Written by Josh Partridge. North Launceston picked up where round one left off on Saturday, recording an emphatic 62-point win over the Tigers at UTAS Stadium to make it two from two and start 2018 on a high.
The Bombers well well led by midfield star Josh Ponting, who finished as the best player on the ground in a performance that, while classy, was perhaps not quite the polished game expected of the reigning premier.
Despite having skipper Brad Cox-Goodyer as a late withdrawal, the Bombers held the lead all afternoon to record a strong 13.14 (92) to 4.6 (30) victory over the Tigers.
North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford, who again impressed individually, was happy with the result but knows his side has room to grow.
“We had a lot of the ball and we weren’t able to use it going forward effectively enough and that’s probably due to the fact they had a lot of numbers behind the ball at stages and we overused it a little bit,” Whitford said after the win on Saturday.
North Launceston did well to get off to a blistering start, breaking out to an 8.8 (64) to 2.2 (14) lead at half time, and Whitford was pleased with how his younger players and new faces were able to step up to the task.
For a club that won the premiership last year and have already been touted favourites for 2018 after consecutive ten goal wins in the first two rounds, North’s list is incredibly young, with seven players under 20 years a part of the win against the Tigers.
Particular praise was heaped on former Devonport defender Sherrin Egger, who Whitford considered to be close to best on ground.
Egger, Connor Young, Cody Lowe, Arion Richter-Salter, Fletcher Bennett, Ben Simpson and Kasey Curtis (who unfortunately dislocated his shoulder with 30 seconds left in the game), all make up a group of young Bombers who are able to take the game on against some of the best in the competition, with Young, Richter-Salter and Simpson all members of the 2017 premiership team.
The game of Jordan Cousens, one of five recruits currently in the starting 22, also impressed Whitford.
Cousens, who played for Rocherlea in the NTFA Division 1 competition last year, returned to North Launceston for 2018 after playing at the club in 2012/13 in the Colts competition.
On Saturday Cousens, along with other recruits, Dakota Bannister (East Coast Swans) , Beau Sharman (Devonport) , Michael Tang (Port Melbourne, VFL) and Egger, were able to collect the ball frequently and use it effectively to benefit the group.
Tigers coach Trent Baumeler, although disappointed in the result, was pleased with how his leadership group of captain Samuel Rice and vice captains William Campbell and Mitchell Carter stepped up to try and restrict the margin, particularly in the second half.
Baumeler also praised the efforts of experienced defender Marcus Davies, who impressed with his physicality and ball use.
“We expect those guys to play well, lead the group and drag the rest of them along every week. The leaders have to step up in these sorts of games and that was a pleasing thing about today,” Baumeler said.
North Launceston will be looking to continue their superb start to 2018, facing a rampant Glenorchy at home in round three, while the Tigers will be resting up with a round three bye.