Unfortunately it was a less than ideal start to the season for Launceston, with the Blues going down to to the reigning premiers at UTAS Stadium under lights on Good Friday. A slow start was compounded by the loss of Jake Nunn to injury early in the second quarter and the neighbours from the West side of the river were never able to recover against their clinical Eastern rivals. Despite the loss Launceston still took home the inaugural Phil Edwards Cup, which was awarded to the club who kicked the most goals combined across all age groups in the five games throughout the day.
The opening round saw debuts for three offseason recruits, with Dylan Riley and Anthony Liberatore named among the Blues’ best and Mitch Thorp also contributing with two goals. Former Devonport captain Riley had 19 disposals, 7 marks and 5 tackles, while ex-Werribee player Liberatore was the leading ball winner for Launceston with 23 disposals and 5 clearances.
Other major ball winners for the Blues included Tom Sheppard with 22 disposals, Jake Hinds with 21 and Brendan Taylor with 20, while Jay Blackberry typically lead the side in tackles with 8 to go with his 17 disposals and Rulla Kelly-Mansell was the other multiple goal kicker along with Thorp with three goals. Joe Boyce (15 disposals) and key defender Jimmy Aganas (9 disposals, 5 tackles) both battled away admirably at the back to take out the final two places in the best.
Next up the Blues will be home at Windsor Park for the first time this season, facing a North Hobart side who have had many more changes than just their name from last year. Both sides will be looking to bounce back from heavy round one defeats and record their first win of the season, with the Demons having themselves gone down to Tigers by 53 points on Good Friday.
North Launceston 17.8.110
Launceston goals: Kelly-Mansell 3, Thorp 2, Spohn, Gillow, Killalea
Launceston best: Riley, Blackberry, Liberatore, Taylor, Aganas, Boyce
By Josh Giblin