Written by Mitchell Jones.
Jobi Harper will make his long-awaited return to football in Launceston’s round two Merucry Cup clash with North Hobart this Saturday at Windsor Park.
Harper has thrilled Tasmanian football fans over the years, representing the state and winning the Darrel Baldock medal in a victorious 2013 TSL grand final appearance for South Launceston.
Harper has been out of action for a long period of time, however, missing the entire 2017 season after having to undergo an ankle reconstruction.
Harper has had successful stints around the north of the state being a key player for South Launceston, the Western Storm and most recently the Burnie Dockers over his career, and will add plenty to Launceston’s midfield group as such a highly regarded player.
Launceston coach Sam Lonergan has pinned a full return to the senior side in the ‘coming weeks’ for Harper.
“All going well he will likely play seniors in the next four weeks and post round 10 we will start to see the best Jobi, as he builds up into a midfield role,” Lonergan said.
Harper had a move to Launceston Football club in the works before Burnie pulled out of the State League, with living in Launceston being the main factor in selecting the Blues as his club of choice.
With such a long absence from football due to injury Harper will be keen for his return to the playing field.
“Jobi will play about 60 percent of the match,” Lonergan said.
Launceston will face North Hobart in both Mercury Cup and TSL action on Saturday at Windsor Park, with the Demons coming off the back of a 56-point Mercury Cup loss to the Tigers in round one.
The Demons will face a daunting prospect of coming up against a strong Launceston outfit, who made the 2017 grand final and demolished North Launceston by 104 points, before even having Harper, the runner-up in the 2015 Alister Lynch Medal, in the side.
With Launceston still having Harper in the Mercury Cup, a raft of talented Mariners players unavailable and Lonergan himself still under an injury cloud, improvement is still to come for Launceston with Lonergan outlining what Harper can add to their senior side.
“Jobi is very competitive and strives to be the best. This mindset will set him up to be a player to watch,” he said.
To see Harper’s return to football you can attend Windsor Park as Launceston host North Hobart in the Mercury Cup from 11:30am before the two sides battle it out in TSL action from 2:00pm.