet Launceston have fallen.

Tip:

While Glenorchy would be the obvious choice here due to their win-loss record, recent finals history and current form, the Magpies still have an injury cloud overshadowing KGV Oval.  Captain Brayden Webb, ruckman Cameron Duffy and the big-bodied Mitch Hills highlight the key inclusions, however regular best 22 players Josh Watts, Harrison Gunther and Tyler Bowden have all been named as emergencies, foreshadowing a number of possible late changes.  Glenorchy’s pace is one of their strengths, and they showed in their last match up with Launceston the ability to move the ball quickly with damaging results.

The Blues matched North Launceston for most of their Round 21 encounter, and will be armed with plenty of confidence heading into this match.  The returns of the tough Sam Rundle, playing coach Sam Lonergan and emerging defender Jimmy Aganas bolster the visiting side, giving Launceston a real chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday.

Curtailing the Magpies’ key playmakers and not letting Glenorchy kick a string of consecutive goals is integral to the outcome of this match, but the Blues have emerged from a month of tough games well-conditioned for finals football and are well-poised to cause an upset on Saturday.  A tight contest all day; Launceston by 14.

Clarence vs Lauderdale

Qualifying Final

Blundstone Arena – 3:45pm

Saturday 2nd September

2017 Encounters:

Clarence 19.7 (121) def Lauderdale 13.11 (89) (Round 3,Blundstone Arena)

Clarence 14.7 (91) def Lauderdale 11.7 (73) (Round 12, Lauderdale Oval)

Clarence 9.10 (64) def Lauderdale 9.9 (63) (Round 20, Blundstone Arena)

The already-fierce Eastern shore rivalry has gone to a new level this season, with Clarence having inflicted three of Lauderdale’s five losses to be the only side the Bombers haven’t toppled in 2017 to date. All matches have been physical encounters, with Lauderdale closing the gap every time they have met, culminating in a one point margin when the red hot teams last met in Round 20. 

Previous Finals Encounters:

Clarence 17.14 (116) def Lauderdale 14.14 (98) (1st QF, 2013, Blundstone Arena)

The 2013 Qualifying Final was a fiery one, with several reports coming out of the clash.  Current Roos Jeromey Webberley and Jake Cox were among the best for the victors, while a young Thor Boscott impressed for Lauderdale. 

Clarence 16.11 (107) def Lauderdale 14.8 (92) (1st QF, 2012,  North Hobart Oval)

The first final between these sides went down to the wire, with present-day small forward Trent Standen the difference, as he booted six goals to help Clarence get across the line.  Lauderdale have only four current players remaining on their lists who pulled on a guernsey in this match, while the Roos still boast a formidable eight.

Form Guide:

Clarence (2nd) – 14 wins/4 losses; 135%:

After failing to make a finals appearance in 2016, the Roos started their season with a bang, winning their first five matches, before stumbling against the Hobart City Demons in the wet by the slimmest of margins.  Another impressive six game winning streak followed, but a string of injuries to key players saw Clarence drop three of their final six matches, albeit against sides inside the top four.  With the Round 18 loss to North Launceston the only blowout concern all season, and with a host of players fresh after being rested last week, Clarence are heading into September ready to make an impact.

Lauderdale (3rd) – 13 wins/5 losses; 143%

After a slow start, the Bombers pieced together an eyebrow-raising six game streak, defeating Glenorchy and North Launceston along the way.  A loss to Clarence sidelined the juggernaut momentarily, but the boys from the tip bounced back to put together seven high-scoring wins in a row until they again went down to the Roos, this time by a solitary point.  Arguably the form side of the competition alongside North Launceston, Lauderdale head into the finals after the bye, with the much-needed break ensuring coach Darren Winter has a full-strengthsquad at his disposal for a charge at September. The Bombers have been finals regulars but a top three finish is new to them, giving Winter perhaps his best crack at a flag yet.

Pic: Solstice.Digital & Photography

Key Matchups:

Jake Cox has been a thorn in Lauderdale’s side both times he played against them this season, kicking a combined eight goals from an attacking wing position.  Capable of turning a match in a matter of minutes, the Bombers may need to consider sacrificing a playmaker such as Josh McGuinness in an attempt to quell his influence. But will that rob Peter to pay Paul?

With rebounding defender Keegan Wylie likely to miss after suffering a head knock in Round 21, the structure and organisation Jason Bailey provides to the Roos defence will be crucial for Clarence.  Alex Hill is one Lauderdale forward with defensive attributes who may go to Bailey, with his presence and contested marking skills likely to keep Bailey honest all afternoon.

The midfield battle will be a treat for supporters, with both sides boasting onballers in form.  Bomber Bryce Walsh has had a sensational season, but Gabby Chambers has performed admirably in his run-with roles on the Lauderdale captain so far this season and expect him to head to him at the first bounce.  Teenage inside midfielder Nat Franklin has been Lauderdale’s best in two of the three encounters between these sides this year, with Brady Jones a chance to stand him.  Expect to see damaging Roo Jackson O’Brien and ball-winning Bomber Dylan Fyfe spend some time on each other around the stoppages as well.

Fire Starters:

Veteran small forwards Trent Standen and Ian Callinan have been a big part of Clarence’s resurgence this season, booting 68 goals between them in 2017.  Standen has a bag of seven under his belt this year, and his ability to remain dangerous is a concern for oppositions sides, with just one goalless match to his name.  Callinan has the uncanny knack for finding space and kicking back to back goals in a hurry, as he showed against the Bombers in Round 12 when he slotted three in the first quarter alone.  Neither can be given an inch anywhere near the attacking 50.

Thor Boscott has had an outstanding season to date, booting 41 goals from half forward while also spending time in the midfield and cutting sides apart with his clearance work.  As damaging in the air as he is at ground level, Boscott has proven he’s more than a human highlight reel, earning 13 RACT Player of the Year Award votes and gaining selection in the state squad.  Boscott announced himself to casual TSL observers with a nine-goal haul against the Tigers in Round 15, but most fans are well aware of his presence and ability.  Tim Castle played well in defence on him last time these sides met, but with Boscott able to switch into a midfield role, he’ll have to be guarded closely if Clarence want to negate the exciting Bomber’s game winning ability.

