If there were still any questions about Lauderdale’s finals credentials after last-week’s win over Glenorchy, they were put to bed on Saturday with a stirring win over Launceston, TSL Digital Media Reporter Ryan Rosendale writes.
It has well and truly been a return to form over the past three weeks for the Bombers of Hobart’s eastern shore.
After pushing Clarence to the limit in round nine – a game that could have gone their way if not for some inaccurate kicking – Lauderdale have produced upset wins over Glenorchy (33 points) and now Launceston in consecutive weeks, with a clinical, hard-fought 30-point win over the Blues emerging as the Bombers’ most important win of the season to date.
Despite the opening goal of the contest to key forward Mitch Thorp and a stirring patch of play in the third quarter where the Blues kicked four unanswered goals, it was all the Bombers throughout the day with their tackling pressure and ability to use the corridor the key to their 17.9 (111) to 12.9 (81) victory heading into the round 11 bye.
After starting the season 0-3, which included a 62-point loss to Launceston in round three, the Bombers now sit 4-5 with assistant coach Clinton Brown pleased with the way his side performed against such a quality outfit.
“Very happy (with that win). To back-up from our good game last week was very pleasing.
“We’ve been working on our hands around stoppages over the last couple of weeks and we’ve been really sharp there which allowed us to get it out to our outside players today and that got us some good inside 50’s,” Brown said post-match in regards to the outstanding performance of the midfield.
With milestone man Alex Hevey sent to one of the Blues biggest ball-winners in a shut-down role, it allowed fellow midfielders Nat Franklin, Leo Harrison and Phillip Bellchambers to control the game and give tall forwards Ben McGuinness (three goals) and Tyler Martin (three goals) first use ball inside 50.
“Heavs (Heavey) is just an all-round great fella. It was his 200th game and we asked him to play a shut-down role today. He went with Brodie Palfreyman and had to tag him and some blokes playing in their 200th game wouldn’t embrace that but Heavs is a club man; he always puts the club first and took that on-board and did a really good job.”
Jacob Gillbee, the former Gold Coast Sun, was also lively up-forward and while he only finished with two majors, his football nous has brought another aspect to an already dangerous team.
“Gilbs (Gillbee) is only going to get better. He’s missed a lot of football but week-by-week he’s adding different things to his game and he’s showing why he got drafted,” Brown said.
While disappointed with the end result, Launceston coach Sam Lonergan said it was probably the wake-up call his side needed to get things back on-track.
“It’s a disappointing result but probably not a result that’s going to hurt the group,” Lonergan said post-match.
“It’s one that will re-engage them back into the program and they understand that if their heads aren’t in the game they’ll get a result like they did today.”
Lonergan put the loss down to a handball-heavy first half and some areas of shortfall that the collective isn’t learning to improve on.
“We’ve got some deficiencies at the moment which the guys are probably not engaging on how to improve on at this stage and that’s probably shown in our three tougher games in Glenorchy, North (Launceston) and now this one. I think today’s result will probably kick them back into gear and make them work that little bit harder.”
After being down by 43-points at half-time, Lonergan admits he was hard on the group at the long-break and was pleased with the way they responded in the third – winning the quarter 5.4 (34) to 4.3 (27).
“To see them stand-up and respond in the third-quarter and even the last-quarter (was pleasing). We kicked 21-points in the first-half and 60-points in the second-half so I guess we don’t walk away with much from the first-half other than that when we play into the opposition and don’t play the way we want to play we are going to lose games and then when we actually play our game we hit the scoreboard and we get good score conversions with our inside 50’s.”
Jared Dakin (two goals), Hamish Leedham, Dylan Riley and Jamieson House competed well all-day for the Blues while Mitch Thorp kicked four goals in the absence of last-week’s six goal star in Sonny Whiting who was rested after a mid-week getaway.
“Sonny was in Noosa on a pre-planned trip from Monday through to Thursday so he trained Thursday night but we just felt that with the travel at 31 plus two back-to-back Hobart games along with training we’d just put him on ice this week.”
Whiting is expected to return for next week’s clash at Windsor Park against Clarence while Lonergan is looking to return from an injury-interrupted season post bye against Tigers in Round 13.
Lauderdale 5.3, 10.4, 14.7, 17.9 (111)
Launceston 2.2, 3.3, 8.7, 12.9 (81)
Lauderdale: T.Martin 3, B. McGuinness 3, E. Stanley 2, J. Gillbee 2, H. Kerinaiua, C. Laoumtzis, J. McGuinness, R. McManus, H. Smith, T. Mosquito, P. Bellchambers
Launceston: M. Thorp 4, J. Dakin 2, J. Harper, G. Millucci, D. Riley, J. House, B. Palfreyman, J. Hinds
Lauderdale: P. Bellchambers, A. Hevey, J. McGuinness, J. Gillbee, N. Franklin, N. Raglione
Launceston: J. Dakin, H. Leedham, D. Riley, J. House, S. Rundle, M. Hodge