Launceston continued their late season push with a vital 34 point win over second placed Clarence to move up to fourth place, overtaking Lauderdale who had the bye. It was Pink Day at Windsor Park with the Blues adding a splash of pink to their jumpers for the occasion, and they were in the pink in more ways than one early as they skipped out to a five goal lead at quarter time with the aid of the wind. In the second term Launceston were able to keep Clarence to a single goal when they had the breeze in their favour, while kicking three themselves. From there they managed to maintain a comfortable lead despite a spirited attempt to come back from the visitors.
Chayce Jones continues to push his case to potential recruiters with another fine display through the midfield. He lead the team in disposals (25), clearances (12, twice as many as the next best), and tackles (7), while also hitting the scoreboard with two goals. Launceston’s strong midfield was able to get on top, with other major contributors including Jamieson House with 24 disposals, 6 tackles and a goal, Jake Smith with 21 disposals, 7 marks and a goal, and Brodie Palfreyman with 20 disposals and 6 clearances. The Blues’ use of two genuine ruckmen continues to be a success, with Tim Auckland (13 disposals and an equal team high 7 tackles) and Hamish Leedham (9 disposals and a goal) working well in tandem.
Mitch Thorp lead the way up forward with 15 disposals, 6 marks and 6 goals to take his tally to 57 for the season. Jake Hinds spent time through all three lines and had a productive day with 24 disposals, a team high 13 marks and a goal, while Miller Hodge impressed on his return to the side with 15 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles and a goal. The backline restricting the visitors to just one goal in the first half was a major reason for the victory, with Tom Mundy managing to quell the influence of Jake Cox while also launching some Blues attacks with 19 disposals of his own. Rully Kelly-Mansell also continued his fine form off half back with 23 disposals and 6 marks.
Next up Launceston will be looking to avenge their round 13 loss to Tigers when they once again travel to the Twin Ovals, the Kingborough based side are coming off a 75 point loss at home against the in form Glenorchy. A place in the top three is potentially on the line for the Blues, with the second and third placed Glenorchy and Clarence playing each other. With only two rounds remaining the makeup of the finals picture is still wide open, with just one win separating second from fifth.
Launceston goals: Thorp 6, Jones 2, Smith, Hodge, Riley, Leedham, House, Hinds, Taylor
Launceston best: Thorp, Jones, Hinds, Kelly-Mansell, Mundy, Palfreyman
Mercury Cup Report
Launceston’s Mercury Cup side wrapped up the minor premiership with two games to spare with a 49 point win over second placed Clarence. The visitors managed to keep themselves in the game through their outstanding accuracy in front of goal, going into the final quarter just ten points down despite Launceston having 22 scoring shots to 12. But the Blues pulled away in the last term, kicking 6 goals 3 to no score to record a comfortable win and extend their unbeaten run to 16 games.
Jack Donnellan responded in the best way possible after coming back from the seniors, leading the team with 26 disposals, 6 marks, 5 tackles and four goals in a best on ground display. Other midfielders to impress included Anthony Liberatore with 22 disposals, 6 marks and a goal, Jared Dakin with 21 disposals, 6 tackles and a goal, and Grant Holt with 14 disposals, 5 marks and 5 tackles. While Sam Bruinewoud gave them first use with 29 hit outs and his fellow ruck Joe Chaplin had 14 disposals, 3 contested marks and 12 hit outs.
Up forward Ethan Conway was the next highest goal kicker after Donnellan with 3 to go with 15 disposals and 6 marks, and Cam Curtis was the other multiple goal kicker with two. Other major ball winners for Launceston included Zac Oldenhof with 18 disposals, 7 marks and a goal, Jake Nunn also with 18 disposals, 7 marks and a goal, and Matt Spohn with 16 disposals and 5 marks. Lachie Gee applied plenty of forward pressure, leading the team with 7 tackles while also collecting 12 disposals, while Casey Brown and the returning James Gillow laid 5 tackles each.
Next up the Blues travel south for the last time in the home and away season to take on Tigers at the Twin Ovals. Launceston have won both previous meetings this season, with the most recent being a 98 point triumph in round 13 also in Kingston. The Blues will have to be wary of the Tigers, however, as they were very competitive in their last game, going down by just 8 points to third placed Glenorchy.
Launceston goals: Donnellan 4, Conway 3, Curtis 2, Oldenhof, Dickenson, Gillow, Dakin, Nunn, Millucci, Liberatore, Spohn
Launceston best: Donnellan, Oldenhof, Holt, Bruinewoud, Nunn, Brown
By Josh Giblin