Tip:

This is the most anticipated match of the season to date, with Round 20’s nailbiting result a suitable entree for what will undoubtedly be an afternoon full of talking points.  Clarence’s 2016 best and fairest winner Jack Gleeson found himself in hot water in that game, with an appeal sensationally reducing a two-game penalty that would have likely seen him de-registered for meeting the mandatory 16 game threshold. Clarence Coach Jeromey Webberley also voiced displeasure on Lauderdale breaking a coach-code in bringing the incident to the attention to the MRP; it’s fair to say there is no love lost when these sides take the field.

Both sides will bring in players who have been integral to their success this season.  Clarence regain Standen, midfielders Gleeson and Jackson O’Brien, and defenders Jason Bailey and James Holmes.  Lauderdale will benefit from the inclusions of speedy outside midfielders Robbie McManus and Rhys Sutton, as well as young tall Ben McGuinness.  Tough onballer Phil Bellchambers plays his 100th game for the Bombers against a side he has found plenty of the ball against in season 2017.

While Clarence clearly has the wood on Lauderdale this season, the margins have been narrowed and the combined scores lower each subsequent time they’ve squared off.  With fresher legs and greater overall firepower up forward, Lauderdale should be able to break through and claim a hard-fought victory on Saturday, but if the history between these two sides is anything to go by, the result will be anything but a blowout.  Neck and neck for four quarters, but at the siren; Lauderdale by 14.

ADMISSION PRICES

$10 Adult/$5 Concession – Includes both matches (Blundstone Arena Double Header)

THIS WEEK’S MERCURY CUP MATCHES

Elimination Final

North Launceston v Hobart City Demons – 1:00PM @ UTAS Stadium

Will the Northern Bombers march on in September or can the travelling Hobart City Demons keep their flag hopes alive?

Qualifying Final

Clarence v Tigers – 10:30AM @ Blundstone Arena

Both sides have been in red hot form, but can the Tigers limit the impressive Clarence forward line and book themselves a Preliminary Finals berth?

 

Bowden makes it three

Glenorchy’s Jaye Bowden has won his third RACT Insurance Player of the Year in four years, making it back to back wins of the prestigious award.

The superstar half forward polled 22 votes, edging out North Launceston playing-coach Tom Couch who finished on 19 votes, closely followed by fellow Northern Bomber Bradley Cox-Goodyer on 16.

Kicking a league high 52 goals whilst playing through midfield and up forward, the 27-year-old has had another dominant season, leading a new brigade of ‘pies to September action.

RACT Insurance CEO Trent Sayers said Jaye Bowden had displayed outstanding skill and commitment in being named RACT Insurance TSL Player of the Year for two years running, as well as taking out the prestigious title for the third time in just four years.

“Bowden has certainly firmly entrenched himself as a shining star within the Tasmanian State League since kicking off his career over 10 years ago as a17 year old,” Mr Sayers said.

“There is no doubt that Bowden will go down as an absolute legend in Tasmanian football history.

“On behalf of RACT Insurance, I would like to offer our wholehearted congratulations to Jaye and the Glenorchy Football Club on an outstanding 2017 season.

“As a Tasmanian company and a member of the Tasmanian community, RACT Insurance is proud to support the TSL and the many participating football clubs who play such an important role in our local communities across the state.”

Tasmanian State League General Manager Carl Saunder said Jaye’s consistency not just across this season but year-in-year out was something to behold.

“Congratulations to Jaye on another stellar season, he wins the ball right across the ground and kicks big bags of goals on a regular basis.

“He is a terrific player and he continues to play outstanding footy and leads the way not just for his club but for the competition.

“He is a fantastic example for younger players in the way he applies himself and the spirit in which he plays his footy.

“I would also like to thank RACT Insurance, in particular, Trent Sayers for their continued support of this award and the performance of players in our competition.”

The award is voted on by members of the media, who award 3,2 and 1 votes after every TSL match. The RACT Insurance Player of the Year receives $2,500 cash and a $2,500 travel package.

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RACT INSURANCE PLAYER OF THE YEAR LEADERBOARD

22 VOTES. Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)

19 VOTES. Tom Couch (North Launceston)

16 VOTES. Brad Cox-Goodyer (North Launceston)

13 VOTES. Bryce Walsh (Lauderdale)

13 VOTES. Brodie Palfreyman (Launceston)

12 VOTES. Jackson O’Brien (Clarence)

12 VOTES. Nat Franklin (Lauderdale)

11 VOTES. Thor Boscott (Lauderdale)

11 VOTES. Zac Burt (North Launceston)

PREVIOUS WINNERS

2016 – Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)

2015 – Taylor Whitford (North Launceston)

2014 – Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)

2013 – Mitch Thorp (South Launceston)

2012 – Luke Shackleton (Burnie)

2011 – Cameron Thurley (Clarence)

2010 – Scott Stephens (Launceston)

2009 – Jeromey Webberley (Clarence)

 

TSL MATCH REVIEW PANEL RESULTS: ROUND 21

Southern Cross Tasmanian State League & Mercury Cup

Round 21

Southern Cross Tasmanian State League

1. Ben Reynolds (Glenorchy) referred for making high contact against Keegan Wylie (Clarence)

The Match Review Panel determined that the force of contact was exacerbated by the forward motion of the tackle. Reynolds attempted to stop and brace for contact. The injury sustained by Wylie was incidental and as a part of the contest. No further action is required.

NO FURTHER ACTION

SEE INCIDENT

2. Mitch Rainbird (Glenorchy) reported for striking Justin O’Brien (Clarence)

The Match Review Panel determined that the motion was with an open palm to the chest. The action does not constitute a reportable offence. No further action is required.

NO FURTHER ACTION

SEE INCIDENT


3. Justin O’Brien (Clarence) reported for striking Jaye Bowden (Glenorchy)

The Match Review Panel determined that the strike was intentional, with low impact to the body. O’Brien has been offered a base sanction of ONE MATCH, which can be reduced to a REPRIMAND with an early guilty plea. O’Brien has accepted a REPRIMAND.

SANCTION: REPRIMAND
4.  Hobart City Demons players & Tigers players referred for engaging in a melee

The Match Review Panel determined that Tyler Carter (Tigers) was the instigator of melee and has been offered a low-level reprimand. Carter has accepted a LOW-LEVEL REPRIMAND.

SANCTION: LOW-LEVEL REPRIMAND

SEE INCIDENT


5. Burnie players & Devonport players referred for engaging in a melee

The Match Review Panel determined that no further action is required for this incident.

