Saturday 13th May
Devonport vs Lauderdale (Devonport Oval) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Lauderdale 14.23.107 def Devonport 7.4.46 (Elimination Final, 2016, at Blundstone Arena)
Devonport are coming off a 53 point loss to Hobart City Demons, but showed a lift in effort and creating pressure compared to recent weeks. Lauderdale head into this week fresh off their second straight win, putting the Tigers away at Twin Ovals by 32 points after controlling the contest all night. Last time they met, Lauderdale sent the Magpies packing from the finals in a strong team effort.
Devonport are just six games into Mitch Thorp’s 60 Game Plan and small improvements are starting to show. Assistant coach Simon Dent was pleased with the young side’s lift in intensity last week, and with a long season ahead, the Magpies will focus on getting games into young players and learning from the more experienced sides. The hard-working Dylan Riley and Mitch Thorp were shining lights last week, with Thorp finishing with three goals and Riley two majors from midfield. Youngsters Mitchell Perry and Sherrin Egger again impressed, with the teenagers’ attack on the football, impressive. Quade Byard and Brayden Butler also continued their consistent early season form with good all-round performances.
Lauderdale have played consistent football for over a month now, and are starting to be rewarded for hard work, with their second win in a row over the Tigers coming in convincing fashion. Dylan Fyfe and Nat Franklin again dominated the midfield with over 30 disposals apiece, with Fyfe laying eight tackles and Franklin winning a game-high eight clearances. Rhys Sutton, Max Kleverkamp and Mitch Anderton mopped up across half back, while a new look forward combination of Ray Hill, Dylan Johns and Blake Newell combined for seven goals. The Bombers will welcome back captain Bryce Walsh, who missed last week through a thigh injury, and key forward Ryan Wiggins, who got some run into the legs dominating their Mercury Cup game last week in a midfield role. Wiggins will play game 100 when he runs out on Saturday and the Bombers will be hoping to mark it in style as they eye off fourth spot.
While the match up may have looked juicy for Devonport at the start of the season, Lauderdale head into this week in enviable form, and the additions of Walsh and Wiggins will only strengthen the Bombers further. With 54 scoring shots from their last two matches, expect the visitors to down the Magpies to extend their winning run to three and level the ledger at 3-3 but not without some physicality, accountability and fight from the coastal side.
Clarence vs Hobart City Demons (Blundstone Arena) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Clarence 16.15.111 def Hobart City Demons 11.10.76 (Round 11, 2016, at North Hobart Oval)
Clarence announced themselves as a genuine contender last week with a fantastic comeback win over the reigning premiers Glenorchy at KGV, highlighted by Trent Standen’s seven goal haul. Hobart City Demons recorded their best win of the season, defeating Devonport at North Hobart Oval in a strong four quarter performance. Last time they played, Clarence ran out winners after an 11 goal first half blew the Hobart City Demons away.
In a physical clash last week at KGV, Clarence booted seven unanswered goals in the final term to defeat Glenorchy by 36 points in what was a fiery clash, full of spite. Trent Standen showed he is still one of the competition’s most dangerous small forwards, finishing off seven majors, while at the other end Jason Bailey held the dangerous Jaye Bowden to just two goals. He was well supported down back by Tim Castle, Keegan Wylie and James Holmes, all who were on the receiving end of some physical attention from their Magpie counterparts. Playing coach Jeromey Webberley was tremendous through the midfield, along with workhorse Gabby Chambers and big man Wade Wall. The Roos will head into this week’s match without the suspended and injured Jake Cox, who is expected to miss up but are expected to welcome back midfielders Jackson O’Brien, Tyson Hanslow and electric young forward Zac Buechner who has been in dynamite form for the Mariners.
Hobart City Demons put together four strong quarters of the football we had previously seen glimpses of, to dispose of a resilient Devonport at North Hobart Oval last week. Midfielder Ryan Matthews gathered 40 touches and booted two goals in a best-afield display, with ball-winners Jayden Charlton and Eddie Cole also impressing. Blake Grant and Jesse Maple provided targets up forward, kicking two goals apiece, while captain Hugh Williams held down the defensive line in his second game back from injury, freeing up playing coach Kane Richter to run forward.
Both sides head into this clash coming off the best matches of their respective seasons so far. While Clarence have proven themselves to look like a top three side without question, Hobart City Demons should head into this match with the belief that they are able to match top sides early on in games. If they are able to maintain the effort and pressure on the ball carriers we have seen in patches this year, they could find themselves in the contest at half time. From there onwards, the key will be stifling Clarence’s quick ball movement from one end of the ground to the other.
Glenorchy vs North Launceston (KGV Oval) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Glenorchy 9.6.60 def North Launceston 5.10.40 (Grand Final, 2016, at UTAS Stadium)
It is Grand Final Rematch time! This one is set to be an absolute blockbuster, with North Launceston in outstanding form and Glenorchy looking to quickly bounce back from their first loss at KGV in 20 outings.
