It was a younger Launceston line up this week with the Blues welcoming back Casey Brown, James Gillow and Connor Smith from school football to replace Ben Killalea, Nathan O’Donoghue and the injured Corey Sheppard, with Smith playing his first senior game of the season. Unfortunately for the Blues Lauderdale came away 27 point victors, which really tightens things up in the finals race now with only one win separating 3rd from 6th with about a third of the season left to go.
Things got off to a bright start for Launceston in the first quarter but took a turn for the worst once the Blues went player and a coach down after Sam Lonergan was ruled out for the remainder of the game as a result of an alleged sling tackle. From there Lauderdale took control and dominated the second and third quarters, but credit to the Blues for staging somewhat of a comeback to win the last quarter, despite being down to just one rotation on the bench.
Once again it was Brodie Palfreyman who led the way with 27 disposals and a goal, while the other more experienced inside midfielders all also made solid contributions with co-captain Sam Rundle collecting 23 disposals and 11 clearances, Jay Blackberry 23 disposals and 8 tackles, and Joe Boyce 18 disposals. Ruckman Hamish Leedham competed well all day and just shaded a great ruck duel with 28 hit outs, and Tom Sheppard continued his consistent season with 16 disposals.
Rulla Kelly-Mansell was up and about early to get the Blues going and finished the game with three goals, while Sonny Whiting and James Gillow were the other multiple goal kickers for Launceston. Connor Smith kicked a goal in his first game of the season and also delivered five inside 50s to be second only to Jay Blackberry and his namesake Jake Smith, who had half a dozen each, in that category.
The tasks don’t get much tougher in the TSL this season than a trip down to Blundstone Arena to take on ladder leaders Clarence, and that’s exactly what Launceston are facing this week. The Roos have only lost one game all season and are coming off an 89 point victory over Devonport. The last time the two sides met was back in round 5 when Clarence triumphed by 38 points at Windsor Park.
Launceston goals: Kelly-Mansell 3, Gillow 2, Whiting 2, Boyce, Nunn, Palfreyman, C. Smith, J. Smith
Launceston best: Palfreyman, Leedham, Rundle, Blackberry, Boyce, T. Sheppard