Saturday 8th April
Glenorchy vs Devonport (North Hobart Oval) 4:00pm
Last Time They Met: Glenorchy 12.10.82 def Devonport 6.9.45 (Round 18, 2016, at KGV)
Glenorchy kicked off the season with a commanding win over Hobart City Demons at North Hobart Oval under lights last Friday. After a tight contest in the first half, the Magpies booted nine goals in the third quarter to run out comfortable 98 point winners, dispelling any rumours of a Premiership hangover in the process. Jaye and Tyler Bowden kicked nine goals between them up forward, and were well supported by Harrison Gunther. A host of other Magpies were strong contributors, including midfielders Rhys Mott and Brayden Webb, young gun Harrison Pearce and big man Cameron Duffy.
Devonport fought hard in their loss to Launceston at home in Round 1, with the hosts unable to match the Blues in the second half of what was a physical encounter. Playing Coach Mitch Thorp bravely played on after copping a huge knock to the ribs, but eventually had to leave the field with what turned out to be two broken ribs. Mitchell Perry impressed all with an outstanding game across defence, and was well supported by co-captain Dylan Riley and youngster Brad Schnoor, who stood up following the loss of Thorp.
This week it is the meeting of the Magpies! The two sides head into this match up having fared very differently in their opening encounters. With Glenorchy’s undefeated record at KGV in season 2016, things won’t be getting any easier for Devonport in week two, especially without leader and forward presence Thorp on the field.
Glenorchy will be unfurling the premiership flag and will undoubtedly want to mark the occasion with a win but they will be without last week’s standouts Gunther and Pearce due to Mariners commitments. Glenorchy have stars across almost every line and it is difficult to see Devonport having enough to limit their impact and their defensive system looks well drilled. The southern Magpies forward line is frightening with targets in the Bowden brothers and Hills and the skills of Matt Joseph and the class and pressure of Zac Webster.
Devonport will need strong leadership and ball winning from Riley and Beau Sharman, and the return of former skipper Brad Symmons is a boost with Thorp fixed to coaching from the box. The loss of Thorp makes it difficult for Devonport but expect the coastal youngsters to give everything they’ve got, but Glenorchy’s experienced heads should see them start the year 2 and 0 with a healthy percentage at the game’s end.
Launceston vs Burnie (Windsor Park) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Burnie 20.8.128 def Launceston 10.10.70 (Round 16, 2016, at Windsor Park)
Launceston started the season strongly with their bigger and more experienced players outmuscling Devonport to celebrate Sam Lonergan’s return to football with a 34 point win, at Devonport Oval. Ruckman Hamish Leedham asserted himself physically to control the ruck, with onballers Lonergan and Jay Blackberry benefiting from his hard work. Sonny Whiting and Rulla Kelly-Mansell were a handful up forward, clunking some big marks and slotting five goals between them. Their dangerous and make for a handful for opposition defences to contain.
A new-look younger Dockers 2017 squad made the TSL’s longest trip with the long journey down to Kingston to take on the Tigers at Twin Ovals, and a scoreless third quarter contributed to a 23 point loss in windy conditions. The Dockers competed well, with Nick and Harry Walters impressive, and young Mariners Blair Rubock and Thomas Mundy looking at home in the midfield, especially in the first half. Captain Nick McKenna was deployed as a swingman, he was a handful up forward, kicking three goals, and also worked hard to maintain a presence in the back half. Clint Proctor was a solid contributor, and was proud of the efforts of all of his younger players, with the side focusing on development and not necessarily results in season 2017.
Launceston look like a much stronger side this season, and will enjoy hosting Burnie at Windsor Park, but will do so without Chayce Jones, Tim Auckland and Ryan Tyrell, who have representative side matches. Another road trip for the Dockers will be a challenge, especially with the fierce showing the Blues displayed in Round 1. With a game under his belt, one would expect Lonergan to find another gear against the Dockers and with the likes of Rundle, Smith and Blackberry also in the mix, it makes winning midfield a tall task for the coastal outfit. If the experienced players at Burnie can cover the loss of Mundy (Mariners) and lift their midfield game to another level, the result may be closer than predicted, but the dangerous Launceston forwards and the effect of ruckman Leedham must be curtailed for the Dockers to have a chance at what would be a major upset victory.
