Bombers blitz shores up top spot

Written by Andrew Johnston

North Launceston have all but locked down the minor premiership and have rung out the alarm bells to the competition with a stunning 69 point thumping of Clarence at University of Tasmania Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

A commanding victory that justifiably positions Tom Couch’s men as Premiership favourites with their Captain and Vice-Captain still waiting in the wings.

The Bombers never looked troubled, kicking an astonishing 21 goals, including 10 goals without a blemish after half time to solidify their home final chances.

Tyran Mansell came out of the North lineup late but the ladder leaders were unshaken, starting with five goals in the opening quarter. The ever reliable Josh Ponting was solid in the opening quarter, gathering nine disposals and live wire Tarryn Thomas booted two goals and handed off a third in a dominant quarter from the hosts.

Jackson O’Brien and Zac Buechner started strongly for the visitors, keeping the ‘Roos in the fight.

The second quarter saw the Bombers pull away from their old rivals, booting six unanswered goals. Tom Bennett and Bart McCulloch both kicked their third goals in the quarter, while the in-form Ponting moved to 17 disposals. It was a dirty quarter for the Kangaroos, who managed just 6 behinds, and ended the quarter with stars Trent Standen and Jake Cox on report after a number of spot fires broke out.

Clarence were marginally better after the break, kicking three goals through Harper, Roberts and Buechner, with the Mariners youngster a major shining light in a bleak day for the Roos. Despite an improved showing from Clarence the quarter again belonged to North, who kicked six goals without a single blemish to take an unassailable 70 point lead into the final change.

The Roos again lifted in the final quarter but the game was well beyond them, kicking four goals in a number of string bursts of play. The day belonged to the Bombers, who added another four goals to run away with the huge win that rings out a stern warning to the rest of the competition on the eve of finals. Tom Bennett and Bart McCulloch both ended with four goals, while Josh Ponting gathered over 30 disposals as the standout midfielder of the day.

Clarence coach Jeremy Webberley spoke of his disappointment in his team’s performance.

“I thought we came up in training, throughout the week was quite good so to come up and deliver that sort of effort is unacceptable.

“Really disappointed, fuming actually to tell you the honest truth.

“We think we’ve been flat the last six weeks, and we thought it was just going through the colder months, but, today just wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t good enough.”

Injured North Captain Taylor Whitford spoke highly of his team but said they were focused on finishing off the season strong.

“We want to keep improving, so today’s a step forward in our improvement on last week. But we’ve got a bye now, and Burnie after that, so we want to improve in that game.”

Both teams enter the bye in round 19, with North taking on Burnie afterwards, whilst Clarence enters a battle of the eastern shore against Lauderdale.

NORTH LAUNCESTON v. CLARENCE
Round 18 – 05/08/2017

North Launceston                        5.5,  11.7,  17.7,  21.7  (133)

Clarence                                2.2,  2.8,  5.9,  9.10  (64)

GOALS, North Launceston :
T. Bennett 5, B. McCulloch 4, T. Thomas 2, T. Couch 2, M. Walsh 2, K. Baker 1,
Z. Burt 1, B. Cox-Goodyer 1, M. Donnelly 1, L. Hollmer 1, K. Curtis 1

Clarence :
T. Standen 3, Z. Buechner 2, J. Roberts 2, I. Callinan 1, J. Harper 1

BEST, North Launceston :
A. Lee, T. Bennett, J. Ponting, J. Pearce, J. Avent, F. Bennett

Clarence :
Z. Buechner, M. Ling, J. O’Brien, N. Douglas, G. Chambers, W. Wall