It was a bitterly disappointing way to bow out for Launceston as they slumped to a 72 point defeat to Lauderdale in the first semi final. The Southern Bombers lead at every change and won every quarter, with a four goal to one second term ultimately setting up the win. Despite an attempt from Launceston to come back in the third quarter Lauderdale held firm and then things really fell apart from there for the Blues as the team that knocked them out last year piled on the misery.
Rulla Kelly-Mansell was the leading ball winner for Launceston, collecting 23 disposals across half back. Chris Savage had 16 disposals, while Jobi Harper and Jake Hinds both started the game in defence and also had 16 disposals. Later in the game they moved into the midfield and forward line respectively.
Brodie Palfreyman battled hard in the midfield with 20 disposals, a team high 6 clearances and an equal team high 5 tackles. Sam Rundle also competed well through the middle with 19 disposals and 5 clearances, while Chayce Jones had 17 disposals, 4 clearances and an equal team high 5 tackles in what should be his last game for Launceston as he now moves on to the AFL draft.
Mitch Thorp had 15 disposals and two goals to round out his Hudson Medal winning season, while Launceston’s other multiple goal kicker was Dylan Riley who slotted three.
That might be it for the Blues’ TSL hopes but there’s plenty more Launceston football to look forward to this season. The TSLW side’s finals campaign started with a bang on the weekend and continues to roll on, while the Mercury Cup and under 18’s sides are both already through to their respective grand finals.
Launceston goals: Riley 3, Thorp 2, Hinds
Launceston best: Riley, Donnellan, Rundle, Brown, Palfreyman, Savage
Mercury Cup Report
Launceston’s so far dominant Mercury Cup campaign hasn’t been slowed by the arrival of finals football, with the Blues blowing away qualifying final winners Glenorchy by 106 points at UTAS Stadium to book their place straight through to the grand final at the same venue in two weeks’ time. Launceston came flying out of the box and kicked seven, six, and six goals in the first three terms to open up a triple digit lead at three quarter time, before a more competitive final term from the Magpies.
Alec Wright once again marshalled things expertly at the back, leading the impressive defensive group and collecting 18 disposals, 5 marks including two contested, and even drifting forward to kick an impressive goal from 45m after shrugging off an opponent in trademark style. Elsewhere at the back Jack Tuthill and Zac Oldenhof collected 13 disposals each, with Oldenhof also taking 5 marks including two contested.
Anthony Liberatore was yet again the leading ball winner on the ground for Launceston, with 26 disposals, 6 marks, 4 tackles and two goals. Other major ball winners for the Blues included Grant Holt with 21 disposals, Jared Dakin with 20 disposals and two goals, Jacob Boyd with 18 disposals, 8 marks, 4 tackles and a goal, Jake Nunn with 17 disposals, 5 marks and two goals, and James Gillow with 16 disposals and a goal, while Mack Blazely lead the team in tackles with 7 to go with his 13 disposals.
Up forward Blair Rubock slotted a team leading six majors from his 13 disposals, while fellow coastal small forward Giacomo Millucci also collected 13 disposals while slotting four goals of his own. All up the Blues had eleven individual goal kickers, with five of those kicking multiple goals on the day.
Launceston can now enjoy another week off as they await the preliminary final this week between North Launceston and Glenorchy to decide who their opponents will be in the grand final. Will it be a local derby to decide the Mercury Cup this season, or will the Blues take on the Magpies for extraordinarily the third game in a row? One thing’s for certain, Launceston will be desperate to make it twenty wins in a row and go one better than last season.
Launceston goals: Rubock 6, Millucci 4, Nunn 2, Dakin 2, Liberatore 2, Neil, Wright, Gillow, J. Boyd, Conway, Rushton
Launceston best: Wright, Holt, Miller, Rubock, J. Boyd, Nunn