It was a frustrating day for Launceston as the inaccurate Blues went down to Hobart City Demons by 9 points in the important season-shaping clash at Windsor Park. With a strong breeze favouring one end, the Blues went in 14 points down at three quarter time but with wind in their favour in the last quarter. Despite dominating territory in the final term, Launceston could only manage 1 goal 6 to make it a wayward 5 goals 17 for the day and fall short of overhauling the undermanned Demons. The two sides now sit equal on points, with Launceston still ahead thanks to a vastly superior percentage.
Jake Hinds, playing consecutive TSL games for the first time this season with representative football now over, had 25 disposals and 11 marks and has now collected over 20 disposals in five of his six senior games this season. Jay Blackberry was the leading possession getter for the Blues once again, with 27 disposals and also had an equal team high 9 tackles, while Sam Rundle continued a good recent run of form with 22 disposals and a team high 8 clearances.
Young defender Casey Brown continued his fine season with a season high 21 disposals and has now been named in the best, in four of his eight senior games this season. Joe Boyce returned from injury and also had a season high of 23 disposals. While another player back in the side this week in Jake Smith collected 26 disposals and a team high 16 marks, as Launceston dominated possession for much of the day.
Jake Nunn provided a great target up forward and had 16 disposals, 7 marks and kicked two goals, while coach Sam Lonergan was the other multiple goal kicker for the Blues on his return to the side. Yet another of the players returning from injury in Rulla Kelly-Mansell was one of seven Blues to collect over 20 disposals, and was the only other Launceston goal to kick a goal.
Next up is the final trip down south for the home and away season, with the Blues travelling to KGV to to take on fourth placed Glenorchy. Launceston will remain in the five regardless with Hobart City having the bye, but a win would go a long way to securing a first finals berth since 2013. The last time the two sides met was in round 9 at Windsor Park when the Blues won by 70 points.
Hobart City 8.8.56
Launceston goals: Lonergan 2, Nunn 2, Kelly-Mansell
Launceston best: Boyce, Hinds, Brown, Nunn, Rundle, Blackberry
Mercury Cup Report
Launceston moved 6 points clear at the top of the Mercury Cup ladder after a commanding 88 point win over Hobart City Demons at Windsor Park. The Blues took advantage of the wind in the first quarter to go in 34 points up at quarter time, before keeping the Demons goalless in the second quarter when they had the advantage. From there Launceston ran away with the game in the second half to remain unbeaten against Hobart City this season, with this result in stark contrast to the two thrillers previously.
The Blues enjoyed an even contribution across the board, with no less than nine players collecting 20+ disposals. Forward Jacob Boyd lead the team with 28 disposals and a goal and has now had 50 touches over the last two weeks. Tom Cooper continued his good form with 23 disposals and a goal, while Cam Downie and Joseph Bangura both also collected 23 disposals. Luke Walsh had 22 disposals and along with Grant Holt, lead the team with 7 tackles, as part of a midfield that was given great service by ruckmen Tim Auckland and Ethan Conway. Auckland had 13 disposals, 3 contested marks, 32 hit outs and a goal, while Conway had 20 disposals, 20 hit outs and two goals.
The key forwards were impressive on the day for the Blues, with leading goal kicker for the season Zac Oldenhof extending his lead with 17 disposals, a team high 11 marks and three goals, and Matthew Spohn also having a good game with 24 disposals, 4 contested marks and two goals. The other multiple goal kicker for Launceston was Lachie Gee who had 20 disposals and two goals. The defence did excellently to hold the Demons to just two goals for the day and conceded just one goal against the wind. They were lead by Alec Wright who impressed once again and also collected 18 disposals.
The Blues now travel to KGV to take on the improving Glenorchy and could potentially lock in top spot on the ladder with two games to spare if they win and North Launceston manage to beat Clarence at home. The last time Launceston played Glenorchy was in round 9 when the Blues triumphed by 68 points at Windsor Park.
Hobart City 2.7.19
Launceston goals: Oldenhof 3, Spohn 2, Gee 2, Conway 2, Curtis, Bott, Cooper, Hodge, Auckland, Boyd
Launceston best: Cooper, Wright, Auckland, Spohn, Downie, Boyd
By Josh Giblin