Written by Anthony Osborn
The North Launceston Bombers have done their premiership and minor premiership credentials no harm with a 72-point dismantling of the Tigers at the Twin Ovals.
The 17.16 (118) to 6.10 (46) victory largely came off the back of impressive performances from North Launceston stars Tom Couch, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Zach Burt- however, an injury scare to Tarryn Thomas threatened to sour an otherwise enjoyable afternoon for Bomber fans.
With Daniel Archer taken out of the team as a late withdrawal due to his knee concerns, the Tigers’ forward line struggled to hit the scoreboard, with the hosts finishing with just six majors for the afternoon, even after a promising start to the contest.
The Tigers looked to be the better side in the first term, with a Zach Burt goal deep in the quarter handing the Bombers a four-point advantage at the first change.
The Bombers began to flex their muscle in the second term; however, slamming home five goals to one in a stanza that saw the likes of Couch, Cox-Goodyer and Josh Ponting begin to stamp their authority on the match.
The Tigers stemmed some of the Bomber momenta in the third term, but when the visitors took a seven-goal lead into the final break, the damage had been done and the platform was set for a final term that handed last season’s grand finalists a healthy percentage boost.
A knee injury to young superstar Tarryn Thomas caused some concern in the final term, especially when the Bomber required assistance leaving the field.
Bomber playing-coach Tom Couch was keen to downplay the concern post match, declaring that the injury doesn’t look to be too extensive.
“He (Thomas) is going to be okay- he is already talking about playing next week. Fingers crossed it’s a bit of a twist- I’m not a physio that he will check it out on Monday” Couch said.
Tom Couch’s individual performance was sensational, as was Brad Cox-Goodyer, with their ability to not only win the ball at the coalface and use it cleanly, but to also hit the scoreboard with four and three goals respectively, made for match-winning performances.
Zach Burt also impressed with four goals, while big Ben McCulloch also chipped in with two goals.
Ben Simpson, on debut, also showed plenty of promise, with his efforts particularly pleasing Tom Couch.
“Playing his first game for the club, he (Simpson) just did a couple of things that make you think he is going to be a good player… clean hands, composed and making right decisions. He has come out of nowhere and he is now a good shot of playing finals footy”.
Couch was pleased with the victory, particularly after a close encounter between the sides earlier this year.
“It was good to get the win and a good four quarter performance. It was pretty consistent and built on from last week. This time of year you want the boys to be improving and building momentum… We took another step forward today.
“They (the Tigers) are a physical side and can be tight one-on-one. Last time was a real education for us and we did our homework (for today) and thought it went pretty well” Couch said.
Tigers coach Aaron Vince was disappointed with the match after quarter time.
“After quarter time their bigger bodies got on top of us and we didn’t have anyone prepared to run with them”.
“We probably didn’t capitalise on opportunities in the first quarter, but we certainly matched them for effort and were really good around the contested ball- but that just fell away as the game went on”
Lachlan Gadomski impressed in the back half for the Tigers, particularly with his willingness to take the game on and break lines with his run and carry. Lochie Griggs also worked well in defence and Lachlan Watt around the ground.
With the likes of Jay Lockhart and Taylor Whitford to come back into the side in the coming weeks, the Bombers look poised to make a serious assault on September action, but will first face the task of hosting fellow premiership fancy Clarence at UTAS Stadium next week.
Meanwhile, the Tigers will be travelling further north to Devonport, with Vince believing that consistency will be his side’s focus for the remainder of 2017.
“We continue to ride the wave of inconsistency. We were up last week and probably could have won. We will review what Couch and Cox-Goodyer did to break us open… they were prepared to work a little harder than us and we will give our midfield some work to do during the week to try and rectify their efforts today”.
TIGERS v. NORTH LAUNCESTON
Round 17 – 29/07/2017
North Launceston 3.2, 8.5, 11.7, 17.16 (118)
Tigers 2.4, 3.4, 4.7, 6.10 (46)
GOALS, North Launceston :
Z. Burt 4, T. Couch 4, B. Cox-Goodyer 3, C. Lowe 2, B. McCulloch 2, T. Thomas 1,
M. Walsh 1
B. Batchelor 2, C. Nield 2, M. Walker 1, M. Davies 1
BEST, North Launceston :
B. Cox-Goodyer, T. Couch, J. Ponting, Z. Burt, J. Pearce, B. Simpson
L. Gadomski, M. Gardner, M. Carter, M. Davies, L. Watt, L. Griggs