Launceston managed to get their win back on the Tigers at the Twin Ovals and celebrate Joe Boyce’s 150th game in style but once again they were thoroughly tested. The Tigers came roaring out of the blocks to lead by 22 points at the first break after keeping the Blues goalless, but slowly but surely Launceston clawed their way back to eventually run out 19 point winners. Inaccuracy also cost the Blues a bit, who had 14 more scoring shots than the hosts. The win puts Launceston into third place going into the final round.
Chayce Jones continues his fine season, with his biggest game stats wise since his return to TSL action. He had a team high 31 disposals, a team high 12 clearances and 6 tackles. Elsewhere in the midfield Jake Smith had 22 disposals, 6 marks, 4 clearances and a goal and Brodie Palfreyman 22 disposals and 4 clearances. The two rucks Auckland and Leedham continue to combine well, with both also hitting the scoreboard this week.
The decision to swing Sam Rundle forward proved a vital one, as he kicked two important goals to go with 14 disposals and 5 marks. Mitch Thorp chipped in with three, while the other multiple goal kicker was Brendan Taylor with 18 disposals to go with his two goals. Dylan Riley split his time between midfield and forward this week, collecting 19 disposals and a goal, while Miller Hodge’s pressure was a stand out as he had 11 disposals and a team high 9 tackles.
At the back Rulla Kelly-Mansell continued to find plenty of the ball with 26 disposals and 5 tackles, while Jobi Harper’s intercept work was a feature as he collected 24 disposals, a team high 11 marks, and also booted a long range goal. Jake Hinds once again spent time in multiple positions including defence and had 20 disposals and 6 marks.
This week the Blues round out the home and away season with a vital blockbuster clash at Windsor Park as they host second placed Glenorchy. The race for top three spots and the second chance come finals is still wide open. With Clarence and Lauderdale on the same points as the Blues but both with inferior percentages, it shapes as a must win for all teams. Launceston and Glenorchy’s clashes this season stand at one win apiece, with both teams winning their home encounters.
Launceston goals: Thorp 3, Taylor 2, Rundle 2, Harper, Auckland, Riley, Leedham, Smith
Launceston best: Jones, Auckland, Smith, Hinds, Palfreyman, Riley
Mercury Cup Report
The minor premiership may have already been secured but the Blues showed no mercy to Tigers as they ran away 128 point winners, keeping the hosts goalless for the game while emphatically ending their hopes of playing finals football this year. The margin might have been even greater if not for some inaccuracy from Launceston, particularly in the third term when they kicked two goals eight. The win of course means the Blues’ undefeated season rolls on, with the winning streak now stretching to 17 games.
Ethan Jackson pushed hard for an immediate recall to the senior side, racking up a team leading 32 disposals in a dominant midfield display. Grant Holt also had a big day out with 25 disposals, 9 marks, a team high 7 tackles and two goals. Anthony Liberatore had 23 disposals, 5 marks and a goal, Jacob Boyd 20 disposals and an equal team high 10 marks, and Jack Tuthill 20 disposals and 6 marks.
Whenever you keep a side goalless it’s fair to say your defence has had a good day, with this being no exception. Some major ball winners from the backline included Zac Oldenhof with 26 disposals and an equal team high 10 marks, Cam Downie with 26 disposals and 6 marks, and Alec Wright with 19 disposals and 6 marks.
Blair Rubock had 17 disposals, 5 marks and three goals, while James Gillow also had three goals as well as 13 disposals, 6 marks and 4 tackles. The other multiple goal kickers were Giacomo Millucci and Cam Curtis with two each, while other major ball winners included Casey Brown with 19 disposals, 9 marks and a goal, Tyson Miller with 19 disposals 6 marks and 4 tackles, Matt Spohn with 19 disposals, 9 marks and a goal, and Adam Dickenson with 19 disposals.
This week the Blues wrap up the home and away season by hosting third placed Glenorchy at Windsor Park. The Magpies have already secured a place in the top three and are only a slim chance of overtaking Clarence and moving into second. Launceston have won the two previous encounters between the two sides this season by 50 and 72 points respectively.
Launceston goals: Rubock 3, Gillow 3, Millucci 2, Curtis 2, Holt 2, Brown, Blazely, Spohn, Griffiths, Nunn, Liberatore
Launceston best: Jackson, Holt, Brown, Oldenhof, Wright, Gillow
By Josh Giblin