NO FURTHER ACTION

6. Zach Burt (North Launceston) referred for striking Rulla Kelly-Mansell (Launceston)

The Match Review Panel determined that the strike was intentional, with low impact to the body. Burt has been offered a base sanction of ONE MATCH, which can be reduced to a REPRIMAND with an early guilty plea. Burt has accepted a REPRIMAND.

SANCTION: REPRIMAND

SEE INCIDENT


7. Brodie Palfreyman (Launceston) reported for striking Taylor Whitford (North Launceston)

The Match Review Panel determined that there was insufficient contact to sustain a charge. It was the view of the Match Review Panel that a 50-metre penalty was the correct decision. No further action is required.

NO FURTHER ACTION

SEE INCIDENT


 

WREST POINT TSL Women’s

8. Nietta Lynch (Glenorchy) referred for striking Tiffany Nichols (Clarence)

Due to a lack of visual evidence, this matter will be heard by the Independent Tribunal on Tuesday 29th August at 6:30pm.

 

North the team to beat

Written by Matt Hill

North Launceston made it three from three over neighbours Launceston on Saturday afternoon to finish the home and away season on the perfect note. The Bombers wrapped up a minor premiership but they were made to work for the final round victory with the Blues pushing them hard for the opening three-quarters before a late Bomber surge sealed the deal to the tune of 37 points.

It was a game that would have no effect on final ladder positions but neither team took a backward step. Launceston started strongly despite the absence of leaders Sam Rundle and Sam Lonergan, kicking the first goal of the game courtesy of Corey Sheppard who slotted a set shot from 35 metres out to draw first blood.

North responded with two goals through the strong marking Tom Bennett, who was the most dominant forward on the ground. Launceston then responded with good pressure and constant inside 50 entries which resulted in Launceston forward Sonny Whiting kicking his first of the day and star young gun Brodie Palfreyman kicking an outstanding crumbing goal. North, however, responded in typical North fashion with Zach Burt kicking a dead-eye set shot from the boundary into the breeze and Cox-Goodyear doing what he does best to slot a nice goal to tighten it up. Towards the end of the quarter, Launceston got on top with Whiting and Gillow adding goals to the Blues’ tally to see them into the first quarter huddle seven-points ahead.

In the second stanza, the Bombers got the chance to kick with the breeze but did not make the most of their opportunities, failing to take a major lead to the main change. Tom Bennett again proved dangerous booting another goal but was wasteful from multiple other opportunities. Jay Blackberry and Jake Hinds began to get into the game and provide as dominant players for the Blues, finding plenty of the ball to keep the hosts in touch. Jay Blackberry pushed forward and kicked the only goal for the Blues in a quiet quarter. The Bombers prime movers began to get on top with Tom Couch, Cox-Goodyer, Bennett and Josh Ponting all performing their usual roles to take in an eight point lead.

In the premiership quarter, the Blues needed to get kick some goals with the breeze at their back if they were going to be any chance to overrun the Bombers and they did exactly that, outscoring the premiership favourites to cut the margin to only two points at the final change. The quarter was evenly balanced with the Bombers controlling the early stages and kicking two goals courtesy of Ponting and Tarryn Thomas, the Blues answered with Gillow kicking another and when 150 gamer NathanO’Donoghue and Hinds kicked goals the Blues were certainly a major chance of an upset win.

It wasn’t to be as Couch rallied the troops and the Bombers showed why they are the team to beat, flexing their muscle to kick five unanswered last quarter goals to run away with a win. Ponting capped off a great day with two last quarter goals and when Mark Walsh, Bennett and Thomas all added majors, the Bombers were free to celebrate their minor premiership.

Next week is finals time with North’s minor premiership earning them a week off to rest up before they take on the winner of Clarence and Lauderdale at UTAS stadium the following week.

The Blues face the sleeping giants in reigning premiers Glenorchy in an elimination final on Saturday at 1pm at Blundstone Arena. The Blues will regain both Sam Rundle and Sam Lonergan for the do or die clash. “We are looking forward to the challenge next week having not played finals in a couple of

“We are looking forward to the challenge next week having not played finals in a couple of years and it will be a good experience for the boys.

“We will have plenty of selection issues this week with plenty of players available, I am looking forward to selecting the side and it is certainly better to have these issues than not having enough players.”

Things I Learnt

  • Launceston need Mitch Thorp

With Kelly-Mansell playing on the wing and looking very dangerous in that position, the Blues are a lacking another key forward. Whiting is an absolute star but can’t do it all for the Blues if they are to be a serious threat in the finals. As Thorp has now moved on from Devonport, if the Blues could get his signature he would not only bolster the Blues forward line but also help out Whiting and give the Blues more scoring potential.

  • Lockhart will be back for finals

Key North Launceston player Jay Lockhart will be back for the finals according to coach Tom Couch who said that he will be ready to go for the first final against either Clarence or Lauderdale.

  • Rulla on the wing is so exciting and Couch is a gun

Whilst Kelly-Mansell is very dangerous down forward, his speed, agility and ball skills on the wing are very exciting to watch. With a big game on a big ground next week against Glenorchy, was this move just a warm up for what will occur next week? If so expect Rulla to have a big game next week.

I know it is obvious but Tom Couch is an absolute star. He was the best player on the ground and was instrumental in getting his side over the line.  Couch has had an exceptional year and would be a good chance at winning North’s best and fairest but the coach will only have one thing on his mind and that will be getting North another premiership.

LAUNCESTON v. NORTH LAUNCESTON
Round 21 – 26/08/2017

North Launceston                        4.0,  7.4,  9.6,  14.10  (94)

Launceston                              5.1,  6.2,  9.4,  9.4  (58)

GOALS, North Launceston :
J. Ponting 3, T. Thomas 3, B. Cox-Goodyer 2, Z. Burt 2, K. Wadley 1, M. Walsh 1,
T. Bennett 1, L. Hollmer 1

Launceston :
J. Gillow 2, S. Whiting 2, C. Sheppard 1, B. Palfreyman 1, N. O’Donoghue 1, J. Hinds 1,
J. Blackberry 1

BEST, North Launceston :
J. Ponting, T. Bennett, K. Baker, T. Thomas, A. Lee, T. Couch

Launceston :
C. Brown, J. Boyce, J. Hinds, J. Donnellan, C. Savage, H. Leedham

 

PIES PREVAIL AT BLUSTERY KGV

Written by Anthony Osborn

 

Glenorchy continues to build confidence leading into their September campaign, registering a 15-point victory over archrival Clarence in blustery conditions at KGV on Saturday afternoon. The big story out of the contest was the injury to Clarence defender Keegan Wylie, who suffered a concussion and a burst ear drum and will be racing the clock to play in the first final against Lauderdale.

