TSL scouting notes and wrap: Round 9 – Top two make statement

TASMANIAN State League (TSL) heavyweights, Launceston and North Launceston have enjoyed huge wins in Round 9 of the competition, having more than 30 scoring shots to all but lock up the top two spots with four rounds remaining. Clarence had a crucial 20-point win over Lauderdale in the other game to draw level in equal third, whilst the Demons and Tigers – who had the bye on the weekend – require more than just their own results in order to make finals.

In the Clarence-Lauderdale clash, the Roos’ fast start of three goals to one in the first term got them on the right path, and then led by the same 18-point margin at half-time. By the final break, Clarence was out to a 34-point lead, and whilst the Bombers kicked a few late goals to in the final term, still went down 11.14 (80) to 9.6 (60).

Josh Green snagged three goals in the win showing his AFL experience, while James Holmes (two goals from 10 touches and six marks) and Darcy Gardner (19 disposals, two goals) were also prolific. Gardner, Sam Banks, Oliver Davis and Noah Holmes all feature in our Clarence scouting notes. For the Bombers, Josh McGuinness notched up a match-high 30 disposals, as well as five clearances and nine inside 50s, while Sam Siggins had 29 touches and five clearances.

The reigning premiers put the young Demons to the sword in a 56-point victory down south, winning 11.20 (86) to 4.6 (30). It was a one-sided contest for the most part, with North Launceston’s inaccuracy the only thing keeping a Demons side missing the in-form Patrick Walker (calf, season) in the match. A five goals to one second half put an exclamation mark on the performance, with young talent Ollie Sanders named his side’s best, notching up 15 disposals at 80 per cent efficiency, and booting two goals.

Daniel Withers was also impressive with a couple of goals from 14 touches, as Sanders and Jackson Callow (seven disposals, three marks) feature in our scouting notes. For the Demons, Sam Collins had a breakout performance with 25 disposals, five marks and 11 rebounds, often opposed to Callow and doing well in the one-on-ones, as he was one young gun who stood out, while Hugh Williams (17 disposals, eight marks and six rebounds) was nominated as the Demons’ best.

In the final game of the round, Launceston remained on top of the table with a 97-point shellacking of Glenorchy. Jake Harper had one of the matches of the season, bringing his own ball to Windsor Park to rack up 38 disposals, 13 marks, 10 clearances, 12 inside 50s and 3.3 in a far and away best on ground performance for the Blues. Dylan Riley kicked 3.3 from 16 disposals and 10 marks, while Jared Dakin features in our scouting notes alongside Isaac Chugg and Isaac Hyatt. For the Magpies, it was a disappointing results, but Daniel Joseph (23 disposals, three inside 50s, four rebounds) and Josh Arnold (31 disposals, four marks and nine rebounds) tried hard all day.

TSL ROUND 9 RESULTS:

Clarence 11.14 (80) defeated Lauderdale 9.6 (60)
North Hobart 4.6 (30) defeated by North Launceston 11.20 (86)
Launceston 17.16 (118) defeated Glenorchy 3.3 (21)

SCOUTING NOTES:

Sam Banks (Clarence)

Tasmania’s top prospect for 2021 had one of his better games for the year, racking up some big numbers across the ground and working into the game more and more as it went on. He continually showed clean hands and has the nice balance of skill and athleticism that sees him hard to match up on. A couple of times he can get knocked off the ball a little easy – as he is quite light – but if he is in a foot race, expect him to win more often than not. His closing speed – such as in the second term on the wing – saw him spoil a ball, keep it in and then move forward with a nice handball, then second effort after not receiving the one-two, to present again, receive and kick long was admirable. In the final term, Banks pick-pocketed an opponent and settled the team down with a couple of handballs, and almost kicked a goal with a highlight-reel sidestep and long-range shot from 50m, but it was unfortunately marked on the line. He finished with 21 disposals – at 71 per cent efficiency – seven inside 50s and four rebounds.

