Written by Andrew Johnston
In the game of the season so far Lauderdale hung on against a fast finishing North Launceston to win by a point in a thriller at University of Tasmania Stadium, stamping themselves as a genuine premiership threat in 2017.
It was a blistering start to the game from Lauderdale, with the southern Bombers kicking out to an early lead in no time with skipper Bryce Walsh booting the first two majors from two consecutive forward entries and Thor Boscott dribbling through a beauty to set the tone for Lauderdale. North Launceston hit back with Zach Burt proving a strong target inside 50, marking and finishing off well before goals to Josh Ponting and Jay Lockhart cut the margin before the southerners kicked away again with three goals including an outstanding Alex Hevey finish that has to be seen to be believed, threading it through from the outside of his boot in the right forward pocket.
The second quarter was played more on the home team’s terms as the game became a lot more congested, with Mark Walsh and Taylor Whitford taking charge in the midfield, helping North score the only two goals of the quarter, including Tom Bennett’s first of six for the game.
After half time, the game went to a new level. Eleven goals were scored in a phenomenal quarter where momentum and the lead swung, with Lauderdale going into the final break with a narrow seven point lead. Nat Franklin starred in midfield as the Lauderdale on-ball brigade took control against North’s midfield maestros. Wiggins and McManus both hit the scoreboard for Lauderdale, while North’s Killer B’s, Burt and Bennett, made a big impression on the North score line.
North looked likely to run away with it as they struck early in the last to claim the lead early in the final quarter with Bennett and Burt both kicking majors, before control the game swung back and forth for a number of minutes. Ryan Wiggins booted one of his three to square the score up before the playing-coach Tom Couch hit the scoreboard to reclaim a North lead. Ed Stanley leveled it again and started a run of five unanswered goals. Lauderdale were ferocious in their attack and clinical in the forward fifty and when Hevey kicked his third, the game looked over as the southerners kicked out to a 25 point lead.
But North had other ideas, clawing back, kicking four goals swiftly to fall agonisingly short, Zach Burt kicking the last as the siren sound to see North go down by just one point.
Lauderdale coach Darren Winter says the group will take a great deal of confidence from the win on North’s home ground, where they have lost multiple finals but played down his side’s threat to the flag.
“To come up here was good for the boys confidence. To be able to beat North Launceston up here gives us a lot of confidence if we do come back here later in the season, we’re able to get a win.
“You win the games a long the way to give yourselves an opportunity to play finals and that is what we are doing at the moment.
North Launceston coach Tom Couch was not impressed with his team’s inablitiy to hit targets, an area they pride themselves in.
“Sometimes when you are winning it covers the cracks but it has been a really good learning experience. Whats our team look like when the pressure is on, today was a good example it was finals footy out there.
“Maybe we’re not as good as what we think we are. It was a good day today, perfect day. There’s no excuses. Not good enough.”
The win was Lauderdale’s sixth on the trot, seeing them just one win adrift from the top two and right in the frame to go deep into September. Both teams now break for the bye as the TSL state team meet the NEAFL.
NORTH LAUNCESTON v. LAUDERDALE
Round 10 – 03/06/2017
Lauderdale 6.1, 6.1, 12.2, 18.3 (111)
North Launceston 3.1, 5.5, 10.7, 17.8 (110)
GOALS, Lauderdale :
R. Wiggins 3, A. Hevey 3, B. Walsh 3, T. Boscott 2, R. McManus 2, P. Bellchambers 2,
R. Sutton 1, M. Kleverkamp 1, E. Stanley 1
North Launceston :
T. Bennett 6, Z. Burt 4, B. Cox-Goodyer 2, T. Couch 1, J. Lockhart 1, J. Ponting 1,
T. Whitford 1, M. Walsh 1
BEST, Lauderdale :
N. Franklin, B. Walsh, P. Bellchambers, T. Boscott, R. Sutton, J. McGuinness
North Launceston :
T. Bennett, Z. Burt, J. Avent, J. Lockhart, A. Richter-Salter, T. Whitford