Glenorchy had the edge over rivals Clarence for three quarters last week, before a scoreless last term saw them overrun by the Roos for their first loss of season 2017. North Launceston started slowly against Burnie on the weekend past, before putting on the jets to record their first triple figure win of the year. Last time these sides met, Glenorchy booted five goals in the third term to grind out a win to become premiers in 2016, with now-Apsley player Clinton French kicking four majors in a best afield display.
Glenorchy had blown away all sides it had faced up until last week, where an energetic Clarence ran hard to kick seven straight goals in the final term to hand the Magpies their first defeat of the season. The Pies had played three games without many rest days, and looked to have run out of legs late in the contest, but still dominated the clearances, led by midfielder Mitch Rainbird. Jordon Arnold and Brayden Webb tried hard all day in defence, with Anzac Medallist Joel Millhouse and the underrated Matthew Dilger also putting in strong efforts. The Pies head into this week’s Grand Final rematch without suspended duo Tyler Bowden and Matthew Joesph. Half forward Zac Webster has got up for the game despite having back and hamstring issues trouble him and see him out of the majoirty of last week’s match. 2016 premiership defender Tim Butterworth returned home from Queensland during the week but has not been rushed into the seniors, instead lining up in the Mercury Cup.
North Launceston ran riot again last week, with captain Taylor Whitford and playing coach Tom Couch again dominant in the midfield, capping off their matches with three and two goals respectively. Primary forward target and current RACT Player of the Year leader Zac Burt was well held, leaving Bart McCulloch to play his best game of the season, finishing with three majors. Big man Alex Lee continued his strong form in the ruck, while Jay Foon and Jay Lockhart repelled any rare Burnie foray forward. Brad Cox-Goodyer again dominated the middle to kick two goals, as did Connor Pearton, capping off another strong team performance by the premiership favourites.
The grand final replay has all the makings of one of the games of the home and away season. North Launceston have the upper hand with a full list to choose from, including Tarryn Thomas, who is an injection of class to an already strong outfit. For Glenorchy it is two in and two out, they welcome back their Hs, in Mariners duo Harry Pearce and Harrison Gunther, covering the loss of their suspended players and injecting some silk to the forward half. The key for the Magpies will be maintaining their run late in the match against the fittest side in the competition. If Jaye Bowden can bounce back from a quiet week, and Cameron Duffy can give his midfield first use of the ball it will go a long way for the Maggies. North possess weapons across the park and have a much different team to the grand final, with Tom Couch’s inclusion making them a different beast. This game could go either way.
Tigers vs Launceston (Twin Ovals) 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Launceston 14.10.94 def Tigers 14.8.92 (Round 17, 2016, at Windsor Park)
The Tigers started too slowly against Lauderdale last Saturday night, and while they clawed their way back with good second and third quarters, it was too little too late as a 32 point margin flattered them in the finish. Launceston are fresh off the bye, and will be looking to recapture the form they showed in their first three matches of the year. Last time they played, Launceston sunk the Tigers late in the match despite four Brandon Batchelor goals, with Jay Blackberry and young Jake Hinds impressive for the Blues.
The Tigers were disappointed with their effort last week, and rightly so. They were unable to play the brand of fast-moving football they pride themselves on, and will be looking to bounce back and take the game on at every opportunity this week. Mitchell Carter stood up in defence as he has all year, and young Lachy Watt battled hard, having now pieced together a series of impressive games. Chris Nield was lively up forward with three goals, but unfortunately had inadequate support against Lauderdale. With key forward Brandon Batchelor out with a foot injury, the onus will be on Mitchell Walker and returning Mariner Hugh Dixon to put some goals on the board. Both are capable when firing, and will need to return to early season form on Saturday. Mariners Lachie Clifford and Toby Cowen return to the fold with debutant Ben Donnelly out with a knee injury, as is fifteen year old Oliver Burrows-Cheng, whohas impressed with his attack. The Tigers’ midfielders in Will Cleeland and Marcus Davies, and well as captain Tim Peterson, will need to lift against the bigger Blues’ bodies this week.
Launceston will be looking to return to the winners’ list this week, following a disappointing showing against Clarence in Round 5. Hamish Leedham has been outstanding in the ruck, with his work benefitting midfielders Sam Lonergan and Jay Blackberry. After quiet games against the Roos prior to the bye, Sonny Whiting and Rulla Kelly-Mansell will be keen to remind state selectors why they are regarded by many as one of the most dangerous forward line combination in the TSL. Jake Hinds will return from Mariners’ duties to support Nunn and Vandervelde down back, while Jack Donnellan will return from suspension via Mercury Cup footy. The explosive Chayce Jones also comes back from Mariners and AFL Academy stints to add another weapon to an already strong midfield mix for the visitors.
The Tigers were filthy on their performance last week, and should hit the ground running in the first term at Twin Ovals. Both sides have proven to play physical and fast-paced football, and the early advantage will go to the side able to move the ball quickly to score early goals, as the wind at Twin Ovals often blows hard in the late afternoon, which can affect shots on goal. Launceston will head into the clash favourites, but the Tigers have shown they are capable of matching top sides for short periods of time. If the home side can dictate the style of game on their terms, they definitely stand a chance at upsetting the more seasoned Blues. Having said that, negating Sonny Whiting up forward is a must.