The reigning Premiers notched their second victory of the season over their traditional foe in the scrappy 10.10 (70) to 8.7 (55) victory that was built off the back of a dynamic second term.

Neither team was at full strength with finals nearing but the ‘Pies were dealt two further blows with the late withdrawals of Josh Watts and Mitch Hills leaving their key position stocks vulnerable.

The Magpies were forced to fight back in this second term after struggling to make the most of their control on the contest early in the opening quarter, with a flurry of Clarence goals late in the opening stanza handing the visitors a two-goal advantage at the first break.

The second term was all about Glenorchy, however, with the Magpie defence stifling Clarence to a solitary behind, while goals to Zac Webster, Brodie Rowbottom, Ben Reynolds and Tyler Bowden helped turn a 12-point deficit into a 15-point advantage by the main break.

Clarence threatened to run over the Magpies early in the third term when majors from Ian Callinan and Aiden Grace reduced the deficit to just four points but a shocking knock to the head of Keegan Wylie midway through the quarter lead to a sustained break in play, with the young Clarence star worryingly stretchered from the field.

Glenorchy responded well after this break in play with goals to James Webb and Mitch Rainbird ensuring the hosts maintained a handy 16-point buffer at the final break.

The ‘Roos came a-knocking again the fourth term, with two goals in a minute to Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley again reducing the margin to under six-points, but the home side were able to maintain composure and rally with Will Atkin and Reynolds goals before Zac Webster kicked the sealer from the goal square.

Webster’s return to the side from injury was particularly impressive, with his performance on the eve of finals pleasing coach Aaron Cornelius.

“We know what we are going to get out of Zac. He’s an AFL-listed quality player and his pressure and ball use is something that really helps us.

“We certainly prefer him playing than not.”

Ben Reynolds (two goals) was also instrumental in the victory with the key forward’s presence inside 50 proving to be a handful for an undersized Clarence defence missing the injured general Jason Bailey.

The evergreen Jaye Bowden was again impressive across the ground while Rhys Mott, Ryan Banks-Smith, Mitch Rainbird and Brodie Rowbottom were also among Glenorchy’s best.

Cornelius was pleased with the victory, particularly with some stars missing from action and some precautionary resting of players late in the match.

“12 wins is better than 11 and two up on Clarence is always nice. We sort of limped again over the line and that has been the story of our season

“I’m proud of how the guys battled it out today,” Cornelius said.

Clarence assistant coach Mitch Swan was disappointed in the result but insisted the focus has now switched completely onto the task of playing Lauderdale in next Saturday’s qualifying final.

“It was a disappointing result. We can take some stuff out of today but Glenorchy probably outplayed us.

“Both teams had a few out and they were tough conditions- we will take some out of it but it makes our focus clearer for next week to beat Lauderdale.”

Swans conceded that foot skill execution let his side down when it mattered.

“Our transition can improve and our kicking hurt us. Our endeavour was good but our kicking needs to improve.”

It was a day of few stars for Clarence with Brady Jones and Sam Siggins the only real standouts thanks to their work through the middle of the ground while Gabby Chambers and Jordan Roberts (in his return to the team) also impressed.

The Wylie injury could prove to be a blow to Clarence’s finals aspirations with the talented defender’s elite kicking and ability to intercept making him an asset and mainstay of this Clarence side.

Swan downplayed the incident, however, remaining confident that Wylie’s injury should not keep him out of action for next weekend’s huge clash.

“He got a knock to the side of the head from a knee and split the side of his head open and had some blood and concussion. We are reasonably confident he will be right to play next week,” he said.

Clarence’s injury list took another hit with Nathen Douglas also suffering a knock to the head that prematurely ended his afternoon.

With several key players set to return, including Josh Watts, and Brayden Webb, the Magpies attention now turns to a tantalising elimination final against Launceston at Blundstone Arena next Saturday.

“They (Launceston) are a very hard team- they will play four quarters and they handed out a hiding to us at Windsor Park (earlier in 2017).

“This is a different position for our playing group. In the past we have had double chances and we just haven’t got that (this season). You go out every game to win and every final to win and we will take that mentality into next week,” Cornelius said.

The difficult conditions at KGV made for less than ideal preparation for finals football, but Cornelius remained adamant that it would hold his side in good stead.

“It was windy today and probably not the ideal preparation but stoppages are a big part of finals football”

Like Glenorchy, Clarence are set to welcome key players back for the first week of finals, with the elite quartet of Trent Standen, Jackson O’Brien, Jason Bailey and Jack Gleeson all expected to play in the huge clash against Lauderdale.

The highly public saga of Jack Gleeson’s tribunal hearing is also sure to add even extra spice to one of Tasmanian football’s juiciest rivalries.

“Lauderdale and Clarence games are always great to watch and it is a final. We have beaten Lauderdale three times this year and we go in confident- playing on our home deck is a great advantage,” Swan said.

 

Glenorchy                               1.3,  5.7,  7.8,  10.10  (70)

Clarence                                3.3,  3.4,  5.4,  8.7  (55)

GOALS, Glenorchy :
Z. Webster 2, B. Reynolds 2, M. Rainbird 1, C. Daly 1, T. Bowden 1, B. Rowbottom 1,
J. Webb 1, W. Atkin 1

Clarence :
J. Webberley 2, A. Grace 2, I. Callinan 1, L. Murfitt-Cowen 1, J. Cox 1, J. Harper 1

BEST, Glenorchy :
J. Bowden, R. Mott, M. Rainbird, Z. Webster, B. Reynolds, R. Banks-Smith

Clarence :
S. Siggins, B. Jones, G. Chambers, M. Fisher, J. Roberts

Hobart City Demons finish season with a bang

Written by Alex FitzGerald

A powerful display from midfield trio Will Campbell, Eddie Cole and Ryan Matthews has seen the Hobart City Demons end their 2017 campaign on a high note, defeating the Tigers by 19 points in a fiery encounter under lights at North Hobart Oval on Friday night.

