LAUNCESTON suffered its first defeat of the Tasmanian State League (TSL) competition, going down in an odd low-scoring game to Clarence by a point, as North Launceston and Glenorchy both recorded important wins in challenging conditions.
GLENORCHY vs. NORTH HOBART
By: Peter Williams
Despite coming into the game as favourites given their recent record against the best sides, North Hobart found itself on the back foot, booting just four behinds in the first half as Glenorchy raced to a four-goal lead in wet conditions at KGV. The Demons hit back in the second half, but just as it looked like they might have a sniff, the Magpies steadied through the likes of Jaye Bowden and James Deegan who both stood tall, while Matthew Joseph also kicked a couple of goals. For the Demons, Hamish Allan stepped up in the ruck, while Jack Sandric was a clear best-on in the 7.8 (50) to 4.8 (32) defeat.
#34 Braidy Simpson
The 15-year-old showed some nice signs playing for the Magpies against the Demons. He rushed a little early in the game with a couple of turnovers or missed kicks, but was able to get into the game the more it went on, and when he had time and space, hit up Jaye Bowden on the forward side of the wing, and then did it again later leading to an Aaron Joseph goal. He won more of the ball as the game went on and did not look out of place in the side despite his young age.
#36 Callum Thompson
A promising game from the Southern Football League (SFL) best and fairest winner who just has the composure and footy smarts playing across half forward and at times, deep forward. He had a chance to extend his side’s lead at the first break after marking in space in the pocket, but his shot drifted to the right. He set up teammates after that, and while it was not always perfect, he won a free kick from a great tackle on the wing in the second term and earned a 50m penalty, and his kick went into the danger zone. While that kick was intercepted, he showed nice composure to look inside when at half-forward, opting to centre the ball to a free teammate in a better position which opened up the game in the 15-minute mark of the term. He did not win a heap of the footy, but had his moments.
#53 Riley Best
Had quite a number of neat touches through the middle and was not afraid to take the game on. In the second term he wheeled around and kicked inside 50 really deep to the danger zone, and then finished off some hard running to receive the ball from Bowden 45m out with a terrific set shot goal. Considering the conditions, Best was clean at ground level and was able to get it forward to Bowden’s advantage later in the term. Unlike many others in the game, Best used the ball fairly well and was influential around the clearances and getting the ball inside 50.
#55 Nathan Blowfield
Tried hard all game for the Magpies and is composed when under pressure in defence, he did get out-marked late in the game against Patrick Walker at half-back, but as a whole, he was able to be composed with ball-in-hand and good at ground level one-on-one. One of the few to hardly miss a target all game and played a really sensible role for a defender in the conditions.
#11 Jake Steele
One of a number of over-agers in the Demons side, Steele worked hard in challenging conditions for key forwards, and showed a high level of work rate to win a number of touches up the ground. He could have finished the game with a much bigger impact, kicking three behinds, but he was able to be clean at ground level and present a contest in the air. He applied defensive pressure and was strong in that regard, and while his timing when flying for marks could use some work – he flew twice but mistimed the jump – he did what you would expect of someone his size in the wet, which was compete for four quarters.
#15 Hamish Allan
While he had a quiet first term playing through the ruck, Allan got better as the game went on and really took advantage of Glenorchy’s second ruck in Brady Williams. Towering over his opponent, Allan might have been outsmarted in the opening term at times by the experienced James Deegan, but he dominated Williams in the hitouts, and by the time Deegan got back, Allan was matching, if not beating him later in the game. Not as mobile as Deegan at ground level, Allan was crucial because he got so many clear taps to get the ball into space for his midfielders to run onto, and while they did not always get to do it, he was winning more than his fair share of hitouts. He would get forward and provide a presence in the air, but as has been typical with 200cm-plus players, was better to handball rather than kick, particularly in the wet conditions.
#19 Will Peppin
Another over-ager who was one of the more prolific ball winners for the Demons, Peppin tried hard for four quarters. Like many of his teammates, Peppin turned the ball over going forward early in the game, but he was more efficient as the match wore on. In the second term he had a nice spin out of trouble at half-back to release the ball by hand to a teammate who kicked forward. He rushed a few kicks going inside 50 which were intercepted, but his work rate and intensity at the ball in the conditions was great, exemplified by his ability to nullify a one-against-two contest on the wing in the third term and buy his teammates time to assist.
#46 Jye Menzie
Might not have had the scoreboard impact the lively flyer can have, but he was one of the more impressive players early on in the conditions. He flew for marks and got down and dirty at ground level, and still looked dangerous when the ball was in his area. He pressured opposing players who had the ball or were about to collect, and realistically should have had a goal midway through the third term, but mis-kicked it a mile in the air. He was quieter in the fourth term, but laid a great tackle in defence to lock the ball in, and his first term in particularly was where he was working hard.
