Round 7 – Tigers Vs Launceston at Twin Ovals
Refreshed after the bye, Launceston made their longest away trip of the season and came away with the four points after a dominant 81 point triumph over Tigers at the Twin Ovals. It was a great start to a tough block of games for the Blues between the bye and the state game, which includes back to back Hobart trips and a date with the premiers. After a tight first half which saw Launceston go in 16 points up at the main break, they really turned on the style in the second half, kicking 10.6 to just a single behind from the home side.
The excellent defensive effort to keep Tigers to one point in a half of football and just three goals for the game was led by Stewart Williams and Casey Brown, who not only thwarted the Tigers attacks but also showed their ability to rebound the other way and set things up for the Blues. Consistent teenagers Simon Vandervelde and Alec Wright also showed their ability to win one on one contests time and again, as they have done week in and week out all season.
Up forward Sonny Whiting slotted six majors to take his season tally to 23 and move up to second in the race for the Hudson Medal. His ability in marking contests impressed in what were greasy conditions at times on a wintry day in Kingborough. Jordan Harris was the other multiple goalkicker with two, while Cory Sheppard’s forward pressure saw him rack up ten tackles to go with his 20 disposals and a goal, and Rulla Kelly-Mansell set things up with 18 disposals, six inside 50s, and a goal.
The ruck duo of Hamish Leedham and Nathan O’Donoghue gave their midfielders first use with 45 hit outs between them which saw Launceston get on top in the stoppages. Coach Sam Lonergan thrived in the wet with perhaps his best game of the season to end up with 34 disposals, 21 contested possessions, six clearances and seven tackles. Jake Smith had yet another game with 25 disposals, as did Brendan Taylor who also led the team with a dozen tackles. Jay Blackberry wasn’t far behind with 11, while Sam Rundle had 28 disposals and nine clearances.
It was unfortunately a mixed day for the returning Mariners. Jake Hinds once again collected over 20 disposals as he has done in every TSL game he’s played this season, and Ryan Tyrrell also impressed in his first senior game since round one. But NAB AFL Academy member Chayce Jones left the ground injured in the first quarter and would not return.
Next up the fourth placed Blues head down south once again to play Hobart City Demons at North Hobart Oval. The Demons are coming off a thrilling one point victory over Clarence and will be looking to draw level on points with Launceston, while the Blues will be looking to put an eight point buffer between themselves and the sixth placed Hobart City in what shapes as an important game as far as the make up of the five is concerned.
Launceston goals: Whiting 6, Harris 2, Hinds, Kelly-Mansell, Lonergan, Nunn, O’Donoghue, C. Sheppard, J. Smith
Launceston best: Lonergan, Williams, Brown, Whiting, Leedham, J. Smith
By Josh Giblin