After booting seven majors to the Tiger’s five in a free-flowing first term, the hosts limited their opponent’s scoring opportunities during the second and third quarters to claim a morale-boosting 14.12 (96) to 11.11 (77) win, just missing a finals berth by percentage as a result.The opening term saw goals scored by both sides at will, with the Tigers kicking away to an early 13 point advantage with five of the first seven majors.  From then on the momentum was all the Hobart City Demons’ way, with the hosts piling on the final five goals in red time to take a 7.2 (44) to 5.2 (32) lead into the first break.

The opening term saw goals scored by both sides at will, with the Tigers kicking away to an early 13 point advantage with five of the first seven majors.  From then on the momentum was all the Hobart City Demons’ way, with the hosts piling on the final five goals in red time to take a 7.2 (44) to 5.2 (32) lead into the first break.

Tigers forward Hugh Dixon had the crowd on their feet after climbing on Liam Azzopardi’s shoulders to haul down a huge mark in the opening stages of the second quarter, but an arm-wrestle between the two sides followed, with just three goals scored for the term.  Hobart City Demons kicked two to the Tigers’ one to head into the rooms at the main break with an extended 9.6 (60) to 6.5 (41) lead.

The third stanza saw the host do all of the attacking to no avail, with Mitch Carter repelling almost every forward foray inside the first 20 minutes in a determined display.  Enter 16-year-old third-gamer Mitchell O’Neill, who performed a bold blind turn and kicked a brilliant banana goal to break the deadlock for the Hobart City Demons.  At three-quarter time a melee broke out, perhaps out of frustration from the Tigers, who faced a 7.9 (51) to 10.10 (70) deficit heading into their final quarter of the season.

Retiring Tigers captain Tim Peterson urged his charges to fight hard during his final address, but the hosts came out firing, with sensational goals to Jonty Barwick, Eddie Cole and captain Hugh Williams all but sealing the result.  The visitors managed to slot three late majors but their efforts came all too late, with Hobart City Demons holding on for a resilient 19 point win at the final siren.

Hobart City Demons assistant coach Richard Robinson was all smiles after the match, but conceded his side could’ve capitalised more in the early stages of the match.

“It was a good win; I think the margin could’ve been greater if we’d made the most of our inside 50’s in the first half..  We had over thirty, and we haven’t had over thirty in a whole game (all season).

“We wanted to finish the season off on a positive note; last year we had six and a half wins and after tonight we’ve ended up on nine, so that’s the improvement you want from a young group.”

The hosts were well served by midfielders Will Campbell, Eddie Cole and Ryan Matthews, who ran hard to finish with two goals each, with the former earning the praise of Robinson.

“I thought he (Campbell) was dominant; he’s had a sensational season from where he was 12 months ago.  He broke the lines continually and his defensive pressure was awesome all night.”

Forwards Charlie White and Josh Williamson also provided a target in attack all evening to finish with two majors apiece, while teenagers Baxter Norton and Mitchell O’Neill provided fans with an exciting glimpse of the future.

For Tigers coach Aaron Vince, it was another case of his side starting well before falling away.

“Their (Hobart City Demons’) run and spread from half back and through the midfield was really good.  We looked up and about early, but we just couldn’t sustain the effort for the rest of the game.”

Vince praised the efforts of defenders Mitch Carter, teenager Lachy Gadomski and retiring captain Tim Peterson, who managed to stem the flow of goals for length periods of time in the second and third terms.  Four Tigers forwards combined for ten of their eleven majors, but Vince highlighted the game of three goal draft prospect Hugh Dixon in particular.

“He loves having a jump at the footy and he’s also good at ground level; he’s versatile and I reckon there’s a fair chance someone will pick him up (in the National Draft).”

Looking back at the Tigers’ four win season, Vince took a positive approach in praising the improvement his young group has shown in patches.

“There’s a lot of upside coming from the season; we’ve been able to compete in a lot of our games and we’ll take a lot out of the year.”

With the Hobart City Demons missing final by percentage following the win, Robinson admitted the win was bittersweet and would drive the playing group.

“Any side that says they don’t want to play finals at the start of the season are kidding themselves and that was our aim; unfortunately we fell just short, but throughout the year we were really competitive with the teams around our mark and we struggled against the better teams.”

“That’s something we’ve identified and have to improve going forward.  We’re confident we can play finals next year.”

HOBART CITY DEMONS v. TIGERS
Round 21 – 25/08/2017

Hobart City Demons                      7.2,  9.6,  10.10,  14.12  (96)

Tigers                                  5.2,  6.5,  7.9,  11.11  (77)

GOALS, Hobart City Demons :
C. White 2, J. Williamson 2, E. Cole 2, R. Matthews 2, W. Campbell 2, H. Williams 1,
M. O’Neill 1, B. Norton 1, N. Baker 1

Tigers :
B. Livingston 3, H. Dixon 3, D. Archer 2, B. Batchelor 2

BEST, Hobart City Demons :
W. Campbell, E. Cole, J. Williamson, R. Matthews, N. Hutchinson, B. Norton

Tigers :
L. Gadomski, H. Dixon, M. Walker, M. Carter, B. Livingston, B. Batchelor

 

Fitz’s Friday Forecast – Round 21

Written by Alex FitzGerald

 

Friday 25th August

Hobart City Demons vs Tigers (North Hobart Oval) 6:30 pm

Last Time They Met:

Hobart City Demons 11.12.78 def Tigers 3.6.24 (Round 12, 2017, at North Hobart Oval)

The Tigers were completely outplayed by the hosts, managing just one goal to three-quarter time.  Hobart City Demons were well served by mobile ruckman Charlie White, with Josh Williamson kicking three goals.

Form Guide:

Hobart City Demons (LWL) – COLD:

An upset win over Launceston in Round 18 at Windsor Park was the highlight in what has been a tough final month for the Hobart City Demons, with that win offset by heavy losses either side of that game to finals threats Clarence and Lauderdale, effectively ending hopes of an unlikely finals berth for the red and blue. They may miss on percentage but they couldn’t possibly make it from here.

Tigers (LLL) – COLD:

The Tigers fought hard against Glenorchy last week but conceded nine final quarter goals to be convincingly beaten by 53 points.  A close loss to Devonport in Round 18 was a sure sign of a long season for the boys from Twin Ovals, with a heavy defeat at the hands of flag favourites North Launceston the week prior.

