Written by Alex FitzGerald.
Lauderdale’s rich vein of finals form has continued, with the Bombers brushing aside a highly-fancied Launceston outfit at UTSA Stadium on Saturday night to the tune of 72 points to book themselves a place in next week’s Preliminary Final.
The visitors led by just three points after a low-scoring opening term, but dominated the first Semi Final around the ground from that point on, slamming on 15 goals to four following the first break to ensure the ‘predictable’ Blues departed the finals in straight sets.
Ed Stanley made a dream return from a hamstring injury, benefitting from pinpoint forward entries to boot a career-high seven majors, while impressive recruit Henry Kerinaiua chipped in with four of his own as the Lauderdale forwards enjoyed a night out.
Lauderdale assistant coach Clint Brown was in high spirits following what he described as the Bombers’ most complete game of 2018.
“It’s probably the best four quarter effort the boys have put in all year.”
“We’ve seen glimpses of it throughout games this year, how good we can play.”
The visitors put plenty of hours into analysing the game style of the Blues during the week, time Brown said was well-spent.
“We’ve planned for oppositions more thoroughly throughout the finals.”
“We put a lot of time into Launceston this week, and watched a lot of vision.”
“They’ve been pretty predictable over the year in the way they play their footy; it doesn’t change that much.”
Midfielders Nat Franklin, Thor Boscott and Rhys Sutton worked overtime to gain the upper hand over a talented but younger Blues onball brigade, following the Bombers’ plans to a tee.
“Glenorchy showed last week against Launceston that (you need to be) really tight against them at the stoppages, that’s where they win a lot of their footy.”
“I thought that our pressure was maintained and we were able to create a lot of turnovers from it.”
While Stanley’s major haul inside attacking 50 had fans counting on two hands, Brown admitted concern’s over the X-factor’s fitness had looked set to sideline him for the clash.
But when he was given the all-clear, the assistant coach had no doubt he would provide something special on a big stage.
“Windy said before the start of the game ‘who do you think will play well?’ and I said Ed would kick four.”
“He kicked seven so I’ll take that.”
The Bombers had winners across every line on the field, with almost every player having a case for being named in the best. Josh McGuinness’ strong year across half-back rolled on, with the former Brisbane Lion putting on a masterclass in rebounding defence. But it was the composure and foot skills of younger brother Matt, a deliberate late inclusion to the side, that prompted praise from Brown.
“Matt was really good, he’s still finding his feet at senior football and he’s still only 17 years of age.”
“His tackling was outstanding and he played really well on the talls when they came back into the forward line.”
“It was good to see a young guy step up.”
For the Blues, veterans Mitch Thorp and Dylan Riley competed strongly as they combined for five goals, with midfielder Brodie Palfreyman also a shining light on a dismal night for the hosts.
The Bombers will now prepare to face Glenorchy in next Saturday’s twilight Preliminary Final at Blundstone Arena, with the knowledge that a win will set up a second consecutive all-Bomber affair in the Grand Final.
Brown says his side are confident, but know what the Magpies can produce on their day.
“We won’t be taking Glenorchy lightly, they showed last week what they can do and they’ll look to rebound next week.”
“I think we’ve shown that we’re a force.
” We’re still alive, and we have one more game now to get another shot at North Launnie.”
Launceston 2.1, 3.2, 6.4, 6.6 (42)
Lauderdale 2.4, 6.7, 10.10, 17.12 (114)
Launceston: D. Riley 3, M. Thorp 2, J. Hinds
Lauderdale: E. Stanley 7, H. Kerinaiua 4, R. McManus, A. Hevey, T. Boscott, N. Franklin, T. Havea, H. Smith
Launceston: D. Riley, J., Donnellan, S. Rundle, C. Brown, B. Palfreyman, C. Savage
Lauderdale: J. McGuinness, R. Sutton, E. Stanley, H. Kerinaiua, T. Havea, T. Boscott