Paul Kennedy’s first season at KGV proved to be a fruitful one, steering the ‘Pies to a top two spot, all while building a platform for success moving forward.
It is difficult to not be positive about Glenorchy’s 2018 TSL campaign, with the Magpies recording victories against every club this season and perennially sitting inside the competition’s top four.
Despite battling niggling injury issues to Zac Webster, Brayden Webb and others, Glenorchy kept finding ways to win, with many of these victories built off the back of terrific defensive performances, with Josh Grant, Josh Arnold, Harrison Gunther and Daniel Joseph forming arguably the competition’s best defensive quartet.
With the likes of Jack Stevenson, Bayley Bester, Jye Bearman, William Atkin, Adam Roberts and Chris McKnight all gaining invaluable senior football experience, Kennedy managed to find the delicate balance between developing emerging talent and remaining competitive as a premiership threat.
Add to this the strong form of leaders Daniel Joseph and Rhys Mott and the rapid improvement of Harrison Gunther and Ben Kamaric – arguably two of the most improved players in the league – and you have a remarkably productive and successful season that will lay the foundation for potential future success.
Another key target to aid Jaye Bowden inside 50 may be the focus for the Magpies this summer, but there is enough talent here to suggest that the Magpies will be a force again in 2019.
2nd (W: 11, L: 7, %: 140.57) – knocked out by Lauderdale in Preliminary Final
Jaye Bowden – 46 goals
Team of the Year Representatives: 6
- Josh Grant (FB)
- One of the competition’s most consistent performers, Grant was rarely beaten – despite usually taking the opposition’s best key forward. A determined competitor, Grant’s ability to compete and nullify his opponent works brilliantly alongside his smart footy brain and skills out of the back half.
- Daniel Joseph (HBF)
- After impressing at the Aspley Hornets in the NEAFL, Daniel Joseph’s return to KGV in 2018 was stellar, becoming the competition’s best running defender. Capable of walking the fine line between defence and attack, Joseph provided this side with leadership, class and almighty skill.
- Rhys Mott (W)
- The productive midfielder got better and better as the season progressed, registering yet another Team of the Year nod. One of the best kicks in the state, Mott was a key part in Glenorchy’s strong season.
- Jaye Bowden (HFF)
- The Glenorchy stalwart enjoyed another strong season in 2018, kicking 46 goals to finish as the Magpies’ leading goalkicker and the competition’s second. Spent time in a variety of positions to further heighten his remarkable standing within Tasmanian football.
- Harrison Gunther (INT)
- One of the most improved players in the competition, Gunther’s shift from mobile forward to intercepting defender was a masterstroke. A terrific reader of the play, Gunther was a force out of the back half, cutting off many an offensive pursuit and working as an architect out of the back half.
- Paul Kennedy (Assistant Coach)
- A sensational debut season at KGV, Kennedy helped the Magpies emerge as a genuine contender in 2018, all the while blooding a host of youngsters to complement the team’s contingent of stars. Kennedy could not have made a better impression in his first season within the TSL.
Best and Fairest:
Daniel Joseph won the R.H ‘Banjo’ Patterson Best and Fairest Trophy in 2018, ahead of Harrison Gunther (second) and Josh Arnold (third).
Ruckman Cameron Duffy found himself at the pointy end of the Lynch Medal count for much of the night, polling 13 votes in a strong campaign.
Daniel Joseph, with 10 votes, was again noticed by the umpires, while pocket rocket Callen Daly also finished with eight after a dynamic season.
RACT Insurance Player of the Year:
Daniel Joseph was the pick of the Magpies according to the media, finding himself as the RACT Insurance Player of the Year leader for much of the season before eventually polling 18 votes to finish as a joint winner alongside North Launceston playing-coach Taylor Whitford.
Three-time RACT Insurance Player of the Year Jaye Bowden was also a standout, finishing with nine votes, while Rhys Mott also picked up six votes of his own.
The Rising Star:
The Magpies’ blooded a host of emerging stars this season, with players like Adam Roberts, Jack Stevenson and Bayley Bester particular standouts.
Roberts developed into a crucial cog across half forward and on the wing and looks to be a ready-made senior TSL player, while Bayley Bester also looked the same inside 50 with his knack for hitting the scoreboard.
Stevenson’s willingness to throw himself at every contest in defence made him an instant favourite at KGV, with his performances as part of the Tassie Mariners underlining his exciting potential.
It was an entertaining season for fans of the black and white, with the team delivering many a highlight, however, the 14-point Qualifying Final triumph over Launceston sits as one of the club’s greatest victories in recent memory.
The Magpies were dealt a huge blow in the opening quarter, with star forward Jaye Bowden seen clutching his knee after taking a strong mark. Leaving the field and not returning, the loss of Glenorchy’s leading goalkicker resulted in many questioning how the Magpies would kick a winning score against a potent Launceston outfit.
Launceston capitalised on the absence of Bowden, bounding away to a 35-point lead late in the second term, and with Chayce Jones and Brodie Palfreyman controlling the midfield battle, it looked as if the Magpies were down and out, however goals from late inclusion Brodie Rowbottom and Bayley Bester in the dying minutes of the half saw the Magpies trail by an even four goals at the main break.
Glenorchy toiled away in the third term, kicking three goals to two to remain in the contest, but with so many young bodies, it was expected that the Magpie would eventually tire and be overrun.
Boy was this premonition wrong, however.
The Magpies were simply brilliant in the final term, defending with insatiable hunger and attacking with devastating effect – kicking six goals to none to complete a stunning 35-point turnaround and book another double chance in the finals series.
Leaders Daniel Joseph, Brayden Webb and Cameron Duffy were all enormous for the ‘Pies, but it was late inclusion Brodie Rowbottom who proved to the spark, kicking four goals in a remarkable display.
For a side missing one of their club’s greatest ever players, this was a win for the ages, and one that highlighted the never-say-die ethos the club embodied in 2018.
Preliminary Final losses are always the toughest to swallow, and Glenorchy’s 18-point loss to Lauderdale at Blundstone Arena this season was no exception.
The Magpies competed remarkably well throughout the night, taking a 16-point lead into the main break and a six-point lead into the final term, despite missing the likes of Jaye Bowden and Josh Grant; Cameron Duffy being forced off the field with injury and Brayden Webb playing out the game with a broken leg.
The Bombers probed to be too fresh in the final stanza, kicking five goals to one to run over the top of the undermanned ‘Pies and book a Grand Final ticket.
Although the Preliminary Final loss was a lowlight, the competitiveness of the group and gallant endeavour makes this a more admirable effort than most season lowlights.
2018 In Three Words: Kennedy’s Magpies Rise