The clash between Launceston and Glenorchy certainly lived up to the billing of a first versus third encounter, with the hosts coming away one point winners in a thrilling encounter at Windsor Park. Due in part to the wind favouring one end, there were plenty of momentum shifts throughout the day, with the Blues pulling away in the first and third quarters only to see the Magpies mount comebacks in the second and fourth terms. In the end Jack Donnellan took a diving intercept mark in the dying moments and saw his set shot rushed through for the winning score, with Casey Brown sealing the win with a brave contested grab from the resulting kick in.
It was a tough test first up for Launceston’s two young debutants on the day, with Sam Bruinewoud coming in to play in the ruck in place of suspended co-captain Hamish Leedham, and Tyson Miller a late inclusion for Sam Rundle, but slotting into the backline with Dylan Riley moving into Rundle’s spot the midfield. Neither looked out of place, with Bruinewoud competing well against state ruckman Cameron Duffy, and Miller showing off some of the clean handling and composed movement through traffic that has become a trademark of his play in the Mercury Cup.
Jay Blackberry just keeps doing Jay Blackberry things, the state’s most consistent midfielder continues to fill up the stat sheet every week and was excellent once again with 22 disposals, 4 clearances, a team high 10 tackles and two goals. Rully Kelly-Mansell was the Blues’ most prolific ball winner on the day with 24 disposals, 6 marks and a goal, while Dylan Riley and Jack Donnellan were two standouts on the inside, with 23 and 22 disposals respectively and 5 clearances and 6 tackles each.
Giacomo Millucci is proving to be one of the most productive small forwards around this season. The teenager booted three goals on the weekend to make it 21 goals in 6 games this season across both Mercury Cup and senior action. Speaking of goal kickers, Mitch Thorp kicked three of his own to remain ten goals clear in the race for the Peter Hudson Medal with 27 goals so far this season. Jack Rushton was the other multiple goal kicker for Launceston with two in the opening term to kick start the side.
Ryan Tyrrell is in a good vein of form at the moment and was a standout at the back for the Blues with 21 disposals and a team high 9 marks, while Chris Savage, solo captain for the day in the absence of Leedham, marshalled the troops well and had a productive day himself with 20 disposals and 6 marks. The defence held up really well for most of the day, with the only blip coming in the last quarter when they were bombarded by a Glenorchy side that was ruthlessly efficient in front of goal.
Things certainly don’t get any easier this week, with the Blues hosting local rivals North Launceston in another top of the table clash. Launceston will be looking to right their only misstep so far this season in that opening round loss to the Northern Bombers, and retake top spot on the ladder in the process, which North retook on percentage on the weekend when they dispatched Lauderdale by 94 points in the grand final rematch.
Launceston goals: Millucci 3, Thorp 3, Rushton 2, Blackberry 2, Kelly-Mansell, Palfreyman
Launceston best: Blackberry, Kelly-Mansell, Savage, Donnellan, Riley, Tyrrell
The first versus third clash in the Mercury Cup was far from the tight affair we saw in the seniors, with the Blues easing to victory against Glenorchy to remain undefeated this season. The undermanned Magpies were held goalless for the opening three quarters before managing to save face somewhat by winning the last quarter to give some more respectability to the scoreboard.
There were some huge numbers posted by some Blues players pushing hard for a call up to the senior side, with the competition for spots sure to provide some real headaches come selection time this week. Jobi Harper played his first full game of the season after being eased back gradually from his long injury layoff and he racked up 42 disposals and 17 marks in a dominant display. It’s not often that you get 40 touches and aren’t the biggest ball winner on the ground, but that was the case for Anthony Liberatore who couldn’t be doing much more to put his name forward himself at the moment. His 40 disposals, 11 marks and two goals on the weekend make it 74 disposals and 5 goals in the past two weeks for him.
Brendan Taylor and Jake Nunn both made their returns from injury and were both among the biggest ball winners, with Taylor collecting 28 disposals and Nunn 21. Jacob Boyd keeps finding plenty of the football each week and had 27 more disposals this week, Jack Tuthill continues his good season with 21 disposals, while captain Grant Holt was one of seven Blues to have 20+ plus disposals on the day. Judah Edmunds impressed once again with his competitiveness and had 17 disposals, 8 marks, 10 hit outs and a goal, while Joseph Chaplin was the other multiple goal kicker aside from Liberatore with two goals from his 11 disposals.
This week the unbeaten Blues host rivals North Launceston at Windsor Park. Launceston demolished the Northern Bombers by 104 points in their most recent meeting in round 1, but North’s Mercury Cup side look to be getting their game going recently after a terrible start to the season and have won their last two games after starting the season 0-4.
Launceston goals: Liberatore 2, Chaplin 2, Upson, Bott, Edmunds, O’Donnell, Holt, D. Boyd
Launceston best: Harper, Taylor, Liberatore, Holt, Tuthill, Edmunds
By Josh Giblin