#48 Patrick Walker
While many of his teammates were missing targets early in the wet conditions, Walker was using the ball well and showing clean hands off the deck. He was kicking long out of the back 50 and trying to provide run for his team against the flow with some one-twos on the win. Walker showed composure under pressure and while he made the odd mistake in the wet conditions after the opening term, was still able to show good recovery on the wing when knocked off the ball at first in the third term, and then pressured an opponent off the ball to make a mistake in the last quarter. His hands in the wet conditions remained strong with a deep kick to the pocket important as the Demons continued to attack late.
#49 Sam Collins
It was a mixed bag for the intercepting defender who did not have it all his own way throughout the game. He was good at switching play and trying to create something, but also made a number of turnovers in doing so. He was still valiant defensively with some good third-up efforts to spoil the ball, or provide pressure to opposing forwards, but like many of his teammates, had a few crucial mistakes. A handball turnover meant for Menzie in the middle went back the other way and resulted in a goal, and a long kick out of defence was intercepted on the wing. He played better wet weather football after the third term turnover goal, and still remained composed, without trying to overdo it. He had a terrific moment in the fourth term charging off half-back to win the ball in traffic and kick forward, then was thrown forward himself and showed good pressure in a losing side.
#51 George McLeod
The bottom-ager was impressive on debut, showing great courage going back with the flight early in the game, and while his subsequent kick was intercepted, he showed clean hands at ground level inside 50 to get it to Menzie for a scoring opportunity. McLeod just had a crack in a game where it was challenging to show off any athletic traits or clean hands, but he still managed to get the ball from a congested situation to teammates on a number of occasions and showed no-fear in doing so. His attack on the footy was impressive and while he is still light and was fended off easily in the third term at one stage, he has composure beyond his year. That came in the third term late when going inside 50 he had the composure to lower the eyes and not go to the predictable tall forwards leading out, instead spotting a free Thomas Reeves leading to space and went for the nice short kick out in front leading to a vital goal. Overall he moved well and showed some slick kicking skills in wet conditions and is one to watch for the future.
NORTH LAUNCESTON vs. TIGERS
By: Eli Duxson
After a relatively even first half, reigning premiers North Launceston pulled away from Tigers to record an impressive 56-point victory at UTAS Stadium. The Bombers only led by five points at quarter time and 12 points at half-time, but restricted Tigers to just five behinds in the second half, while piling on 7.7 and running away with a big win. Bart McCulloch starred with five majors and was one of the Bombers’ best, while Brad Cox-Goodyer (two) and Jack Avent were also impressive. For the Tigers, Kieran Lovell (two goals) put in a trying effort, as did Tyler Carter (two), while Lachlan Gadomski was named best-on for the losing side.
#16 Oliver Sanders
Sanders played mostly between the wings and occasionally drifted up forward for the Bombers and was lively early in the game. A shower swept across the ground and kept the ball on the deck for a bit longer than usual, but this just prompted his straight-line attack on the footy and showed he has some contested ball ability. He had a good habit of timing his run and getting in the right position to receive handballs but was not able to connect on two kicks to send it inside 50. His hard work down the wings meant he led his opponent to the ball and won his own possession, using it well through hands. He had a set shot on goal from about 35 metres in the second quarter but missed narrowly.
Sanders’ third quarter was a little quiet, but he managed to get dangerous in final term when the Bombers were on top. He seemed to read the contest well with good positioning front and centre or roving the ball on the move. He showed his compact frame could lay strong tackles, winning a holding the ball free kick earlier in the game and bringing the Tigers’ ruckman to ground late in the game. He also showed that his frame was strong through the hips and core as he maintained his balance after being knocked in an aerial contest.
He has had a good mix of inside and outside play, but he is certainly able to find more ball and impact the scoreboard. In saying that, he also seems like the player who does not need a high possession game to make an impact with his tidy left boot.
#25 Jackson Callow
The 194cm and 95kg key position player showed he can be a utility for a team but seemed to be more effective in the defensive half. Callow played out of full forward for the first half and showed good athleticism and work rate with no reward. He copped a stinger to the shoulder early but made his way back out there to be an option. He managed to get his hands on a lot of long and high balls but was not making enough space for himself through engaging the body. Despite his lack of body work in marking contests, he showed he was adept to play ruck if needs be as he used his sturdy build to get first use of it in the air.
Like the previous week, he made the switch down back for the second half and was very good. His only blemish was spoiling a teammate going for the same mark which just showed he needed to switch from a forward to a defensive mindset little quicker. The rest of his work for the second half made up for it. He showed a good ball-reading ability in the air to mark and his speed on his opponent’s leads were electric. He was clean with his loose ball intercepts and used it well with both handballs and kicks.
