Launceston welcomed back experienced premiership duo Corey Sheppard and Nathan O’Donoghue, but lost key players Rulla Kelly-Mansell and Sam Lonergan to injury for their clash with ladder leaders Clarence at Blundstone Arena. In a hard fought battle with plenty of momentum shifts, the Roos managed to hold the Blues at bay and eventually come away winners by 27 points despite Launceston getting back within a kick at one stage in the last quarter.
In a great show of respect for the fantastic season he’s having, Clarence sent a tag to Brodie Palfreyman, but they couldn’t stop the teenager from amassing over 20 disposals for the eighth consecutive game. Jay Blackberry lead the way for the midfield with 30 disposals, 13 tackles and 11 clearances, Sam Rundle had 8 tackles and 6 clearances, and Corey Sheppard was also named among the best on his return from injury, collecting 15 disposals. Hamish Leedham was first-class in the ruck once again with 15 disposals, 40 hit outs and a goal.
Sonny Whiting booted five goals to take his season tally to 39 and overtake Glenorchy star Jaye Bowden at the top of the race for the Peter Hudson Medal for the leading goal kicker in the league. Launceston’s only other multiple goal kicker was Joe Boyce, who kicked two outstanding goals in the first half but unfortunately played no further part in the game after half time due to injury. Elsewhere up forward James Gillow impressed with 15 disposals, 5 marks and a goal and Brendan Taylor collected 16 disposals, 6 tackles and a goal.
Jack Donnellan was named first in the Blues’ bests for the second time in three weeks after his 16 disposal effort at the back, while Ryan Tyrrell and Jake Smith also provided plenty of rebound from the back with 20 disposals apiece. Jimmy Aganas had a team high seven spoils, which was also a season high for him, as the versatile big man switched back into defence this week after playing forward and in the ruck against Lauderdale last weekend.
Next week the Blues can enjoy a week off before hosting the 7th placed Tigers on the 22nd of July at Windsor Park. Launceston will be looking to get back on track after the bye following a tough run of fixtures that has seen them lose three games in a row, while Tigers are on a three game losing streak of their own ahead of their trip to Lauderdale this weekend. The last time the Blues and Tigers faced was in round 7 when Launceston triumphed by 81 points at the Twin Ovals.
Launceston goals: Whiting 5, Boyce 2, J. Smith, Taylor, Gillow, Leedham
Launceston best: Donnellan, Leedham, Rundle, Palfreyman, C. Sheppard, Whiting
By Josh Giblin