Bombers Awaken In Tale of Two Halves

It was a tale of two halves at UTAS Stadium on Saturday, with the competition’s top dog roaring back to life with a dominant second half display, writes TSL Digital Reporter Josh Partridge. 

The saying, “beware of the sleeping giant” was one applicable to North Launceston’s 130-point win over North Hobart at UTAS Stadium on Saturday.

The Bombers led by 18 points at half time after a competitive, hard-fought start to the match.

IC: Andrew Woodgate

The sleeping giant soon awoke, however, with North Launceston piling on 19 goals to the youthful Demons’ one in the second half to run away with the match and record a 26.11 (167) to 6.1 (37) victory.

With the North Launceston Football Club celebrating ‘Back to North Day’ to commemorate and celebrate past premiership sides, previous players and coaches of the club, the Northern Bombers delivered a typically dominant display in the second half; clamping down on the Demons’ inside 50 entries and clearing the ball almost at free will at times.

“It was a tale of two halves,” North Launceston assistant coach Adrian Smith said post game.

“It was really pleasing after half time to reset structurally. First half, North Hobart brought it to us and we weren’t really up to scratch,” Smith said.

And brought it to them, they certainly did.

Matching with last year’s premiers early in the first quarter, North Hobart slipped away momentarily but were then able to slot consecutive goals on the board through Sean Willis and Nathan McCulloch, with Willis providing the assist for the latter to trail by just nine points at quarter time.

Brad Young was able to get his foot to one and provide his best FIFA World Cup impression to soccer through congestion to bring the Demons within three points, and with young gun Angus Norton attacking hard through the packs for North Hobart, it looked like a contest was on our hands.

However, North Launceston’s big names flexed their muscle as best on ground, Dakota Bannister, captain Brad Cox-Goodyear and big forward Zach Burt kicked the next three goals to extend the gap to 18 points at the main break.

The third quarter was a thing of beauty for the North Launceston faithful that flooded UTAS Stadium for their special day as they piled on 8 unanswered goals in quick succession to put the foot to the throat of North Hobart.

The seventh goal of the half came courtesy of a mammoth Zach Burt mark and classy snap, that is sure to feature on many highlight reels in the future.

North Hobart’s solitary second half goal came through Tyler Willmott as the margin blew out to 80 points at three quarter time.

The floodgates slightly closed in the last quarter, but still proved damaging for the away side, with North Launceston piling on 7.2 as their big three for the day, Cox-Goodyer, Bannister and Burt kicking six, five and five goals respectively, with Bannister dominant throughout the middle.

Returning Mariner Rhyan Mansell provided a spark for the home side, while Arion Richter-Salter was the backline general in the first half and used the ball efficiently.

North Hobart’s Sean Willis provided a run through the middle all day and was able to spread forward to set up play in the forward 50 in the first half. Coach Richard ‘Bear’ Robinson sung the praises of both Hugh Williams’ as they held up the backline.

IC: Andrew Woodgate

“Last time we played North, we didn’t have either and I thought Junior Williams was probably our best player today. Senior is pretty tough when the ball comes in, but Tom Bennett is a very good player and hard to stop,” Robinson said.

North Launceston will make the trip down South to face an in-form Clarence outfit next week in what promises to be a classic top-of-the-table encounter and will be looking to bring late withdrawals Taylor Whitford and Bart McCulloch into the line up.

North Hobart will be eager to rebound when they play Glenorchy at home. Next week could see a completely different line-up for the Demons, with 28 players being unavailable for the North Launceston match through school footy and state selections.

Coach Robinson foreshadowed at least 10 potential changes for their senior line-up.


Final Scores: 

North Launceston 4.3 7.7 18.9 26.11 (167)
North Hobart 4.0 5.1 6.1 6.1 (37)


North Launceston: B. Cox Goodyer 6, D. Bannister 5, Z. Burt 5, T. Bennett 3, C. Lowe 1, K. Curtis, B. Sharman, J. Avent, T. Donnelly, R. Mansell, M. Walsh

North Hobart: T. Willmott, N. McCulloch, C. Kilpatrick, B. Young, C. Leek, S. Willis


North Launceston: D. Bannister, J. Ponting, B. Sharman, T. Bennett, J. Pearce, J. Cousens

North Hobart: H. Williams, C. Leek, N. McCulloch, J. Cleaver, S. Willis