North to host the big dance

Written by Matt Hill

North Launceston are into their fourth Grand Final in a row after the northern outfit completely dismantled Lauderdale to the tune of 95 points at UTAS Stadium.

Lauderdale were just one of two teams to defeat North Launceston in 2017 but they fell well short in the Semi-Final with a full strength Northern Bombers proving far too good. Skipper Taylor Whitford and coach Tom Couch lead the way with a five goal to none first term setting up a landslide victory.

They did it without Alex Lee who was a late withdrawal but no Lee, no worries as it had minimal effect with Lewis Hollmer toiling away well.  North dominated the first term with a superior set up all over the ground and slicker and smarter ball movement. Tarryn Thomas, Lewis Hollmer, Bart McCulloch, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Taylor Whitford all booted first quarter goals which laid the foundations for a monster win. Bart McCulloch asserted himself early and was a dangerous threat up forward for North but also played a vital part in the ruck. After a frustrating injury affected season, Whitford found his groove, winning plenty of the ball in the first stanza and kicking a great crumbing goal which was his first of four majors on the day.

Lauderdale found some life in the second term and found themselves with numerous scoring opportunities but the southerners did not make them count. Lauderdale had nine scoring shots to North Launceston’s eight but inefficient goal kicking saw North extend their lead to 41 at the main break. Whitford added two more goals to his tally in the second with one of them a fantastic snap from the pocket. Ryan Wiggins and Robbie McManus booted Lauderdale’s goals and Wiggins was leading dangerously which were positive signs for the southern bombers.

In the premiership quarter, North put their foot down to put the game out of Lauderdale’s reach. North’s set up behind the ball and their willingness to work for each other was impressive. Storming away to a 62-point lead at the last change. Jay Lockhart took a screamer in the quarter as he showed no effects of a knee injury that has shattered his season. Whitford and Couch both added incredible goals which started the celebrations early for North Launceston. McCulloch, Jake Pearce and Tom Bennett also added goals for North as they sewed up a home Grand Final and showed just how difficult it will be to beat them in the Grand Final in two weeks’ time.

North smelled blood and kicked away to make it a huge victory, holding Lauderdale scoreless as they has 12 scoring shots in the final term. McCulloch kicked his third, Cox-Goodyer slotted his second, Hollmer kicked his third and coach Tom Couch kicked a long bomb from downtown to rub salt into the wounds of Lauderdale. In a major talking point, Toutai Havea was placed on report for a high hit on Tyran Mansell which could potentially rule the key Lauderdale player out for their Preliminary Final with Launceston next Saturday.

Lauderdale Coach Darren Winter was bitterly disappointed with the loss.

“We certainly didn’t come up here to dish that out.

“North Launceston ran over us pretty much from the start to the end and we were pretty reactive to what they were doing.

“We will go back to the drawing board, we have had a really good season and we will use the double chance which the players have earned so we will pick ourselves up.”

North Launceston coach Tom Couch was delighted to book the club’s fourth consecutive Grand Final berth.

“It was pleasing, we focused on a few things this week and I thought they did really well, they executed that. Now we have a fortnight to get ready but we still have to improve. It is pleasing but we still have to get better.”

“There was a lot of even contributors, Lewi Hollmer was great with his first game in the ruck taking charge with Al (Alex Lee) out.

North dominated from start to finish and rightfully ran out 95-point winners earning them another rest and the right to host the final in two weeks’ time at York Park. Lauderdale will need to lick their wounds quickly and get ready for a Launceston team full of confidence.

Posted by North Launceston Football Club (Official) on Saturday, 9 September 2017

Things I learnt

  1. It will take something special to defeat North Launceston

From what the North boys dished up and from the fire and desire in each of their player’s eyes, it is clearly evident that Tom Couch has got his side in a fantastic physical and mental position where they are not taking anything for granted. They aren’t getting ahead of themselves and with how well they set up around the ground and with players like Cox-Goodyer, Whitford, Couch, Lockhart and Foon, North have stars all over the ground that are all playing outstanding football.

  1. Launceston v Lauderdale will be a tight game

With Launceston killing off the giants in Clarence and Glenorchy in recent weeks, they will be keen to continue their march to the grand final with a win against Lauderdale next week. But Lauderdale will be keen to redeem themselves for their efforts against North and earn another chance to topple the northern bombers in the grand final.

  1. North have great depth

North may have outstanding A-graders but their whole side gels well together and all know how to play their own individual roles. Each player in North’s side are fundamental to their success and how they set up. Players like Richter-Salter, Baker, both Mansells and Pearce may not be in their teams best five players but are sensational at playing their role for the side and are fantastic young players.

Round 2 – 09/09/2017

North Launceston                        5.5,  9.9,  14.13,  18.21  (129)

Lauderdale                              0.3,  2.10,  4.11,  4.11  (35)

GOALS, North Launceston :
T. Whitford 4, B. McCulloch 3, L. Hollmer 3, T. Couch 2, B. Cox-Goodyer 2, T. Mansell 1,
J. Pearce 1, T. Thomas 1, T. Bennett 1

Lauderdale :
R. Wiggins 2, E. Stanley 1, R. McManus 1

BEST, North Launceston :
T. Whitford, L. Hollmer, J. Pearce, A. Richter-Salter, B. McCulloch, K. Wadley

Lauderdale :
T. Havea, N. Franklin, J. McGuinness, M. Anderton, E. Whish-Wilson