Key Matchups:

While captain Hugh Williams has been solid, his young defensive namesake has also pieced together an impressive season.  The duo face tough final round likely opponents, with Brandon Batchelor and Mitch Walker both capable of kicking bags when up and about. You also throw in the likes of Daniel Archer and Hugh Dixon in the Tigers forward line and the Williams will have their work cut out for them.

Charlie White was best afield last time these sides met, with the Ruckman’s ability to play as a spare man in defence crucial all season.  Tigers’ retiring captain Tim Peterson should contest the first bounce against White, with first hands on the ball crucial in what shapes up as an evenly matched midfield contest.

Fire Starters:

After a quiet month, midfielder Will Campbell will be looking to finish his season with a bang.  At his best, ‘Soup’ is damaging with his disposal and ability to push forward to hit the scoreboard hard.  No stranger to physicality, Campbell could emerge as a match-winner in what is likely to be a hotly contested football at the stoppages. The Ws – Josh Williamson and Sean Willis are crucial to the Demons offensive game, expect them to get going tonight.

Hugh Dixon has emerged as the Tigers’ most dangerous forward, with the draft prospect kicking four of his five goals last week in the first term against Glenorchy.  His ability to take a contested mark and lead to the right places could provide a headache for the opposition defence on Friday night.

INS & OUTS

HOBART CITY DEMONS

In: N. Baker
Out: C. Kilpatrick

TIGERS

In: S. Rice, C. Nield
Out: C. Sawdy, B. Graham

Nic Baker is a big in for the Dees as he has proven to be one of their best midfield performers in recent times. Niels and Rice are strong soldiers and make a Tigers team look pretty good on paper.

Fitz’s Tip: While the Tigers narrowly took the chocolates the first time they met this season, the Hobart City Demons completely outclassed them in Round 12.  The Tigers were missing Dixon and recruit Daniel Archer in that clash; if they can break even in the middle and move the ball quickly, they’ll give themselves every chance at achieving a last-round upset.

I think the game that has cost the Demons finals was a Good Friday loss to the Tigers. They were inaccurate and it cost them a win and I believe that may still burn.

So having said all that, Hobart City Demons to get their speedy game going and win by 12.

Burnie vs Devonport (West Park) 7:00pm

Last Time They Met:

Devonport 14.10.94 def Burnie 9.6.60 (Round 12, 2017, at Devonport Oval)

Devonport emerged from the coastal derby with the maiden win of season 2017 after losing to the Dockers the first time they clashed.  Co-captains Beau Sharman and Dylan Riley dominated, while Mitch Thorp matched Riley in kicking three goals.

Form Guide:

Burnie (LLL) – COLD:

The Dockers have conceded their last three games to top sides, but last week’s 142 point capitulation against North Launceston was their roughest day out this season.  A final-round grudge match against Devonport is the perfect tonic to wrap up what has been a difficult year for the rebuilding coastal side.

Devonport (LWL) – MILD:

While the Magpies were defeated by Lauderdale by a solid margin in Round 16, they bounced back to beat the Tigers in the mud at home and battled hard against Launceston in similar conditions in Round 19 to go down by a narrow margin.  Despite their ladder position, the improvement and effort of Mitch Thorp’s boys as the season has unfolded cannot be questioned.

Key Matchups:

Both sides have focused on promoting youth this season, so we’ll do this same.  Wingmen Ethan Jackson and Harry Barker have both shown potential and flashes of brilliance on much more experienced opponents for their respective clubs, and a head-to-head battle between the two is likely.

Jamieson House has been good up forward for the Dockers, while Bailey Boag kicked two goals in Round 18 after spending time down back this season.  The duo could be marked by impressive defenders Sherrin Egger and Mitchell Perry.  Likewise, goal sneak Giacomo Millucci has proven to be dangerous at ground level for Devonport, with Sam Kalbfell likely to be tasked with keeping him quiet.

Fire Starters:

Rudy Barrett has stood tall all season, with the strong-bodied midfielder’s ability to work hard inside and then run to space to receive the ball displaying why he was named in the Dockers’ leadership group this season.  He’s booted 12 majors for the year but can often be spotted patrolling across defence, highlighting his two-way running efforts.the ball displaying why he was named in the Dockers’ leadership group this season.  He’s booted 12 majors for the year but can often be spotted patrolling across defence, highlighting his two-way running efforts.

Sherrin Egger has gone from strength to strength across half back this season, with the 16-year-old regularly drawing the praise of coach Mitch Thorp.  His willingness to put his body on the line against bigger opponents sparks his side into action, with the Tasmanian Under 17 squad member one to watch again on Friday night.

INS & OUTS

BURNIE

In: T. Mundy, C. Proctor, T. Morrison, B. Boag
Out: J. McCulloch, J. O’Donnell, T. Charles, B. Brown

DEVONPORT

In: B. van Buuren, J. Wicks
Out: B. Hawkes, J. Chaplin

Fantastic ins for Burnie’s last hurrah for 2017. Boag and Mundy are two of the club’s rising stars and the return of Proctor and Morrison add much-needed experience for a strong derby battle.

Fitz’s Tip: Despite hosting the match at the notoriously hard-to-navigate- West Park, recent results and a marked form improvement suggest that Devonport should claim a narrow victory in what is a suitable final game match up for both coastal sides.  This is one where ladder position and personnel are irrelevant, it is a good old fashioned rivalry.

Devonport to continue their strong finish to 2017 and win by 24.

 

Saturday 26th August

Glenorchy vs Clarence (KGV Oval) 2:00pm

Last Time They Met:

Glenorchy 16.13.109 def Clarence 12.14.86 (Round 15, 2017, at Blundstone Arena)

Glenorchy kicked the opening five goals of the contest, and despite both sides piling on a total of 19 majors in the second half, the Pies were never headed as they ran out upset 23 point winners without star Jaye Bowden.  The unsung James Webb was electric with five goals, with brother Brayden best afield, while onballer Jackson O’Brien toiled away for Clarence.

Form Guide:

Glenorchy (LWW) – MILD:

The injury-plagued Magpies lost a close match to Lauderdale in Round 17, before following up with a stoic six point victory over Launceston and a 53 point win over the Tigers last week, with Jaye Bowden displaying sensational form across all three matches.  Injuries to best 22 players Zac Webster, Brayden Webb, Jordon Arnold, Josh Watts and Cameron Duffy across this time have soured the wins somewhat, with finals nearing.

