Written by Ryan Rosendale. / IC: Andrew Woodgate
With their Round 13 win fresh in their minds, the Tigers almost caused another upset over a resurgent Launceston on Saturday but despite a gallant effort and some poor kicking from the visitors, it was the Blues who stood tall at the final siren.
After a disappointing 75-point loss to Glenorchy last week, the Tigers raced out of the blocks early and despite holding a 12-point lead at the long break, the Blues steadied throughout the last-half to walk away 19-point winners – 12.18 (90) to 11.5 (71).
Finishing the first term 22-points up after holding the Blues to just four behinds, the Tigers continued their blistering form early in the second with experienced heads Marcus Davies and Will Campbell leading the charge and while a goal of the year contender to Mitch Carter aided the Tigers efforts, three goals late in the second-term to the Blues handed them a measure of momentum heading into the second half.
“Red-time in the second quarter hurt… three goals to zip so just a couple of patches today where they were able to kick consecutive goals and we just didn’t respond,” Tigers coach Trent Baumeler said post-match.
“But really pleasing with how we played today and that we fought the game out.”
Baumeler couldn’t fault the effort and intent of his players and put the loss down to some unforced turnovers and general ball use when in possession.
“They set-up really well behind the ball in that last quarter and so much of today was about winning that territory battle and getting it inside 50 and they were able lock it in with their forward pressure and repeat entries.”
“We kicked it straight too them a lot (in that last quarter) and that’s full credit to them for setting up well defensively behind the ball.”
For the Tigers, Davies and Campbell were both prolific throughout the day while 18-year old Will Poland’s job on Tim Auckland (one goal) in defence was a shining highlight for the Tigers.
Launceston coach Sam Lonergan was pleased to walk away with an important victory on the road to finals but admitted his side’s start and poor conversion could have been costly.
“Fantastic to get the win. I thought probably the first-half we were like the bilby in the headlights moment but in the second-half the boys came home and worked pretty hard to get across the line,” Lonergan said.
While the Blues midfield lost the clearance count in the first-term, their ability to regroup and capitalise on the ruckwork of Hamish Leedham and Tim Auckland played a major factor in the end result, something Lonergan was pleased with.
“We lost that clearance count in the first which has been a real strength of our football but from the second quarter onwards I thought they were much better.”
Spearhead Mitch Thorp, who was held to the solitary major in round 13 by Micah Reynolds, was able to finish with three goals while Sam Rundle and Brendan Taylor chipped in with two each.
The win was highlighted by the efforts of Chayce Jones who again proved why he is highly rated within draft circles and almost a lock to be picked up in October’s national draft.
“Chayce is a super talent,” Lonergan said of the youngster.
“He had six clearances to half-time and his speed and ability to read the footy was fantastic. His delivery was a little bit off today compared to previous weeks, but he was best on ground today for us in my opinion.”
With just one game to go before finals, Launceston will be looking for an important win against Glenorchy next Saturday in their quest for a top three finish while the Tigers will finish their season against finals bound Clarence at Blundstone Arena.
Tigers 4.2, 7.3, 10.4, 11.5 (71)
Launceston 0.4, 4.9, 9.13, 12.18 (90)
Tigers : M. Carter 3, L. Graham 3, T. Carter 2, J. Lister, H. Johnston, W. Campbell
Launceston : M. Thorp 3, B. Taylor 2, S. Rundle 2, J. Harper, H. Leedham, J. Smith, T. Auckland, D. Riley
Tigers : M. Davies, M. Carter, W. Campbell, B. Rees, B. Graham
Launceston : C. Jones, T. Auckland, J. Smith, J. Hinds, B. Palfreyman, D. Riley