It was an absolute thriller under Friday night lights at UTAS Stadium, with Launceston taking it right up to the ladder leaders but falling agonisingly short in the end to go down by a single point. It was a back and forth contest between the local rivals, with momentum shifts coinciding with whichever team was favoured by the stiff breeze. The Blues look to have shaken off an indifferent patch of mid-season form, with much improved performances over the last couple of weeks as they look ready to launch into the back half of the season.
Tom Mundy produced an excellent performance and has settled in really well in the backline after making his debut a couple of weeks ago, crossing over from Burnie in the offseason. He was the leading ball winner for the Blues with 23 disposals and 8 marks. Another Burnie recruit in Jobi Harper is looking good in his new role at centre half back and had 20 disposals and a team high 11 marks. Rulla Kelly-Mansell made a successful return to senior action after a best on ground performance in the Mercury Cup last week with 14 disposals off half back, while Ryan Tyrrell and Chris Savage had 18 disposals each.
Jake Hinds was the most prolific Blues midfielder with 22 disposals, 6 marks and a goal. Joe Boyce had 12 disposals and a team high 4 clearances, while the ever consistent Jamieson House had 17 disposals and 6 marks. Dylan Riley played at full forward once again this week and proved a real handful for the defenders with 12 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles and four goals. The other multiple goal kicker for Launceston was Ethan Jackson with two from 11 disposals, while Mitch Thorp had 14 disposals, 6 marks and a goal, as he regains a ten goal lead in the Hudson Medal.
Next up the Blues will look to follow up performances with results as they attempt to snap their losing streak against bottom side North Hobart at Windsor Park on Sunday in what will be their first home game since the 9th of June. The Demons were competitive last week against Tigers, eventually going down by 25 points. The last meeting between Launceston and North Hobart was in round 9 at North Hobart Oval when the Blues won by 107 points.
North L’ton 8.12.60
Launceston goals: Riley 4, Jackson 2, Hinds, Thorp
Launceston best: Mundy, Harper, Kelly-Mansell, Riley, Savage, House
Mercury Cup Report
The Blues made it a baker’s dozen on Friday afternoon as they cruised to their thirteenth consecutive victory, easily accounting for cross town rivals North Launceston by 59 points. The Northern Bombers were extraordinarily held scoreless in the first half, finally troubling the scorers with a behind in the third quarter before kicking their solitary goal for the game in the last. A great defensive performance from Launceston against the fourth placed side who were coming off a 98 point win.
Leading that defence was Zac Oldenhof, who continued his outstanding form this season with a team high 26 disposals, 7 marks including 3 contested and even drifted forward to slot a goal. Jacob Boyd performed well after coming back from the seniors with 21 disposals and 8 marks, Alec Wright had 19 disposals and 7 marks (3 contested), Jack Donnellan 16 disposals and 6 marks (2 contested), and Joseph Chaplin had 15 disposals and 5 marks.
Anthony Liberatore keeps up his consistently prolific performances in the Mercury Cup with 23 disposals, 7 tackles and two goals. Adam Dickenson had 22 disposals and 7 tackles, while Jimmy Aganas had a good day out in his last game for the club before he moves interstate for study, captaining the side and collecting 22 disposals, 5 marks and a goal. Other major ball winners included Jack Tuthill with 19 disposals, Grant Holt with 17, Jordan Bott 15 and Mack Blazely with 14 disposals, 6 marks and a team high 8 tackles.
Blair Rubock was really dangerous up forward again with 13 disposals, 7 marks including 3 contested and three goals, he’s now kicked 7 goals in the last two weeks after coming back to the Mercury Cup. Sam Bruinewoud produced one of his more well rounded performances in the ruck with 9 disposals, 2 contested marks, 4 tackles and 28 hit outs, with the exciting young ruckman adding some impressive follow up work to his usual hit out dominance.
This week the Blues finally return to home comforts for their first game at Windsor Park in 36 days as they host bottom side North Hobart. The last game between the two was a pretty close one, with a youthful Blues outfit winning by 24 points at North Hobart Oval in round 9. The Demons are coming off an 85 point loss at home to second bottom side Tigers last week.
North L’ton 1.2.8
Launceston goals: Rubock 3, Liberatore 2, Oldenhof, Brown, Aganas, Spohn
Launceston best: Oldenhof, Aganas, Holt, Wright, J. Boyd, Bruinewoud
By Josh Giblin