Callow definitely looked a lot more comfortable in the defensive 50 than the forward. He is a good size to play key position and did all the right things as a defender. He can be a threat up forward if he uses his speed and strength to create separation from his opponent more consistently.
#19 Oliver Burrows-Cheng
A bit of a quiet game for the medium-sized forward although there was still a lot to like. He was hard at it and did not go off his line when he had to and showed good acceleration. He laid strong tackles and did not want to lose in congestion with repeat efforts to gather the ball and did so on a few occasions. He took a good overhead mark in the second quarter after holding a good position for the Tigers’ rebound. He hit a target on a solid switch kick but could have held to find a target up the ground in a more dangerous position – it still paid off, though.
He did seem to drift a bit around stoppages in his attacking half and was often caught between being at the next contest up forward or going to the stoppage. Either way, he looks capable in the air and when it hits the ground to rove but is also strong enough and fast enough to win his own ball in tight. A highlight of his came in the fourth quarter as he worried the Bombers player out of the contest with his ominous attack on the ball and won possession himself, sending it inside 50.
Although his numbers would not have indicated a big impact on the game, he has all the explosive traits of brilliance if he can get himself involved a bit more, whether that is with confidence or positioning, it will be exciting if he can bring it together.
#31 Lachlan Gadomski
A Devil from last season, Gadomski was named the Tigers’ best after doing his best impression of an anchor in his overwhelmed defensive post. At 186cm and 82kg, he is not your prototype key defender, although he showed at times that he could play both tall and small. In wet conditions early, he set the tone for what he is all about which is strong defence turning into offence. A strong one-on-one spoil was followed up, gathered, and cleared. He showed a willingness to win in his own ball under pressure both in the air with safe hands and on the floor. He was generally good with his disposal and stayed composed despite being swamped with attacking entries from the Bombers. He did concede a goal after being pinned holding the ball with a spinning gather, but his attack on the ball could not have been faulted.
As North Launceston dominated the play in the final quarter, it gave him Gadomski more work to do. His tackling ability was on display with a splendid chase down tackle after spoiling to earn a free kick. He continued to intercept mark and rebound, but also showed a calm temperament to not just run and gun with his clearances and try to find a target to slow the frenetic play down. He also showed good strength late in the game to stand up in a tackle and get a handball away.
He could play in the midfield for the Tigers but did not because it would probably leave them undersized down back. He played a bit like Dylan Grimes with his intercept play and stringent defence, holding his opponent to just one shot on goal for the game. A good game all round for Gadomski.
LAUNCESTON vs. CLARENCE
By: Fraser Stewart
On a slippery Windsor Park and in a relatively low scoring affair which saw one goal in the first term by Launceston, it was very much a battle of attrition, as there were plenty of stoppages, with not much free-flowing play happening. For much of the first half, Launceston put the pressure on Clarence’s defence, however, even with impressive performances by Blues ruckman Tim Auckland and Jared Dakin were not enough as they sprayed their chances in front of goal going down 1.10(16) to 2.5 (17). While Clarence were under the pump, Baker Smith showed what he could do and linked up with Sam Banks in the middle. Clarence, when going forward, looked dangerous when they used the wings and got their first goal in the third quarter. Two minutes before the full-time siren sounded Luke Swinton led for the ball and converted the set shot to give Clarence the win and the upset of the season so far.
#20 Jared Dakin
Was quiet for the first half and most of the second, but still found plenty of the ball and made good decisions. While it may not have been his best game and maybe it was due to the conditions, he still played well having not impacted the scoreboard as his position awareness was one of his biggest strengths which meant it allowed him to get the ball out of congestion and start a link up play. His second efforts when losing the ball is also to take note of. As soon as he lost possession, he quickly put the pressure on, often causing a turnover or a stoppage.
#23 Sam Banks
Just like last week Banks began as an outside midfielder, and came to life late in the first quarter grabbing a few possessions out of the contest. While this game he may not have provided anything special for the highlights reel, he showed good vision when he had the ball linking up to multiple scoring chances. He was also calm when he got the ball and took a few seconds to kick it into space when he took a mark. He had a stint down back early in the game to help switch the play linking to an attacking play. He has a good eye for a mark, goes to the contest quickly and even gets the ground ball out in a fast manner. Like his counterpart it was his work off the ball that really mattered in their one-point win.
#46 Baker Smith
It was a busy day for him, as he did not have much breathing room as Launceston kept on putting the pressure on Clarence’s defence for most of the day. He showed good glimpses of what he can do which may come into effect in next years draft period, as he had a few good intercept marks stopping various Launceston attacks. Despite having a relatively quiet game after quarter time as he did not get much of the ball, it was his defensive smarts that was his best attribute. His skills on one-on-one defending were good as he threw a few spoils in multiple contests, and just playing and moving the ball into space was another important skill he showed.