Written by Alex FitzGerald
Glenorchy has booked a berth in next week’s Qualifying Final against North Launceston after sensationally overcoming a 35 point deficit to defeat Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Blues dominated the contest early and looked like recording a comfortable victory, but the Magpies rallied against all odds to boot nine of the final 10 majors, including six the final term, to record a 14 point win; 13.10 (88) to 10.14 (74).
The hosts were dealt a huge blow in the opening minutes when superstar Jaye Bowden clutched at his left knee after taking a contested grab in front of goal. Bowden left the field without taking his kick and took no further part in the game, handing Launceston an unexpected advantage as a result.
The Blues capitalised on the Magpies’ loss, booting six straight goals to hold a 35 point lead midway through the second term, with young midfield bull Jamieson House having a direct hand in three of his side’s majors. With draft prospect Chayce Jones and the talented Brodie Palfreyman running riot in the midfield and the Blues’ forwards kicking long range goals at will, it appeared that the game was over before it began.
Enter the trademark Glenorchy worth ethic and signature run and carry. The Magpies’ rebounding defenders began working overtime to set up forward surges, resulting in two late majors to Brodie Rowbottom and Bayley Bester as the hosts pegged the margin back to an even four goals at the main break.
The third term was a a see-sawing affair, with two quick Ryan Banks-Smith majors and a desperate goal-saving tackle from Will Atkin perhaps foreshadowing what was to come in the final stanza, as Glenorchy toiled away to remain in the contest.
Fans were treated to an unbelievable final term, with the Magpies defending like men possessed and booting six unanswered goals up forward to hit the front in time on, eventually walking off Blundstone Arena in the fading light as the most unlikely of victors.
Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy was in awe of his side’s comeback in the minutes after the final siren.
“It’s just one final, and we’ve got more work to do, but for a brief minute you just reflect on how good a win that was.”
” You don’t get too many better than that.”
Kennedy was impressed with how his charges rallied from six goals down, especially after the loss of Bowden and late withdrawal of Premiership ‘Pie Clinton French.
” It was enormous from the guys, (especially) when you’re down a rotation very early in the game, and that guy is Jaye Bowden, one of the all time greats.”
“For a really young group to dig deep when we were down 8 goals to two, to kick 11 goals to two after that shows a lot of character.”
Kennedy put the turnaround down to his side’s composure and work rate, with captain Brayden Webb, ruckman Cameron Duffy and joint RACT Player of the Year Daniel Joseph all showing their leadership and experience in the second half.
“It was a very contested game,”
“From midway through that second quarter we turned the screws for two and a half quarters of footy and that’s not easy to do.
” It was super.”
The Magpies were well-served by late inclusion Brodie Rowbottom, who was lively up forward to finish with four goals, as well as Harrison Gunther, who battled hard to hold the TSL’s leading goal kicker Mitch Thorp to just two majors.
With his side now preparing to face off against competition stand outs North Launceston in next week’s Qualifying Final, Kennedy isn’t fazed by the fact the talented Bombers have had the week off, backing his players in to recover well from a tough contest.
“The guys have a lot of belief that they can run games out.”
“Today wasn’t won on talent, it was won on work rate, effort and heart. That gives us some confidence going into next week.”
For Launceston coach Sam Lonergan, it was a game of two parts.
“I thought our first half was fantastic and the second half (in comparison) was chalk and cheese.”
“Credit to Glenorchy for their pressure around the footy and ability to run over us in the end.”
Lonergan paid tribute to the pressure and rebounding defence the Magpies produced in spades following the main break.
He also attributed the shift in momentum away from the Blues down to his charges being overawed on the big stage, despite their solid start.
“From our perspective, I thought the fear of failure (was present), which then restricted the way we wanted to move the ball and we became predictable in the way we moved it.”
Launceston will look to regroup as they prepare to host Lauderdale in next Saturday night’s cutthroat Semi Final. The Blues and Southern Bombers will take to the field in the second match of a double-header held at UTAS Stadium at 6:30pm following the mouth-watering Semi Final between North Launceston and Glenorchy from 3:30pm.
Glenorchy 1.3, 4.5, 7.6, 13.10 (88)
Launceston 4.0, 8.5, 10.8, 10.14 (74)
Glenorchy: B. Rowbottom 4, B. Bester 2, R. Banks-Smith 2, B. Kamaric, D. Joseph, A. Roberts, B. Webb, J. Geard
Launceston: : J. Smith 2, M. Thorp 2, J. Harper, B. Palfreyman, E. Jackson, C. Jones, H. Leedham, D. Riley
Glenorchy: D. Joseph, B. Webb, C. Duffy, B. Rowbottom, C. Daly, H. Gunther
Launceston: J. House, C. Jones, D. Riley, S. Rundle, C. Savage, T. Sheppard