Jackson Callow (North Launceston)

After a best on ground performance in defence last week, Callow found himself back in his usual forward 50 spot, as the Bombers tried to isolate him deep at times on the smaller-framed Collins. Callow did what you would expect of him, leading hard, clunking grabs and laying some fierce tackles. He had a few spoiled marks due to the high calibre of his opposition, but kicked his sole goal for the day when one-on-one in the square he literally tossed Collins aside and dove for a mark. His shot for the goalsquare went straight through the middle, and came after a couple of misses which is uncharacteristic for the usually reliable set shot talent. His great pickup five minutes into the game at ground level to give off a goal to Jay Foon was superb, but unfortunately his match ended a couple of minutes later when he landed awkwardly and had to be helped off.

Isaac Chugg (Launceston)

Having returned to the side in the last few weeks, Chugg is an interesting prospect. Boasting some elite athletic traits, he had some inconsistent performances playing as a winger, but has slotted into half-back like a dream. He is not a huge ball winner – in fact he only had nine touches on the weekend – but the majority were intercept or metres-gained possessions. In other words, you notice him nearly every time he gets it. He reads the play well in flight, has great closing speed and equally well-balanced offensive and defensive traits. On a number of occasions he would lay some strong tackles, or provide pressure to force a turnover, and he has lightning quick hands to keep the ball moving. One of his highlights was an intercept mark on the defensive side of the wing going back with the flight, showing his courage. He might have only had the nine touches, two marks, three tackles and two rebounds, but went at 88 per cent disposal efficiency which comes as no surprise.

Sam Collins (North Hobart)

Earned top billing as the best Tasmanian draft prospect this week and stepped up in the absence of fellow talented teenager, Patrick Walker. He was stationed in his usual defensive post, and often against another Devil in Callow, who he played well one-on-one. Knowing he would not win in a wrestle, Collins would often concede Callow front position on the lead and then use his closing speed and vertical leap to cleanly spoil. While Callow’s vice like grip can be difficult to spoil, Collins just had to make perfectly timed spoils, which he did. He racked up the ball with ease and played probably his best game of the year with greater composure than usual and less errors by foot. A number of times he was able to spoil Callow and then win the ground ball to clear out of defence. In the one time he was caught in a wrestle, he was thrown out of the contest given the size he gave up, but overall took the points, finishing with 25 disposals – at 72 per cent efficiency – as well as five marks and 11 rebounds.

Jared Dakin (Launceston)

Another prominent game by the over-age midfielder who plays a consistent brand of footy week-in, week-out. Buzzing around the ground, Dakin was able to use his quick hands out of the stoppage to keep the ball moving and he finds space with ease. He possesses a long kick when required, but is more effective by foot over short distances. What he did well in Launceston’s massive win, was setting up a couple of goals in the final term to Harper and Jake Hinds, and picking the right options going forward. He had a quick snap just six minutes into the game but missed to the right, and even though he went goalless for the game, the inside midfielder never stopped trying and brought teammates into the match brilliantly to finish with 18 touches.

Oliver Davis (Clarence)

If we are talking about consistency week-in, week-out, it is hard to look past the brutal consistency and matchplay that the Devils’ top-age bull Davis plays at for Clarence every weekend. He has no trouble finding the ball around the ground, gets to the right spots and attacks it hard. He reads the ruck taps exceptionally well and has quick hands to fire out to teammates on the outside. Occasionally he might get done for holding the ball because he has dived head first to win it at round level, but then on other occasions – such as late in the second term – charges through a pack and delivers lace out to Noah Holmes on the lead. In fact, Holmes was a recipient of a number of Davis’ passes and some of his game play reminded me of Luke Ball with his hardness at the contest and his ability to read the game faster than others and deliver with neat, short passes. His tackling pressure is not to be questioned either, with just his rushed kicks out of a stoppage or when under pressure the area he continues to develop. As a whole, his 17 disposals, six clearances and three inside 50s comes as no surprise and he had another impressive game for the red and whites.