Clarence (WLW) – MILD:

An uncharacteristic flogging at the hands of North Launceston in Round 18 followed  Clarence’s win over Burnie, but the Roos bounced back to form last week, holding off Lauderdale to win by a solitary point.  Sitting pretty in second, Clarence’s ability to defeat Eastern-Shore rivals and flag threats Lauderdale three times this season cannot be underestimated.

Key Matchups:

200 game Magpie Jaye Bowden has been one of the dominant players of the competition this season, with the forward pushing further up the ground in recent games as well as kicking multiple goals.  With Jason Bailey out of action expect the Roos to shuffled a few types past Bowden, Michael Fisher may go straight to him at the first bounce, with a proven track record as both a stopper and a runner.

Rhys Mott and Jake Cox have both been in red-hot form on the wing for their respective sides, and a match up here would provide great viewing.  On the inside, tough midfielder Mitch Rainbird could be given the job on helmeted Clarence captain Brady Jones, who was best afield in his 100th match last week.

Fire Starters:

Rhys Mott has been in incredible form for Glenorchy, with the left-footed midfielder’s ability to hit targets with pinpoint accuracy at both ends of the ground often seeing him involved in scoring chains.  Mott’s ability to find himself in space, especially early in matches, must be contained by the Roos.

Clarence big men Wade Wall and Sam Siggins have proven to be a formidable combo this season, seamlessly switching between the middle and the forward line to be a presence in both positions.  Both are capable of manhandling their opponents and having a huge influence on any given game. With Duffy out and the less mobile Mitch Hills likely to spend time on ball, this is where the Roos could take advantage.

INS & OUTS

GLENORCHY

In: T. Butterworth, Z. Webster, J. Arnold
Out: C. Duffy, W. Atkin, C. Salter

CLARENCE
In: A. Gaul, J. Roberts, L. Murfitt-Cowen, J. O’Brien, A. Silver
Out: J. O’Brien, T. Standen, J. Holmes, J. Bailey, J. Gleeson

It is a mixed bag for Glenorchy with Butterworth, Webster and Arnold all timely additions on the eve of finals but the loss of quality big man Cam Duffy will be felt. Wholesale change for the Roos with some absolutely bonafide guns coming out. Their best tall defender, best midfielder, leading goal kicker and reigning bnf amongst five changes. It is a set of teams that says Clarence won’t be too cut up with a loss this week as they have much bigger fish to fry.

Fitz’s Tip: While Glenorchy are playing a strong brand of football and defeated the Roos last time they played, team changes swing the pendulum significantly in the Magpies favour but these two old foes find a bit extra when they collide and I think with neither team in top gear with finals on the horizon, we will witness a tight tussle. Glenorchy by 16.

 

Launceston vs North Launceston (Windsor Park) 2:00pm

Last Time They Met:

North Launceston 12.13.85 def Launceston 9.10.64 (Round 12, 2017, at UTAS Stadium)

A four goal third term helped the Bombers break free of a Launceston challenge, with Brad Cox-Goodyer finding plenty of the ball and Bart McCulloch booting three majors.  Launceston defenders Jack Donellan and Jimmy Aganas kept the damage to a minimum, with a 21 point margin at the final siren.

Form Guide:

Launceston (LLW) – MILD:

Close losses to Hobart City Demons and Glenorchy in rounds 16 and 17 put the pressure on Launceston to hold onto fifth place, but the Blues responded in the mud against Devonport before the bye to claim a valuable four points and a finals berth.

North Launceston (WWW) – HOT:

The Bombers have swept aside the Tigers, Clarence and Burnie in impressive fashion over the past month, with the 69 point win over the Roos a telling victory.  After being struck by injuries mid-season yet maintaining their winning form, the ladder leaders are clear favourites heading into September action.

Key Matchups:

Big-bodied Bomber forwards Thomas Bennett and Bart McCulloch have been solid all season, with the Blues likely to send the hard-tackling Jimmy Aganas and the raw Simon Vandervelde to the damaging duo, given their improvement in the back half of the year.

The midfield battle will be a compelling one, with the Bombers boasting goal kicking  mids Tom Couch, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Josh Ponting inside the centre square.  The Blues have their own trio of star onballers, however, with Jay Blackberry, draft prospect Jake Hinds and teenager Brodie Palfreyman likely to match up on the aforementioned Bombers in the order.

The midfield battle will be interesting but as will the meeting of two of the better rucks running around. Alex Lee and Hamish Leedham have both had terrific years and given their midfield great service. It will be awesome to see two top big men go toe to toe, outside of Mayweather v McGregor this matchup is my favourite of the weekend.

IC: Andrew Woodgate Alex Lee v Hamish Leedham will be fascinating

Fire Starters:

Thomas Sheppard is just one of many unsung Blues who go about their role at Windsor Park, but constant acts of bravery have proven the spark sides.  Sheppard’s courageous mark running back with the flight in defence against Glenorchy resulted in his side lifting to almost topple the Magpies, and they’ll be needing more of the same in what will be a physical clash on Saturday.

He may have missed a large chunk of the season, but Taylor Whitford’s early season form was as good as anyone’s.  Named in the TSL Team of the Week regularly in the first half of the season, the Bomber midfielder’s stoppage work and elite disposal could very well prove to be the difference between the Bombers and their opponents in the coming weeks.

INS & OUTS:

LAUNCESTON

In: C. Brown, J. Gillow, E. Conway
Out: S. Lonergan, S. Rundle, C. Downie

NORTH LAUNCESTON

In: A. Richter-Salter
Out: F. Bennett

The week off means North Launceston are keen on a dress rehearsal with Arion Richter-Salter a welcomed in. The Blues alternatively have rested up two vital veterans that will need to have impacts if they are to fire shots in the finals. Lonergan will coach from the box and the very important Rundle comes out for a breather.

Fitz’s Tip: While the Blues have proven their best football is indeed impressive at times this season, there is no denying how well North Launceston are playing.  Windsor Park has proven to be a tough ground for visiting sides, but the Bombers should continue their winning run with relative ease. The team changes make an already compelling case for the Bombers, even more so.  North Launceston by 42.

