Saturday 27th May
Tigers vs Devonport (Twin Ovals) 1:00pm
Last Time They Met: Devonport 22.13.145 def Tigers 10.12.72 (Round 15, 2016, at Twin Ovals)
Tigers bounced back from a poor showing against Launceston to put in four quarters of effort against flag fancies North Launceston, eventually going down by a respectable 16 points in torrential conditions. Devonport had the bye last week, following a spirited contest against an in-form Lauderdale side at home. Last time these two sides met, Mitch Thorp booted five goals and Dylan Riley was best afield as the Magpies dominated at Twin Ovals.
Coach Aaron Vince was full of praise for his players after their narrow loss to the Bombers, after challenging them to respond following an ‘insipid’ showing against Launceston. The four quarter effort was highlighted by constant defensive pressure and contests at stoppages, with Lachy Watt and Sam Rice the players who stood out. Marcus Davies was strong through the midfield, as were Mitchell Carter and Marcus Gardner with their work to clear the ball from defence. Vice-captain Brayden Livingston stood up to kick three majors, and was well-supported by Ethan Brock who also chimed in with three goals, with one an absolute ripper snapped across his body from the boundary. Vince has said he’s not worried about results as long as his players contest well, but the Tigers will see this match as one they must win.
Devonport have been improving every week, and the efforts of his young side against Lauderdale prior to the bye would have pleased Coach Mitch Thorp. Exciting youngster Dylan Schnoor kicked two majors in a good game across half forward, but the highlight was definitely the four goal haul from leading forward Brodie Connelly. The long-sleeved first year player had showed glimpses of his ability leading up to the clash with the Bombers, but his straight kicking highlighted a breakout performance, and he will be looking to take that form into this weekend. Dylan Riley and Quade Byard continued their strong form to win a number of clearances, while young tall Levi Creedon played his best game of the season as Thorp continues to get senior games into his core group of young coastal boys. Teenager standouts Sherrin Egger and Harry Barker should match up well on the Tigers, as they look to form a key part of the Magpies’ squad moving forward.
If the Tigers maintain the pressure and quick ball movement they have shown they’re capable of in patches, they should chalk up their third win of the season at home. The potential and exuberance of Devonport cannot be underestimated however, and the physicality and experience of Thorp, Riley and Beau Sharman could well see the Magpies in the hunt for their maiden win of season 2017.
Lauderdale vs Burnie (Lauderdale Oval) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Burnie 14.15.99 def Lauderdale 10.16.76 (1st Semi Final, 2016, at UTAS Stadium)
Lauderdale defeated Glenorchy in strong fashion last week, making it four wins in a row for the impressive southern Bombers. Burnie competed well in biblical conditions to lead Clarence at West Park at three quarter time, before being overrun but the Roos to lose by 30 points. Last time they played, Jobi Harper kicked three goals to be best on ground as the Dockers eliminated Lauderdale from the 2016 finals.
Lauderdale are arguably in the best form of any side in the competition, with four wins in a row and a low score of 74 points across their last five matches. Defeating Glenorchy at LGV was a testament to how well the Bombers are travelling, with a strong team effort put in week in, week out. Spearhead Ryan Wiggins has returned to form after a spell in the Mercury Cup, and booted five goals last week, taking his total to eight majors inside the fortnight. Thor Boscott was again strong in rotating through the midfield and forward line, finishing with two goals, and midfielder Dylan Fyfe helped himself to three as well. Bryce Walsh was imposing with 40 disposals, and formed a formidable trio through the middle of the ground with Robbie McManus and Nat Franklin. Max Kleverkamp and Ethan Whish-Wilson also performed strongly, along with the rest of the defensive line.
Burnie have had a tough start to the season, but their resilience in the driving rain against a more fancied Clarence outfit pleased Coach Clint Proctor. Darcy Crane was a standout against the bigger bodies of the Roos, kicking three goals to earn himself one RACT Player of the Year vote for his efforts. Harry and Nick Walters again starred, as did Rudy Barrett, with youngsters Bailey Boag and Darcey Brazendale also lifting to compete across four quarters. Proctor chose to coach from the bench, but is likely to take to the field this week, and alongside Nick McKenna and Tyrone Morrison will add some experience and toughness to a young squad facing a physical Lauderdale side.
A focus on sticking to the structures that kept them in the match for most of last week will be integral to the Dockers’ chances of upsetting the Bombers, as they search for their second win of the season. They face a Lauderdale side at the fortress that is Lauderdale Oval in arguably as impressive form as they’ve been in some time, and unfortunately for the coastal side, the locals should run away strong victors to claim their fifth straight win.
