Tag: ryan whitney

TSL Grand Final preview: Launceston vs. North Launceston

IT is a double-Launceston derby in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) with both Launceston and North Launceston facing off at UTAS Stadium in the seniors and Development League Grand Finals. The senior decider kicks off at 2.30pm following the Development and Women’s Grand Finals earlier in the day.

The reigning premiers North Launceston have a number of young prospects to watch out for across both grades, with Ollie Sanders in great form for the red and black. He has that touch of class and a beautiful left foot which can set up his more experienced teammates inside 50. While he missed out on getting a Draft Combine invite this year, he looms as one who will only get better over the next few years and could benefit as an over-ager next season.

Another North Launceston prospect named in the starting 22 is Baynen Lowe. The Devonport youngster with the fiery red hair is a tackling machine and one not to be messed with when the ball is in his zone. Possessing some nice speed and an ability to corral opponents, the bottom-ager still has another year to go before he is draft eligible. There is not much of the 174cm, 70kg small forward, but he certainly packs a punch.

For Launceston, the only player in the game with an AFL Draft Combine invite is Jared Dakin who has been a Mr Fix It all season. He can play on-ball, up forward or even in defence, where he has been named at half-back. Dakin has been tasked with a number of run-with roles this season and he has nullified key opponents. Interestingly enough, the last time these teams played, Dakin was sent to creative defender Jay Foon and did a good job early before being loosened and seeing Foon get off the chain.

Another top-age talent who has caught the eye as a potential late developer is Isaac Chugg. An elite athlete, he has enjoyed a role change from the wing to half-back where he has been able to show off his run and carry down the ground. Still building a more consistent game, he is one who will only get better with more experience.

One player who has been named as an emergency that is the biggest AFL Draft prospect in the game is Jackson Callow. Seemingly ruled out of contention weeks ago after badly hurting his ankles in an awkward landing, he has been named as an emergency the last couple of weeks. Whilst unlikely to be risked, it does allow the talented key position player to front up for the Development side if he is fit enough to play.

From a more senior perspective, both sides have a number of players in the TSL Team of the Year. North Launceston leads all-comers with a massive six players earning the honour. Ruck Alex Lee and full-back Corey Nankervis have key positions, whilst the left side of the field is all red and black thanks to playing coach Taylor Whitford, dynamic midfielder-forward Brad Cox-Goodyer, and the exciting Foon all named there. On the other wing, Josh Ponting‘s terrific season was rewarded with a starting spot.

For Launceston, competition leading goalkicker Dylan Riley made the forward pocket, with other dangerous forward, Jake Hinds inside 50. Up the other end is Jacob Boyd in a back pocket, whilst Jay Blackberry was named on the interchange. In a prestigious moment for the Blues, they also have the coach and captain of the team, with playing-coach Mitch Thorp leading the side, and Jobi Harper in the centre and named as hypothetical captain. It shows just how much talent is on display in the senior game.

Looking over the Development squads, North Launceston could have a few players to consider over the next couple of years. Top-ager Angus Jefferies impressed at school football this year and is a natural ball-winner. He only stands at a light 177cm and 70kg, but has elite endurance and will run all day. Bottom-age Bombers teammate Ryan Whitney is still building areas of his game, but he has some nice athletic traits to-boot.

Launceston also has a host of would-be Tasmanian Devils players who tested in the preseason for the squad coming into 2020 NAB League Boys season. Three top-agers – Kye Chilcott, Alex Davies and Jayden Hinds – have all been named in the side, whilst the likes of Zach Morris, Sam Foley and Denzel McLean are bottom-agers who will run out for the Blues. They are names to keep an eye on for next year, with Foley impressing in defence for St Patrick’s this year, whilst Morris is a classy forward who always looks lively.

North Launceston head in as favourites in the senior game, whilst Launceston has the depth at the Development level to be the nominal favourites there in what should be a couple of ripping contests.

Picture: Andrew Woodgate

Red-hot start by Rams helps them to Division 2 title

NEW South Wales/Australian Capital Territory (NSW/ACT) Rams have claimed the Under-16 National Championships Division 2 title with a convincing 41-point win at Aspley today. The Rams booted the first nine goals of the game despite Tasmania dominating possession and forward 50 entries, taking the Devils an hour to slot their first major. Once they did they found their rhythm, booting three consecutive goals to cut the deficit to 32 early in the final term, but it was a case of too little, too late as the Rams booted two of the final three goals to win 11.9 (75) to 4.10 (34).