Darcy Gardner (Clarence)

Not turning 17 until November, Gardner had a real breakout performance against Lauderdale and was named his side’s best in the win. What stands out about Gardner is his ability to have a crack throughout four quarters, bring teammates into the game, but then also make the most of his chances. Both his goals – one in the second term and one in the third term – came from long set shots which he had to go back and nail with composure. His goalkicking routine was great, and on a couple of occasions, he backed himself in and ran down the middle. In some ways, Gardner has a similar attack on the ball to Davis, and is able to shrug off opponents despite standing at just 175cm. He spent most of his time forward in the second half, but his first half was a crucial reason why Clarence got off to a flyer, and picked up most of his 19 disposals, three clearances, three tackles and six inside 50s in that time.

Noah Holmes (Clarence)

A contested marking beast who shows similar signs to that of Callow, Holmes is a little shorter at around 192cm, but hard to move with a big frame and elite hands. He took a whopping six contested marks – not a typo – from seven total, from just nine touches. That in itself shows what he offers to a side, as a leading target on the end of a neat pass going inside 50. He works hard up the ground at times, but it is his ability to cleanly grab marks – including three consecutive contested marks within six minutes in the final term – that makes him such a damaging prospect. He only kicked the 1.3, so could have capitalised a lot more, with the three he missed easier chances than the one he got. Two of his behinds came in the first half from regulation set shots, and another from a tight angle in the last term, but it was his third quarter goal 13 minutes in that had the crowd up and about. In front of his fan club, Holmes snapped a goal from an impossible angle that sailed home under pressure which showed what he is capable of at ground level.

Isaac Hyatt (Launceston)

Making his debut for the Blues, the 16-year-old showed some serious talent and considering the strength of the Launceston line-up, you have to have a fair bit of that to make the side. He showed some clean hands early in the match and worked into the game, playing in the forward half and at times was a little too unselfish, passing off to teammates. He worked well with Chugg at half-forward for a quick one-two and kick to a leading forward, then had a huge final term. Taking multiple shots at goal, he kept getting on the wrong side for his left boot, missing a couple of set shots from the pocket with his Under 18s teammates trying to will him on from the boundary. He had a legitimate chance for goal 15 minutes in on the run but dribbled it towards Dakin who gave it to Hinds to finish off. On the 18th minute mark, and after several deliberate tries from his teammates to get him a goal, Hyatt marked on the correct side for his left boot, and a much better angle. Coming in from 40m, Hyatt drilled the goal and they ran from everywhere to celebrate, especially given the result was well beyond doubt.

Jye Menzie (North Hobart)

Menzie’s form mirrors that of North Hobart’s, having started the season really strongly, but due to lack of supply in recent weeks and the return of big man, Julian Dobosz, Menzie has not been as prominent on the scoresheet. He tries hard all game, but lacked his usual flair with just the nine touches, one mark and a couple of inside 50s. His best work comes off the deck, showing a clean pair of hands, but had a couple of highlights including an intercept mark midway through the first term to set up a rare Demons goal to Williams, and then charging down the middle with a deep kick to a dangerous area in the fourth term.

Ollie Sanders (North Launceston)

A lively player who works within his abilities, Sanders was one of the Bombers better players on the day using his slick skills and high impact per possession up forward. Sanders does not need a lot of the ball to have an impact, but he still amassed 15 disposals, three marks, two inside 50s and kicked a couple of goals. In the 10th minute of the first term, Sanders nailed a set shot from a great mark inside 50 and never looked like missing. In the second quarter, the top-age talent finished off perfectly in play with a nice left foot goal 15 minutes into the term. He pushed up the ground and even found touches in defence, covering the ground well with a high work rate.

Callum Thompson (Glenorchy)

It was not a great day for the Magpies who lost four key players prior to the bounce, but the bottom-ager remains an eye-catching prospect over the next couple of years. He set up a goal to Ethan Conway early in the match with a quick kick off the left, and then hit up Tom Cleary whose set shot unfortunately missed early in the second term. His long driving boot inside 50 was a feature of the match, and he has the game smarts to tap the ball forward in the path of a teammate instead of taking possession. In his bright boots, Thompson showed a real hardness at the contest, with clean hands at ground level and and ability to win the ball between the arcs.

Picture: Andrew Woodgate

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