Demons finals ambitions dashed

Written by Alex FitzGerald, Damian Gill

Hobart City Demons final hopes were powerfully dashed by an awesome Lauderdale who piled on 13 goals after the main break to belt Hobart City Demons by 82 points at Lauderdale Oval.

The Demons now are merely a mathematical chance of finals with Launceston’s victory over Devonport and their large loss to Lauderdale all-but drawing curtains on an up and down season that teased of greater glory.

With their season on the line, the Demons were bitterly disappointing, falling to a free scoring Bombers who made it seven straight wins in emphatic fashion. Ahead by just 24 points at half time, the Bombers kicked five goals in the third quarter, then slammed on half a dozen majors inside the first 12 minutes of the final term to run out 17.13 (115) to 4.9 (33) winners.

Kicking into the wind in the first quarter didn’t seem to concern Lauderdale, who registered the opening two goals in quick succession through a Toutai Havea set shot and a converted 50m penalty from Scott Hill.  The breeze dropped out halfway through the term, but Hobart City Demons’ stubborn defence ensured no further majors were conceded.  Josh Williamson slotted a long goal for the visitors as the siren sounded, and they went into quarter time trailing 1.2 (8) to the Bombers’ 2.6 (18).

The second term was a game of patience, as both sides struggled to have an impact moving the ball forward.  Second gamer Will Peppin provided a rare highlight when he flew high above the pack in the Hobart City Demons’ attacking goal square to almost take mark of the year, but that was as close as the visitors got up forward for the quarter.  Lauderdale goals to Alex Hill and Phil Bellchambers broke the deadlock, with the hosts holding a 4.9 (33) to 1.3 (9) lead at the main break.

The third stanza saw Lauderdale hit their straps, with Cam Hooker and Alex Hill both taking strong contested marks and converting the subsequent shots on goal.  The Bombers’ midfield brigade showed why they’re so highly regarded, highlighted by the performance of Dylan Fyfe, who pushed forward to kick two classy left foot goals on the run.  The Hobart City Demons kicked a late consolation goal through Williamson again, but the hosts were well and truly in control, striding into the final huddle with a 9.10 (64) to 2.8 (20) advantage.

The final quarter showcased just how damaging Lauderdale have been in season 2017, with the Bombers relentlessly slamming on six goals inside the first 12 minutes.  Hooker, captain Bryce Walsh and defender Josh McGuinness all kicked two goals apiece for the term, with McGuinness’ majors sailing through just a minute apart.  Lauderdale’s defence was near-unpassable, with the Bombers full of run.  The visitors kicked two late goals but it was all too late, with Lauderdale all smiles as they left the field convincing 82 point winners.

Lauderdale assistant coach Clint Brown lamented the overuse of his side’s possession in the first half but was full of praise for how the Bombers attacked the game with more direction after the main break.

“I think the pleasing part was that we haven’t finished teams off in the back end of the year; if you’re going to win the premiership you need to be able to do that.

“I think today we tried a lot of guys in different positions in the last quarter, so to do that and kick eight was a massive positive.”

Brown acknowledged that the Bombers’ ability to put together high scoring matches all season had been a strength, highlighting the versatility of the squad.

“We’ve got a number of guys that are able to go forward and it’s good that if we are struggling to find avenues to goal that we can call on (a number of players) from the backline.

“It’s a massive string to our bow that we can do that and accumulate scores.”

The Lauderdale midfield accumulated some huge numbers, with Bryce Walsh racking up 38 disposals, 14 of which were in the final term where he also kicked two goals.  Dylan Fyfe collected 29 touches, while inside midfielder Nat Franklin had 27 for the afternoon.  Alex Hill was the standout target up forward, booting three goals from his nine marks.

The Bomber defenders’ ability to generate run was crucial in the second half, with Ryan Wiggins a rock and Josh McGuinness taking 13 marks to go with his 29 disposals and two running goals, performance singled out by Brown.

“Our defensive coach will tell you it’s the best defensive unit in the game at the moment; we’ve been able to hold teams to low scores, but that’s going to be a big challenge next game against Clarence.”

Hobart City Demons’ coach Kane Richter was candid following the loss and impressed with Bombers’ game.

“It was a real opportunity for us and we’re disappointed.  Although we were with them early, we were grinding pretty hard.

“We’ll take learning out of the game, but to Lauderdale’s credit they were fantastic; They move the footy well, care for each other and give the footy first. They take the game on and are very offensive from the stoppages.”

Richter was positive however when reflective on his side’s 2017 campaign.

“We’ve got some young guys in the group and it’s exciting that we are thereabouts in terms of finals footy; We’ve played 36 players for the year, and as disappointed as we are, we can’t underestimate how far we’ve come.”

Hobart City Demons’ winger Kyle Wisniewski played well on dangerous Bomber Rhys Sutton, while Blake Grant provided some drive up forward, with captain Hugh Williams’ one defender who was rarely beaten.

Meanwhile, in Devonport, Launceston all-but secured themselves finals football with a 27-point victory over Devonport.

In a game that was heavily influenced by conditions, both teams managed just eight goals between them with a dominant Blues first half setting up victory.

Devonport were held scoreless in the opening half with the Blues kicking 4.3 with goals from Jake Nunn, Conor Smith and two from Rulla Kelly-Mansell (the day’s only multiple goalkicker) to see them in complete control.

The ball was in Launceston’s attacking half for the bulk of the first half and Devonport did well to limit the damage with youngster Sherrin Egger again impressive.

Toby Ennis fianlly got Devonport on the board in the third term but Brendan Taylor and Nathan O’Donoghue also split the middle to keep the Blues in the driver’s seat.

Charlie Castles rounded out the scoring with the only goal in an uneventful last term that saw Launceston scrap their way to a vital victory that should ensure September action.

Both Round 19 results all-but consolidate the top five for the finals to come in three weeks time.

Round 19 – 12/08/2017

Lauderdale                              2.6,  4.9,  9.10,  17.13  (115)

Hobart City Demons                      1.2,  1.3,  2.8,  4.9  (33)

GOALS, Lauderdale :
C. Hooker 3, A. Hill 3, J. McGuinness 2, D. Fyfe 2, B. Walsh 2, A. Hevey 1,
T. Havea 1, M. Kleverkamp 1, S. Hill 1, P. Bellchambers 1

Hobart City Demons :
J. Williamson 2, W. Peppin 1, J. Charlton 1

BEST, Lauderdale :
J. McGuinness, B. Walsh, N. Franklin, R. Wiggins, A. Hill, D. Fyfe

Hobart City Demons :
K. Wisniewski, N. Hutchinson, B. Grant, H. Williams


Round 19 – 12/08/2017

Launceston                              2.2,  4.3,  6.6,  6.8  (44)

Devonport                               0.0,  0.0,  1.3,  2.5  (17)

GOALS, Launceston :
R. Kelly-Mansell 2, C. Sheppard 1, C. Smith 1, J. Nunn 1, B. Taylor 1

Devonport :
T. Enniss 1, D. Riley 1

BEST, Launceston :
J. Aganas, J. Donnellan, B. Palfreyman, S. Vandervelde, J. Blackberry, S. Lonergan

Devonport :
S. Egger, Q. Byard, B. Symmons, B. Sharman, M. Perry, D. Riley