The first term was a dominant showing from the home side with NSW/ACT peppering the goals early, before finding their range with accurate shots from a mixture of set shots and forward 50 stoppages. Matthew McKenzie was busy in the front half setting up scoring opportunities when he found Kai Watts 40m out straight in front for the Rams’ first of the day. He almost made it two five minutes later but just missed, and it was Tasmania’s turn to then take control of possession for a few minutes. Locked in the Devils’ forward half for a few minutes, they could only muster the two behinds before it resided in the Rams’ half for the rest of the quarter.

An end-to-end play saw Euriah Hollard kick a miraculous goal from the pocket, which was then followed by majors to Jordan Endemann from a set shot, and Sam Stening and Austin Ball from quick kicks close to goal from stoppages. McKenzie almost had a major himself, but the ball was touched off the boot before it bounced through the big sticks. Josh Fahey had a strong first term for the Rams, while for Tasmania, Noah Holmes was busy up forward while Baynen Lowe and Darcy Gardiner tried their best through the midfield. It was a dominant first term by the Rams with the wind however, heading into the first break with a 32-point advantage.

The second quarter consisted of Tasmania dominating possession, but NSW/ACT dominated the scoreboard. The Rams had single digit inside 50s but still booted 3.1 to Tasmania’s sole behind, as the Devils overused the football inside 50 with more handballs to try and set up the play. It enabled the Rams to set up in defence and get numbers back, then run it out of the back half, even though Tasmania had repeat entries. Will Splann and Zac Morris both had chances but one hit the behind post and the other missed to the left.

On the other hand, the half chances for the Rams were converted with Stenning and Ethan Grace both kicking their second goals – the latter from another forward stoppage. The next 10 minutes was again controlled by Tasmania but they just could not seem to buy a goal as the Rams defence held up. Running up the other end, McKenzie ran onto a loose ball in the goalsquare and put it through for the third of the term. Holmes took a strong mark out in front on the 50m and found Sam Banks in space, but the kick was to the top of the goalsquare and once again cleared by the opposition defence. Stenning almost added more pain to the Devils with a set shot after the siren, but his shot sprayed and went out on the full for the half-time margin to sit at an even 50 points.

The third term was much the same, with Tasmania dominating possession in the forward half with repeat forward 50 entries, but only a snap from George McLeod 16 minutes in – an hour since the first bounce – finally split the big sticks. The cheers from the Tasmanian faithful went up as they finally got some reward for effort, with their endeavour great all game, but their finishing wayward. They finished the quarter with 1.5 as several set shots went wide as Sam Sherriff, McLeod and Holmes all missed, while Ryan Whitney also just missed his snap close to goal. The Rams side had only a handful of inside 50s but again managed to create a goal earlier in the term with Hollard marking inside 50 thanks to good body work one-on-one and converting the set shot from 25m out. It was a much better quarter from Tasmania, but once again showing that had the Devils been accurate, they could have well and truly being in the contest, instead facing a 44-point deficit at the final break.

The final quarter gave Tasmania the slightest of sniffs with the crowd thinking “surely not?” as Jordy McIvor answered the call with a snap from the pocket in the opening two minutes to goal from the set shot. Fahey asked him if he had a left foot as he kicked it, only to answer his own question seconds later with “I guess he does”. McLeod quickly added his second a minute later and the margin was 32 with 19 minutes remaining. The Rams steadied after that however as Stening and Will Edwards added majors to their team’s total, before Holmes finally put one through the middle after a few misses as a late consolation goal for the Devils.

Fahey was his side’s best with 24 touches, four marks, three tackles, six inside 50s and 10 rebounds, while McKenzie was also impressive in the forward half, notching up 23 disposals, six marks, nine inside 50s, four clearances and a goal. Stenning had 14 disposals and six marks to go with his three majors, while Jeremy Woodford was also prominent with 17 touches, five clearances, four tackles and three inside 50s. For Tasmania, Lowe had 27 disposals, five marks, seven clearances, four inside 50s and seven tackles, while Banks (25 disposals, 10 marks, four inside 50s and five rebounds) and McLeod (23 disposals, 11 marks, seven inside 50s, three rebounds and two goals were the prominent ball winners for Tasmania.


NSW/ACT 5.4 | 8.5 | 9.5 | 11.9 (75)
TASMANIA 0.2 | 0.3 | 1.8 | 4.10 (34)


NSW/ACT: S. Stening 3, E. Hollard 2, Endemann, K. Watts, A. Ball, E. Grace, M. McKenzie, W. Edwards.
TD: G. McLeod 2, J. McIvor, N. Holmes.


NSW/ACT: J. Fahey, M. McKenzie, J. Woodford, S. Stening, E. Hollard.
TD:  B. Lowe, S. Banks, G. McLeod, W. Splann, N. Holmes, J. Dixon.