The 2018 Bupa Tasmanian State League season got off to a flying start last week, and this weekend’s menu of matches is likely to provide another fascinating insight into where each side sits early in the season.
Saturday 7th April
Glenorchy v. Lauderdale (KGV) – 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Lauderdale 11.16 (82) def. Glenorchy 10.9 (69) (Round 17, 2017 at Lauderdale Oval)
Round two will provide us with our first taste of a new-look Glenorchy outfit under coach Paul Kennedy.
The Magpies have been heavyweights of the competition for years now and will be itching to make amends after being knocked out of the finals by Launceston last season.
The likes of Rhys Mott, Zac Webster, Brayden Webb and Jaye Bowden will all play crucial roles for Glenorchy throughout 2018, so expect these names to feature heavily in round one.
Lauderdale welcome back leaders Josh McGuinness and Robbie McManus for the clash with Glenorchy, but will be without skipper Bryce Walsh, who broke his ankle in round one and Jordon Roberts through suspension.
Lauderdale failed to make the most of their chances in front of goal against Clarence, so expect the duel between Glenorchy’s back six and Lauderdale’s dynamic forward line, particularly the likes of Henry Kerinaiua and Kim Kantilla to be a decisive factor in the contest.
This match will also see two tough midfield groups go head to head with the likes of Webb, Mott and Bowden set to go up against Phil Bellchambers, Nat Franklin and a variety of other Bombers who can run through the middle.
Lauderdale will be itching to get a win early in 2018, particularly after a loss in round one, but with Glenorchy’s star power set to embark on a new era under Kennedy, this clash is a difficult one to predict.
North Launceston v. Tigers (UTAS Stadium) – 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: North Launceston 17.16 (118) def. Tigers 6.10 (46) (Round 17, 2017 at Twin Ovals)
North Launceston rubberstamped their status as a powerhouse outfit in round one and will be looking to do the same in round two against the up and coming Tigers.
The Tigers did well to overcome North Hobart in round one, but the reigning premiers at UTAS Stadium looms as a different sort of challenge for Trent Baumeler’s side.
Both sides like to move the ball quickly and have plenty of avenues to goal, giving every indication that this game could be a free-flowing and high scoring affair.
The likes of Will Campbell and Ryan Matthews provide the Tigers with increased midfield grunt and against the likes of Mark Walsh, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Taylor Whitford, the visitors will need all the grunt they can muster.
Keep your eyes on Tigers forward Eddie Burrows-Cheng, who fresh off kicking four in round one, is likely to be a key figure in round two.
Michael Tang is another player worth keeping a watch on, with Whitford indicating that he will play a variety of roles over the course of the season.
It is difficult to tip against North Launceston in this fixture, but the Tigers will be desperate to announce themselves as a premiership threat in what is likely to be a high-octane and high-scoring affair.
North Launceston will have even further motivation to perform with the match being Jay Foon’s 100th senior game for the club and Alex Lee’s 50th.
Launceston v. North Hobart (Windsor Park) – 2:00pm
Last Time They Met: Hobart City Demons* 8.8 (56) def. Launceston 5.17 (47) (Round 17, 2017 at Windsor Park)
Launceston and the Demons, then of Hobart City, finished equal on points in 2017, with the Blues making the finals due to a superior percentage.
A lot has changed since the end of August, however, with North Hobart experiencing a mass change in personnel, fielding far and away the youngest side in round one, while Launceston’s savvy off-season recruiting of Mitch Thorp and Dylan Riley has catapulted the Blues into premiership calculations.
Launceston suffered a heavy defeat to North Launceston in round one and will be eager to get a win on the board early in the season after an off-season full of hype and increased expectation.
The Demons cannot be discounted, however, with the pressure shown against the Tigers indicating that they have what it takes to match it with more experienced sides for parts of games. The challenge for North Hobart will be keeping this pressure up across four quarters and finding avenues to goal after registering just four majors in round one.
A Launceston forward line containing Thorp, Sonny Whiting and Rulla Kelly-Mansell will stretch North Hobart, while the likes of Riley, Brodie Palfreyman and Jay Blackberry through the middle of the ground will see the Blues enter the contest as deserving favourites.
HOW TO FOLLOW – BUPA TSL ROUND TWO
Don’t miss a moment of what promises to be an exciting round two of TSL action!
Saturday 7th April
Glenorchy v. Lauderdale – KGV (2:00pm)
North Launceston v. Tigers – UTAS Stadium (2:00pm)
In Launceston and the Tamar Valley audio commentary can be heard on City Park Radio 103.7 FM and 96.5 FM and online here.
Launceston v. North Hobart – Windsor Park (2:00pm)