Launceston started the second half of the season in fine style with a 119 point victory over Burnie at West Park. The Blues had a much changed lineup from the last fixture two weeks ago, missing some key players due to injury and school football, but also welcoming back the likes of coach Sam Lonergan and co-captain Sam Rundle from injury, and Jake Hinds from representative duty with the Allies in the under 18 national championship. The wind certainly played a factor during the game, with Burnie remaining competitive when they were going with the wind but Launceston running away with the game when they had the advantage.
Rulla Kelly-Mansell proved to be an unstoppable force up forward despite Burnie’s best efforts with double teaming and close checking at times, racking up 27 disposals, kicking 7.7, and dragging down 9 marks including a mark of the year contender. Sam Lonergan kicked three goals on his return to the side, while Jake Smith also chipped in with three and set up several others. Jake Nunn and another returnee Sam Rundle were the others with multiple goals, as the Blues had twelve individual goal kickers in total.
A dominant midfield display was lead by a superb performance from Brodie Palfreyman, who had 38 disposals, 10 tackles, 13 clearances and 9 inside 50s. Jay Blackberry’s great form continued as he had his fourth consecutive game with over 30 disposals, while Brendan Taylor also collected 30 touches and that pair lead the team with 13 tackles each. Joe Boyce rounded out the midfield and also impressed with 21 disposals, as the Blues not only more than doubled Burnie’s clearance numbers but had quality ball use moving out of stoppages as well. None of the quartet mentioned had less than four clearances or inside 50s.
Jimmy Aganas slotted in nicely down back in his senior debut for the Blues, leading the team in spoils. While fellow Deloraine recruit Ben Killalea played his first senior game of the season following an injury interrupted start to his second stint at the club. Jack Donnellan, co-captain Chris Savage and Jake Hinds, all had plenty of the ball in a stingy defense that only allowed multiple goals in one quarter.
A short week upcoming for the Blues before a Friday night clash with cross town rivals North Launceston at UTAS Stadium. Launceston will be looking to even the ledger after a loss to the Northern Bombers in round 3, and in doing so could move level on points with the ladder leaders. This Friday will also see the unveiling of Launceston’s new Raiders inspired clash jumpers as part of SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY round.
Launceston goals: Kelly-Mansell 7, Lonergan 3, J. Smith 3, Nunn 2, Rundle 2, Blackberry, Boyce, Leedham, C. Sheppard, Taylor, R. Tyrrell, Whiting
Launceston best: Palfreyman, Kelly-Mansell, Taylor, Blackberry, Boyce, Donnellan
Mercury Cup Report
The Mercury Cup side extended their lead at the top of the ladder to six points after a 96 point victory over Burnie at West Park. Just like last week, it was a very young and inexperienced side for the Blues, which saw a heavily populated inside of the circle when the song was sung post match. Burnie managed to hold their own and remained competitive for three quarters, but Launceston piled on 11 goals in the final term to more than double their own score and blow the margin out.
Will Edmunds built his way into the game and like the side got more dominant as it went on. He ended up with 20 disposals, 10 marks and 8 goals. Gareth Holt had 23 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles and a goal, while Jacob Boyd also impressed up forward with 16 disposals and two goals. The other multiple goal kickers for the Blues were Jordan Bott, Trey Clark and coach Oli Cook as, similarly to the seniors, Launceston spread the load with eleven individual goal kickers.
Tom Cooper was productive through the midfield with 25 disposals, while another consistent performer in Grant Holt had a good game again with 19 disposals and 8 marks. Other major ball winners through the midfield included Cam Downie with a team leading 33 disposals, Joseph Bangura with 25 disposals, a team high 6 tackles and a goal, and Mack Blazely with 22 disposals, 5 marks and a goal. While Matthew Dikkenberg gave his midfielders first use with 28 hit outs in just 50% game time.
Tyson Miller continued his great season and excelled in defense once again, collecting 26 touches as part of an all teenage backline for the Blues who did very well to limit Burnie to just ten scoring shots for the game. Credit to the Dockers however for making the most of their limited chances, their efficiency going forward was one of the major factors in helping them to stay in touch for as long as they did.
This week the Blues take on arch rivals North Launceston at UTAS Stadium in the unusual timeslot of 4:30 on Friday afternoon. Launceston will be looking to, at least temporarily, move ten points clear of second placed Clarence ahead of their game on Saturday, while no doubt the fourth placed Bombers will have revenge on their minds after going down by 40 points at Windsor Park when the two sides met earlier this season.
Launceston goals: Edmunds 8, Bott 2, Boyd 2, Clark 2, Cook 2, Bangura, Blazely, Dickenson, Ga. Holt, C. Russell, J. Tyrrell
Launceston best: Ga. Holt, Cooper, Boyd, Gr. Holt, Edmunds, Miller
By Josh Giblin