North Launceston vs Hobart City Demons (UTAS Stadium) 6:00pm
Last Time They Met: North Launceston 11.12.78 def Hobart City Demons 11.11.77 (Round 18, 2016, at North Hobart Oval)
North Launceston overcame a fast start from Lauderdale to overrun the southern Bombers side in the final quarter, kicking seven goals to zip to down the hosts by 61 points. It was a fiery clash at Lauderdale Oval, with three reports laid in what Coach Tom Couch diplomatically described as a ‘unique experience.’ The performance was an impressive one, especially considering North were without captain Taylor Whitford. Couch dominated the midfield and helped himself to two goals, aiding four goal forward Zac Burt with a hand in offence. Exciting draft prospect Tarryn Thomas ran hard all game to kick two goals, with the ever-reliable Jay Foon, Connor Young and the emerging Rhyan Mansell proving plenty of drive from the backline.
Hobart City Demons flew out of the blocks in the season opener to lead last year’s Premiers Glenorchy at quarter time, but in the end were defeated to the tune of 98 points. Coach Kane Richter lamented the fall away of key performance indicators such as pressure acts after the first quarter, and the side will look to maintain more consistent performances as the season progresses. Will Campbell, Eddie Cole and debutant Bailey Walker all performed admirably, with Callan Dell and Brodie Schade managing 2 goals apiece up forward.
Widely regarded as Premiership favourites, North Launceston will look to put 4 quarters of hard-running football together as they host Hobart City Demons this weekend. They will have to do so without first round dominators Couch (ankle), Thomas (AFL curtain-raiser selection), and captain Whitford again missing through injury. The young Hobart City Demons welcome in debutant Kyle Wiesnewski, but lose Hutchison to Mariners duties. North Launceston dominated the middle of the ground last week and will be looking to back it up, with the likes of Cox-Goodyer, Avent and Lockhart all capable of breaking a game apart. Tall Bart McCulloch had a really promising first up run and he will be a player to watch up forward and in the ruck. For Hobart City, they will need to take the game on and use their pace to break it open, Josh Williamson teased with bright moments in round one and he looms as a likely game breaker if they are to reign supreme, come Saturday.
The southerners weren’t unable to run with Glenorchy last week, and with the Bombers regarded as the fittest team in the competition, Hobart City Demons may find themselves on the receiving end of another big loss at UTAS Stadium.
Sunday 9th April
Clarence vs Tigers (Blundstone Arena) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Clarence 19.13.127 def Tigers 10.12.72 (Round 13, 2016, at Blundstone Arena)
Clarence play their first match of season 2017 in Round 2, having sat out the opening weekend of the TSL with the bye. The Roos finished 7th in 2016, in a season that saw the mid-season resignation of Coach Trent Bartlett. New Coach Jeromey Webberly is like a new signing and his fitness should significantly strengthen the club, as will recruits Sam Siggins, Jackson O’Brien and Zac Mastrocola. TSL veterans Brady Jones, Jake Cox, Ian Callinan and Tim Castle all remain at the club, and insiders are predicting a big season for young players Kyle Palmer-Hughes, Tyson Hanslow and Keren Howlett. With a Mercury Cup Premiership under their belt in 2016, expect some developing players to make an impact for Clarence this year.
The Tigers started their 2017 campaign strongly, with a commanding 23 point victory over Burnie in difficult weather conditions at Twin Ovals. The Tigers played a fast-paced brand of football, and embraced the physicality of the encounter to maintain a lead for most of the afternoon. Recruits Mitchell Carter and Cameron Johns starred across half-back, with Ashley Humprey impressing in his battle with big man Nick McKenna. Many Mariners-listed players stepped up, and forwards Mitch Walker and Brandon Batchelor capitalised on the hard work to kick two and four goals respectively. Coach Aaron Vince said he believed the performance will help to shake the ‘cub’ tag his young side have been labelled with over the past few seasons.
This encounter should be match of the round, with both sides determined to improve on their lowly 2016 seasons, where they split the results at one win a piece on the two times they faced each other. The result will depend on which side is prepared to take the game on and run the longest. The Tigers squad have been weakened by the loss of Hugh Dixon, Lachy Gadomski and Lachy Clifford, who are taking part in the Mariners match on Saturday, while Clarence will go into their first game without Hanslow (Mariners) and Palmer-Hughes (hamstring). The midfield battle will be an entertaining one, as will be whoever lines up on the key talls in Siggins, Carter, and Batchelor in an attempt to quash their influence. Clarence’s ins in Obrien and Fisher will be looking to start with a bang and Callinan provides an ominous edge to their forward line that is tough to contain. For the Tigers, growth will be measured on their ability to produce a strong follow up display to their first round win. While for the Roos, round two will help indicate whether the pre-season buzz for Clarence has been appropriately placed or ill-directed. An outcome of under five goals seems likely, and would set the sides up for an exciting rematch in Round 11.