Clarence vs North Launceston (Blundstone Arena) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: North Launceston 21.10.136 def Clarence 11.14.80 (Round 15, 2016, at Blundstone Arena)
Clarence started slowly again Burnie last Saturday, before booting seven goals in the final term to run away winners by 30 points. An inaccurate North Launceston made it seven wins in a row last week, defeating a spirited Tigers outfit by 16 points in the rain, although the margin could have been much greater. Last time they met, North Launceston finished comfortable winners, aided by a five goal haul from Zac Burt.
Clarence have started the season well, with the upset loss to Hobart City Demons the only loss the Roos have suffered so far. They took a while to get going last week, but when they did it was experienced midfield trio Jackson O’Brien, Brady Jones and Jeromey Webberley who led the charge. Justin O’Brien, Keegan Wylie and Jarrod Harper all performed well, highlighting the depth of the boys from Blundstone Arena. Trent Standen and Aiden Grace battled all day in the slippery conditions up forward, as did Luke Murfitt-Cowen, who finished up with two goals in a physical showing. This game will prove to be Clarence’s biggest challenge of the season to date, having defeated Glenorchy already, and will show if they are truly a chance to challenge for the flag in 2017.
North Launceston are flying, and Coach Tom Couch wasn’t fazed by the closeness of last week’s match against the Tigers on paper as the Bombers’ winning run continued. Couch himself has been in astounding form, rotating between the midfield and forward line to close the gap on team mate Zac Burt to one vote in the RACT Player of the Year award. The highly regarded Taylor Whitford and Jay Lockhart were at their damaging best again last week, providing clean passes to forwards Bart McCulloch and Mark Walsh despite the conditions. Kaleb Thomas was lively in the attacking 50 and booted two majors, while the ever-reliable Jay Foon was on song in repelling the Tiger attacks. Andy Lee was the standout ruckman of the round, and his battle with big Roo Sam Siggins this week should be one to watch. Youngster Tarryn Thomas will be unavailable as he represents the Allies in the Under 18 Chamionships.
This is undoubtedly the most anticipated match of Round 9, perhaps even the season, with both sides heading into the game with one loss between them. Both teams boast impressive forward targets, as well as fierce defensive units. Hosting the match should result in an even closer result than predicted, and with many big game performers and cool heads on both sides, the outcome may be decided by the performances of the least experienced players on the day. Games like this one are ones you mark down on the roster as must watch matches, it should be a cracker and could well go down to the wire.
Launceston vs Glenorchy (Windsor Park) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Glenorchy 26.14.170 def Launceston 6.8.44 (Round 13, 2016, at Windsor Park)
Launceston played well in patches last week, but were overrun by an energetic Hobart City Demons at North Hobart Oval, going down by 27 points. Glenorchy suffered their third straight loss, going down a rampant Lauderdale at KGV, after facing perhaps the toughest draw of the competition in May. Last time they played, Jaye Bowden kicked five goals and was best afield as the Magpies kicked 13 majors in the final term to run out big winners.
Launceston picked up where they left off against the Tigers last week, with a fast start against the Hobart City Demons, before running out of legs late in the match. Nathan O’Donohue rucked tirelessly in the absence of Hamish Leedham, who should return this week to battle Magpie Cameron Duffy, with the duo widely regarded as the form ruckmen of the competition. Stuart Williams was again good in defence, as were Chris Savage and Jake Smith in patches. Rulla Kelly-Mansell kicked two goals in a dominant first term, but was well held in the second half, as was Sonny Whiting, who also managed two majors but often found himself competing against two defenders. Jay Blackberry and Sam Lonergan were good across four quarters in the midfield, but needed more support, and the Blues will need more help if they are to compete with the Magpies’ accumulators. Jake Hinds will miss through representative duties, but athletic defender Casey Brown should return after missing last week with school commitments.
Glenorchy will be disappointed to have lost three games in a row, but as Coach Aaron Cornelius said after last week’s loss, they know how to play football. The Magpies should bounce back this week, with the side likely to be buoyed by the returns of Zac Webster and Tyler Bowden, as well as Mariner forwards Harrison Pearce and Harrison Gunther. Jaye Bowden was outstanding against the Bombers, kicking two goals and finding a lot of the football. Brayden Webb and Mitch Rainbird continued their strong seasons with impressive matches in the midfield, with Cameron Duffy again dominating the ruck. Joel Millhouse was best afield for the Pies in defence, with youngster Tom Morgan continuing to improve in his first season of senior football. With a number of younger players having come into the side this season, expect Glenorchy to hit their straps and regain vintage form from now on.
This game is a must win for both sides, with Launceston determined to hold onto fourth spot with Lauderdale and Hibart City Demons nipping at their heels. Similarly, Glenorchy need a victory after a tough month to hold onto third position and in striking distance of southern rivals Clarence. Expect nothing to be left in the tank as these sides fight for the four points, with a more experienced Glenorchy just coming out on top at the final siren.