Launceston continued their charge towards finals football with a percentage and morale boosting 64-point win over Lauderdale on Saturday to shoot them into third place on the Tasmanian State League ladder, writes TSL Digital Reporter Josh Partridge.
Lauderdale assistant coach Clint Brown labelled Launceston ‘the best side in the competition’ and after an impressive showing on Saturday, the Blues showed that they are well and truly up there with the best.
Rulla Kelly-Mansell was prolific in his new role in defence, sneaking forward occasionally to add to his highlight reel with two 50 metre bombs at contrasting stages of a contest that coach Sam Lonergan labelled a fantastic game.
“The first five minutes, they obviously got away from us, but we fought back in the second half of that first quarter and then the next three quarters were a fantastic effort from our group,” Lonergan said after the match.
The first half of the first quarter was all Lauderdale, with five consecutive goals foreshadowing a possible big win for the Bombers, and a 16-point lead at three quarter time had them in the box seat.
Lauderdale assistant coach Clint Brown reflected upon the dominant start saying, “We had a focus on a really good start and achieved that, but once we got five goals up, we put the cue in the rack and thought the job was done, which you can’t afford to do against a side like Launceston, who we feel are the best team in the competition at the moment.”
From the start of the second quarter, the game swung wide open into Launceston’s favour, with the Blues amassing 17 goals to four over the three quarters of footy with both Mitch Thorp and Jake Hinds kicking three, in a relatively new role for Hinds inside the forward 50.
“Jake was being tagged in the first component of the game, they sent a player to him right from the start. We believed he could isolate that player in the forward line and about ten minutes after the move, Jake kicks a goal on the goal line, takes a mark, snaps one off his left boot and puts it through. I thought he was good, he embraced the different role and individually held pretty well with it.”
Lauderdale showed a touch of resistance late in the third quarter and early into the fourth, with missed chances costing the side an opportunity at a potential comeback.
Brown reflected on this period in the game after the match, saying, “The last seven or eight minutes of the third quarter, we felt we got back on top of Launceston. They’d run really hard that quarter and had seemed to have hit a barrier and thought that if we could have pinched two or three of them, it would have been a three goal game going into that last quarter. We just didn’t capitalise on our chances and they defended really well in that period.”
Jake Smith was fantastic for the Blues in his 100th game for the club, collecting the ball through the midfield and pushing forward for a goal that provided a highlight for the match. Alongside Smith, 18-year-old ruckman Tim Auckland impressed for the Blues. Recently returning to the side after a three-week period with SANFL side Adelaide, the young tall was thrust into the middle and never looked back throughout the day.
For Lauderdale, half back-flanker Robbie McManus, excitement machine Tim Mosquito and Former Brisbane Lions listed player, Josh McGuinness were the best afield with Mosquito’s effort drawing praise from Brown.
“Timmy had his best game for the year, although he is a bit down on himself at the moment with the loss. I think he finished with 25 possessions and 1.3, so he could have kicked more accurately but he certainly creates a lot of scoring opportunities inside 50 and is hard to tackle because he’s so agile.” Brown said after the game.
Following this result, Lauderdale slide into fifth position on the ladder, with an important clash against the sixth placed Tigers facing them at Lauderdale Oval next weekend with the bye on the horizon. Launceston are faced with the bye themselves this week, which could temporarily put them out of the top four but a mouth-watering clash against Clarence at Windsor Park on August 4th will be a huge test for the in-form Blues to see where they are at.
Launceston: M Thorp 3, J Hinds 3, D Riley 2, J Boyce 2, R Kelly-Mansell 2, C Jones, S Rundle, J Harper, J Smith, B Palfreyman, H Leedham, J Rushton, E Jackson
Lauderdale: E Stanley 2, H Kerinaiua 2, T Mosquito, R Sutton, T Boscott, P Bellchambers, B McGuinness, M McGuinness
Launceston: R. Kelly-Mansell, C. Jones, T. Auckland, D. Riley, M. Thorp, J. Smith
Lauderdale: R. McManus, T. Mosquito, J. McGuinness