What a difference seven weeks can make.
The first Saturday of April saw Lauderdale, last year’s grand finalists, get obliterated at KGV, going down to the Magpies by 87 points in Paul Kennedy’s first game at the helm of Glenorchy.
Fast forward to the last Saturday of May and the Bombers had flipped the script entirely, delivering a stunning second half to record a stirring 14.15 (99) to 9.12 (66) win at Lauderdale Oval.
Effort was a key area that lacked in round two, while missed opportunities had cost the Bombers in recent weeks, particularly after kicking 2.7 in the third term against Clarence in round eight.
These two areas were addressed in a big way in round nine, with the Bombers delivering unquestionably their finest performance of the season to date, headlined by a 10-goal to four second half.
“The most important thing in footy is that if get chances you have to take them. Today we took them and last week we didn’t – our conversion rate in the third term (6.4 as opposed to last week’s 2.7) made a difference this week,” Lauderdale assistant coach Clint Brown said post-game.
The Bombers entered the main break down by seven points, with Glenorchy appearing to be in control, but a noticeable lift in tackle pressure saw the script flip in the second half as the Bombers began to play with greater confidence and dare.
“Glenorchy were really good early below their knees and in and around the contest. We doubled our tackles in the third quarter compared to the first half and it began to show on them – they started to humble a bit below their knees and we capitalised.
“When you lose a few games, guys confidence drops and they become a little hesistant to take the kicks they’d normally take. We had given them a licence to take the game on again.
“Our attitude has been pretty good the last couple of weeks but we haven’t been able to sustain our pressure for the full four quarters, I think today was the first time we have sustained it for the whole game,” Brown said.
A key figure in the Bombers’ second half dominance was Ryan Wiggins, who after starting in defence, shifted forward with immediate effect.
The versatile swing man booted four goals, two in each term, to take the game by the scruff of the neck and beg some serious questions of the men in black and white.
“It’s not an easy thing to do (shifting between defence and the forward line). ‘Wiggo’ played primarily in the back line but every time we shifted him forward he kicked a goal, to be that versatile is really important to the side,” Brown said.
Wiggins was well supported by key defender Josh McGuinness, who played a critical role on the dangerous Jaye Bowden, and midfield stars Phil Bellchambers and Nat Franklin.
These high profile names were also matched by the efforts of some emerging Bombers with 19-year-old forward Tyler Martin booting three goals and 17-year-old Mariner Leo Harrison locking down Magpies star Rhys Mott.
“Tyler Martin is only going to get better. He’s quite raw coming from a soccer background but is very athletic and has a lovely left foot kick – he is only going to get better so we will continue persisting with him,” Brown said.
“I have played a lot of footy with and against Motty (Rhys Mott) and I rate him very highly – he uses the footy really well and is very smart in traffic, if we can nullify that, it stops a lot of their play moving forward.
“Leo blanketed Mott for most of the game and it frustrated him a bit. It’s a credit to Leo, it’s not an easy thing to have the mindset to do that for the whole game,” Brown added.
With established stars starting to fire, some emerging talent coming through and the likely return of exciting Mariners prospects and Robbie McManus, Justin Cooper, Thor Boscott and Bryce Walsh between now and the end of the season, the Bombers loom as a wildcard in 2018 after an indifferent start to the season, something Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy was quick to acknowledge after the final siren.
“We have to give a lot of credit to Lauderdale, they worked really hard and we didn’t mirror that work rate.
“We didn’t capitalise on our dominance at times in the first half, I thought going in to half time we were well on top. They have some really good talent and honest players around the ball – they were honest all day. They showed that they are not a spent force this season- they are a really good team around the ball,” Kennedy said.
The Magpies, who lost matches to Clarence and Launceston prior to the bye and this loss to Lauderdale, now sit with a 4-3 win-loss record and will be looking to claim the big scalp of North Launceston in round 10.
“I thought playing against Lauderdale gives you good preparation for playing North Launceston, they have big bodies, they win the footy, they like to get in and put pressure on your backs.
“Today was a lesson for our blokes, they knew exactly what happened after the game, it came down that work rate at the right times. The guys all have confidence in our ability to beat North Launceston, but we will need to be better across four 30-minute quarters,” Kennedy said.
Fifth-placed Lauderdale will now look towards hosting Launceston in round 10.
Lauderdale 1.3, 4.8, 10.12, 14.15 (99)
Glenorchy 2.6, 5.9, 7.10, 9.12 (66)
Lauderdale: R. Wiggins 4, T. Martin 3, J. Gillbee 2, T. Mosquito 2, E. Stanley 2, H. Kerinaiua
Glenorchy: J. Bowden 3, A. Roberts 2, H. Parker, C. Daly, J. Webb, J. Stevenson
Lauderdale: L. Harrison, J. McGuinness, P. Bellchambers, R. Wiggins, T. Mosquito, N. Franklin
Glenorchy: J. Arnold, H. Gunther, J. Bowden, C. Daly, A. Roberts, J. Webb