The competition’s top team has kept on keeping on with a strong 62-point win over Glenorchy at KGV, breaking the game open after an early war of attrition.
North Launceston, who went down to the Magpies in round three, faced a finals-like contest in a scrappy start to the clash before grinding the youthful Magpies down to record a 13.16 (94) to 5.2 (32) win.
Only one goal was kicked in the opening stanza – a Brad Cox-Goodyer major at the 11-minute mark, with both sides struggling to hit targets inside forward 50.
Much of this was due to the immense pressure being applied by both sides, with the application and hunger around the contest undeniable.
North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford was full of praise for how the Magpies attacked the match early, conceding it may have gotten to his side.
“The intensity in the first quarter was finals like, for us to only kick one goal and for them to kick one point, it probably showed that the intensity around the footy didn’t allow clean possession or a clean break .
“Credit to Glenorchy, they brought the heat early and we were a bit fumbly and didn’t hit our first options… We will look at our first quarter to determine whether we were fumbly simply because of Glenorchy or whether it was that we were just fumbly on the day,” Whitford said.
The Magpies looked to be well and truly in the contest with the match being played in such a manner, with two goals in a minute early in the second term giving every indication that the Magpies would be able to survive the early slog before breaking the game open.
However, as the third term unfolded it became clear that the game would eventuate the other way, with three second-term Zach Burt goals and singles from Dakota Bannister and Taylor Whitford handing the Bombers a 23-point lead and all of the momentum into the main break.
North Launceston’s ability to break the game open in the second half displayed the side’s ability to be stringent in defence while also showing dare in taking the game on.
Zach Burt was the catalyst for this, with his four goals across the second and third terms putting the visitors in a commanding position.
“He (Burt) played a different role today than he usually would, I was impressed with the way he hit up at the footy as opposed to just out the back. That is something we have been working on with Zach and it did break the game open a bit today,” Whitford said.
The Bombers’ defensive group were particularly impressive, keeping Glenorchy goalless in the opening term and scoreless in the final term in the Magpies’ lowest score for the season.
“It’s hard to pick out individual players but our back six worked really well today. Sherrin Egger, Jay Foon and Arion Richter-Salter were a brick wall and set each other up,” Whitford said.
Whitford continued his ultra-consistent 2018 campaign with another two-goal effort from the midfield, while the returning Tom Couch and fellow midfielder Josh Ponting also impressed.
With eight wins from nine matches, Whitford is pleased with where his side sits heading into the back half of the season, with this win over Glenorchy especially significant.
“Wins on the road and wins at KGV are hard to come by, so we are really happy with the performance today.
“To win a game down here (at KGV), I think we had only won one before in my time which was last year, so it was a real positive,” he said.
Glenorchy, who entered the match without skipper Brayden Webb (ankle), controlled the match at times in the first half, but were unable to sustain this for the full duration of the match.
“Coming into today we knew it was going to be a tough ask. We just wanted them to execute the plan and shut them down. We thought if we did that for long enough and sneaked a few goals from turnovers we would have a chance,” Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy said post-game.
“Until about the 20 minute mark of the second quarter we had done an excellent job – we had some young kids playing on some very seasoned players.
“It was good to see that they could do it, but it was also a good lesson for them as to how long they have to do it for and how little you can afford to drop off.
“We couldn’t sustain the pressure at the level required to beat North Launceston… We would have liked to have held on longer and we will need to take a look at that and make sure the young guys learn from it rather than just be disappointed,” Kennedy said.
The Magpies will look to get back onto the winners list with a clash against the Tigers at KGV, while the Northern Bombers will host the Demons at UTAS Stadium.
Glenorchy 0.1, 3.1, 5.2, 5.2 (32)
North Launceston 1.3, 6.7, 9.11, 13.16 (94)
Glenorchy: M. Rainbird 2, M. Walker, J. Bowden, R. Banks-Smith
North Launceston: Z. Burt 4, B. Cox-Goodyer 2, T. Whitford 2, T. Bennett, T. Couch, J. Pearce, J. Ponting, D. Bannister
Glenorchy: D. Joseph, J. Bowden, J. Stevenson, B. Rowbottom, H. Parker, R. Banks-Smith
North Launceston: J. Foon, J. Ponting, S. Egger, T. Whitford, Z. Burt, J. Pearce