Written by Anthony Osborn


North Launceston continued their unbeaten start to 2017 with a hard-fought 18-point victory over an undermanned Glenorchy, handing the Magpies their second straight loss at KGV.

Faced with the late omissions of Zac Webster (back) and Matthew Dilger (virus), an undermanned Glenorchy kept in touch all day in a tough, physical rematch of last season’s grand final, but were unable to run over the top of a tough Bombers outfit, with North Launceston running out to a 13.13 (91) to 11.7 (73) victory.

The Bombers jumped out of the blocks early, kicking the first three goals while keeping the reigning premiers scoreless for the first 24 minutes. Some missed opportunities and two late Glenorchy goals, however, restricted the visitors’ lead to 17 points at the first break.

Glenorchy were in control of general play in a low-scoring start to the second term, but a flurry of late quarter goals from North Launceston, including a clutch Tarryn Thomas set shot, provided the Bombers with a 23-point lead at the main break.

North Launcetson exploded in the first two minutes of the second half, with goals to Bart McCulloch and Tom Bennett extending the lead to 35 points, but the third term went in favour of Glenorchy as they kicked five of the next six goals to trail by just 11 points at three-quarter time.

The final stanza was a genuine arm wrestle as the rain rolled in, and after early Bomber goals through McCulloch and Zac Burt, Glenorchy faced a race against the clock to steal an unlikely victory.

Two late goals from Jaye Bowden gave the Magpies a sniff, but Jack Avent kicked a terrific running goal in the final minutes to secure North Launceston their sixth win from six attempts in season 2017.

Glenorchy coach Aaron Cornelius found plenty of positives in the loss, especially after a disappointing showing against Clarence last week.

“I’m the happiest you can be after a loss. I was really impressed by how the boys played today- we took the game on. This was the best we have played across four quarters all year.”

North Launceston dominated the clearances throughout the match, with the performance of ruckman Alex Lee a standout to his teammate and coach, Tom Couch, who believes Lee should be the ruckman of the State side, which faces the NEAFL representative side in June.

Couch was instrumental in his side’s victory himself, providing plenty of drive and class through the middle of the ground.

Bart McCulloch kicked five majors in a dominant display and was wonderfully assisted by the lively Jack Avent, who kicked three, including the sealer, while wingman Jay Lockhart and defenders Connor Young and Jake Pearce also impressed.

Tom Morgan and James Farrow, who played a half in the Mercury Cup match earlier in the day, were mightily impressive in their Glenorchy debuts, while James Webb, Connor Salter and Josh Arnold in his 150th match had good games.

Harrison Pearce kicked three goals and Harrison Gunther provided plenty of contests in impressive returns to the side.

Couch was pleased with the Bombers’ four-quarter performance, but stopped short of declaring his side as the team to beat.

“(Glenorchy) are the best side we have played so far this year- we learned more today than across our first five games. We will probably have to wait until we have played everyone. By late June we should have a better feel for where we are.”

Cornelius was bullish about where his side is going, especially with the likes of Sam Hall, Matthew Joseph, Tyler Bowden, Tim Butterworth, and the two late omissions from the match, Zac Webster and Matthew Dilger, all sitting on the sidelines.

“We know where we are at. We took it up to the best side in the state and we look forward to playing them again.”

Glenorchy will be desperate to get back on the winners list against the southern Bombers of Lauderdale next Saturday at home, while North Launceston will play host to the Tigers.


Round 7 – 13/05/2017

North Launceston                        4.5,  7.9,  10.10,  13.13  (91)

Glenorchy                               2.0,  4.5,  9.5,  11.7  (73)

GOALS, North Launceston :
B. McCulloch 5, J. Avent 3, Z. Burt 2, T. Thomas 1, M. Walsh 1, T. Bennett 1

Glenorchy :
H. Pearce 3, J. Bowden 2, L. Smith 2, J. Webb 1, R. Mott 1, J. Arnold 1,
H. Gunther 1

BEST, North Launceston :
T. Couch, J. Avent, B. McCulloch, A. Lee, J. Pearce, J. Ponting

Glenorchy :
T. Morgan, C. Salter, B. Webb, H. Gunther, H. Pearce, J. Arnold