Launceston gained a small measure of revenge for last season’s preliminary final, exactly doubling Lauderdale’s score to record a 62 point win in their first trip south of the season. The two teams were greeted by four seasons in one day at Lauderdale Oval, with strong winds, rain and bright sunshine at different times during the game. The Blues jumped out of the blocks early against the wind, before opening up a five goal lead at the main break. The Southern Bombers were on top at times in the third quarter but couldn’t reduce the margin, but for the second week in a row Launceston stormed away in the last term to record a big win.
Jake Hinds made up for any possessions he missed out on while he was suspended last week, racking up a team high 36 disposals and 7 clearances. Brodie Palfreyman was also excellent through the midfield with 30 disposals, 6 clearances, 8 tackles and a goal, supplied well by co-captain Hamish Leedham in the ruck who had 18 disposals, 4 clearances and a goal himself. Jay Blackberry was able to have a big impact despite being tagged with 23 disposals, 7 clearances, 6 tackles and two goals including a goal of the week contender, while Sam Rundle (22 disposals, 4 clearances, 5 tackles), Jack Donnellan (17 disposals, 8 tackles, two goals) and Dylan Riley (17 disposals, 5 tackles, one goal) also made good contributions through the middle.
Sonny Whiting kicked four goals for the second week in a row to go with his 16 disposals, while Mitch Thorp maintained his place at the top of the league goal kicking charts with three goals. Jack Rushton continued his impressive start to his state league career with 13 disposals, 3 clearances, 4 tackles and two goals, with his bursts of pace and energy in the forward line providing problems for the opposition. Brendan Taylor also had a productive day up forward with 17 disposals, 4 tackles and a team high 7 marks, and the Blues spread around the goals once again with ten individual goal kickers this week after having nine last week.
The defence held firm all day, particularly in the third term when Lauderdale dominated the territorial battle for much of the quarter but were unable to reduce the half time margin. Casey Brown was a standout with 13 disposals and 5 marks, one particular passage of play where he sprinted from Launceston’s forward 50 to make a goal saving effort on the line at the other end was one of the highlights of the day. The other major ball winners in defence were the aforementioned Jack Donnellan and Dylan Riley who both spent time in the midfield as well as in defence.
The Blues head into the bye now feeling good with consecutive wins under their belts before another trip south to take on the undefeated Clarence at Blundstone Arena in a couple of weeks time. The last time the two sides met was in the semi final at Blundstone Arena last year, when the Blues came away with a famous 33 point victory. Launceston’s next home game isn’t until the 5th of May, when they will host Tigers in round 6.
Launceston goals: Whiting 4, Thorp 3, Blackberry, Rushton, Donnellan 2, Kelly-Mansell, Sheppard, Leedham, Palfreyman, Riley
Launceston best: Palfreyman, Leedham, Brown, Rushton, Hinds, Blackberry
Mercury Cup Report
Launceston continued an unbeaten start to the season in the Mercury Cup, with a successful first road trip of the season resulting in a defeat the Southern Bombers by 40 points at Lauderdale Oval. The Blues won every quarter on the weekend and are now the only team in the competition sitting on three wins from the first three rounds.
Joseph Chaplin was outstanding at the back, with 17 disposals and 7 marks, including a team high three contested, and showed versatility by slotting a goal when he spend some time forward. His ability to read the ball in the air in the tricky swirling breeze was a real feature of his game. Another exciting young key position prospect Judah Edmunds (12 disposals and a goal) also impressed, continuing a very good start to the season for him. His attack on the contest and strong hands were stand outs. Giacomo Millucci continues to pour on the goals, with four more this week taking his tally to 14 for the season already. He also had 19 disposals.
Anthony Liberatore responded well after missing out on senior selection with 29 disposals and three goals, as did James Gillow who had 25 disposals and a goal. Tyson Miller continued on with his fine form from last week with 26 disposals and 5 tackles. Jobi Harper played just the first half again this week on his road to recovering full fitness after a long layoff and is starting to look ominous as he managed to collect 20 disposals and a goal in his limited time on the ground. Other major ball winners included Jacob Boyd with 17 disposals and a team high 9 marks and Patrick Mackrell with 14 disposals and a team high 6 tackles.
A weekend off now for the Blues ahead of the big grand final rematch against Clarence at Blundstone Arena in round 5. With both teams currently sitting undefeated at first and second on the ladder it promises to be a great contest and potentially one of the best Mercury Cup games of the season.
Launceston goals: Millucci 4, Liberatore 3, Bott 2, Harper, Chaplin, Edmunds, O’Donnell, Gillow
Launceston best: Chaplin, Edmunds, Liberatore, Miller, Gillow, Millucci
By Josh Giblin