Live broadcast from Windsor Park of the Launceston vs North Launceston clash from 155 Saturday on 103.7 FM and 96.5 FM City Park Radio also available on our live stream at http://cityparkradio.com/online-stream/

TSL TRIBUNAL RESULTS – 22 AUGUST 2017

Southern Cross Tasmanian State League & Mercury Cup

Tasmanian State League

1. Jack Gleeson (Clarence) referred for making high contact to the head of Jordon Roberts (Lauderdale).

Gleeson was charged with the following classifiable offence:

19.2.2 (a) (viii) head-butting an opponent or making contact to an opponent using the head.

The Match Review Panel deemed the contact to be intentional, with low impact to the head.

Due to Gleeson’s poor record, his base sanction was increased by one match. 

Gleeson was offered a base sanction of THREE matches by the Match Review Panel, reduced to TWO matches with an early guilty plea.

Clarence Football Club rejected the Match Review Panel’s offer, with the matter heard by the Independent Tribunal on Tuesday night.

Gleeson entered a not guilty plea to the charge.

The tribunal considered a number of factors presented by Gleeson’s advocate which included:

1.Gleeson was provoked.

2. The umpire was in the immediate vicinity with an unimpeded view and did not make a report and under questioning did not believe the action warranted a report.

3. The fact Roberts was showing no signs of any discomfort in the further 26 seconds of game day footage available, as he was leaving the field at the end of the quarter. Roberts returned to the field immediately post the half time break and in the player’s evidence “played okay and kicked a couple.”

After considering all of the evidence, including the points above and including the admission of the charged player that there was contact made to the head of Roberts, Gleeson was found guilty and the incident assessed as intentional and high with low impact.

The Tribunal’s verdict was guided by Roberts being able to return to the field of play without missing any game time and the testimony of the umpire.

The Tribunal exercised the judgment afforded to them under the guidelines to sanction Jack Gleeson to a ONE match suspension.

SANCTION: ONE MATCH

Mercury Cup

2. Nick Grubb (Lauderdale) referred for rough conduct against Harrison Bailey (Clarence).

Grubb was referred directly to the Tribunal due to a lack of evidence, with the matter heard by the Independent Tribunal on Tuesday night.

Grubb pleaded not guilty but was found guilty. The tribunal assessed the incident as an intentional act with contact to the body and given the injuries sustained by Bailey deemed the impact as high.

Grubb was sentenced to a THREE match suspension.

SANCTION: THREE MATCHES

 

2017 TSL Finals Series schedule announced

The schedule for the 2017 Southern Cross Tasmanian State League (TSL) Finals Series has been set, with all action to take place at UTAS Stadium and Blundstone Arena across four weeks in September.

Week one of finals will see a blockbuster triple header at Blundstone Arena with a Mercury Cup Qualifying Final between Clarence and Tigers kicking off the day. 1:00PM will see the Elimination Final between Glenorchy and Launceston, followed by the Qualifying Final between rivals Clarence and Lauderdale at 3:45PM.

Twilight football is a regular feature of the finals schedule with a twilight clash in each week of the finals, culminating with a Twilight TSL Grand Final.

TSL General Manager Carl Saunder is anticipating one of the most exciting finals series in recent memory and a triple header is a perfect way to kick it off.

“Three cracking games back to back at an AFL venue is a great way to get finals fired up and I think TSL fans will have a great day out on September 2 with a bye round in the AFL,” Saunder explained.

“I think any of the five teams could beat one another on any given day which will make for a really exciting September.

“It is a finals series full of possibilities and I think it is going to be really exciting and unpredictable for Tasmanian footy fans.

“Glenorchy attempting to go back to back from outside the top three. Launceston in the mix after missing finals last year, North Launceston under Tom Couch looking to go one better than last year.

“Then you have the Eastern Shore rivals with Clarence looking to return to the pinnacle after a few lean years and Lauderdale eyeing off their first ever flag after an exciting season.”

Finals kick off on September 2 at Blundstone Arena.

2017 Southern Cross TSL Finals series                                                          

Week One: Elimination & Qualifying Finals

Match Number Date Venue Final Start Time Home Club Away Club
1 Saturday 2nd Sept Blundstone Arena Mercury Cup Qualifying Final 10.30am Clarence Tigers
2 Saturday 2nd Sept Blundstone Arena Southern Cross TSL Elimination Final 1.00pm Glenorchy Launceston
3 Saturday 2nd Sept Blundstone Arena Southern Cross TSL Qualifying Final 3.45pm Clarence Lauderdale
4 Saturday 2nd Sept UTAS Stadium Mercury Cup Elimination Final 1.00pm Nth Laun Hobart City

 

Week Two: Semi Finals

Match Number Date Venue Final Start Time Home Club Away Club
5 Saturday 9th  Sept UTAS Stadium Mercury Cup 2nd Semi Final 2.00pm Launceston Winner Match 1
6 Saturday 9th  Sept UTAS Stadium Southern Cross TSL 2nd Semi Final 4.30pm North Launceston Winner Match 3
7 Saturday 9th  Sept Blundstone Arena Mercury Cup 1st Semi Final 11.30am Loser Match 1 Winner Match 4
8 Saturday 9th  Sept Blundstone Arena Southern Cross TSL 1st Semi Final 2.00pm Loser Match 3 Winner Match 2

 

Week 3- Preliminary Final

Match Number Date Venue Final Start Time Home Club Away Club
9 Saturday 16th  Sept UTAS Stadium or Blundstone Arena Mercury Cup Preliminary Final 2.00pm Loser Match 5 Winner Match 7
10 Saturday 16th  Sept UTAS Stadium or Blundstone Arena Southern Cross TSL Preliminary Final 4.30pm Loser Match 6 Winner Match 8

 

Week 4- Grand final

Match Number Date Venue Final Start Time Home Club Away Club
11 Saturday 23rd  Sept UTAS Stadium or Blundstone Arena Mercury Cup Grand Final 10.50am Winner Match 5 Winner Match 9
12 Saturday 23rd  Sept UTAS Stadium or Blundstone Arena Wrest Point TSLW Grand Final 1.55pm TBC TBC
13 Saturday 23rd   Sept UTAS Stadium or Blundstone Arena Southern Cross TSL Grand Final 4.30pm Winner Match 6 Winner Match 10

 

Wrest Point TSL W Finals Series Details to be confirmed following final round of matches

Week One- Sunday 10th September- 1st and 2ndSemi Finals– details TBC

Week Two- Saturday 16th or Sunday 17th September- Preliminary Final- details TBC

Week Three- Saturday 23rd September- TSLW Grand Final 1.55pm UTAS Stadium or Blundstone Arena