Written by Hamish Spence.
North Launceston have begun their premiership defence in dominant fashion, defeating the Tigers by 53 points at Twin Ovals.
The premiers started and finished the game in strong style, kicking seven goals in the first term and finishing the game with five unanswered goals to leave 16.11 (107) to 8.6 (54) winners.
They were challenged in the second term and in parts of the third term, but the game never reached a crisis point as they maintained their lead throughout the match.
North’s senior figures were prevalent in their impressive win. Coach Taylor Whitford starred with six goals, kicking them from every angle and area on the ground. The experience that Captain Bradley Cox-Goodyer and Joshua Ponting provided was also very important.
Coach Taylor Whitford was happy with the win, saying the team played their style and moved the ball better after half-time.
“There was probably a patch in the second, five-ten minutes there, where we let them back into the game. And that wasn’t our doing either, they played some good footy and got the ball back on their terms.
“[It was a] good grinding effort after the third term, with that fourth quarter to kick away.”
Whitford wasn’t worried about players who left over the off-season saying that their six new players, like Jack Lanham and Liam Davies, played their role on the night.
“Our mentality coming into this year is if you’re worried about who you’ve lost, you’re probably not in the right headspace.
“Everyone that played today deserved a game of senior footy and I think everyone showed their capable of playing at the level.”
Whitford was humble about his own six goal performance, saying he really didn’t care.
“It doesn’t really matter to me who kicks the goals or my own performance. It’s my job as a coach to develop this group.”
The Tigers were valiant in defeat.
They recovered a 30 point deficit at quarter time and fought back to be within 13 points at the main break, after a four goal surge in the second quarter. They couldn’t make a dent into the margin though, and were run over the top of in the final term, being held goalless by the reigning premiers.
Kieran Lovell’s time in the AFL system was evident in his return to the Tigers. He was their most prolific ball-winner, racking up the possessions and kicking the Tigers’ first goal.
Ruckman Hugh Johnston backed up some of the form he showed last year with one of his best games; competing well in the ruck, taking some strong intercept marks and getting on the end of two goals.
— Bupa TSL (@TasStateLeague) March 31, 2019
Coach Trent Baumeler acknowledged North Launceston’s performance with their class around the ball and control over the contest, but was proud of his own team’s effort.
“We were really pleased with our second and third quarter, we felt the ball movement was really good and probably our pressure around the contest.
“[There were] some good takeaways and some really good things to work on.”
He also noted the role Kieran Lovell will have in taking pressure off Ryan Matthews, who’s completed a full pre-season after battling with injuries last year.
“I think him and Kieran are going to form a nice combo.”
Baumeler was also pleased with new recruit Michael Paul, who kicked two goals and provided some presence up forward and around the contest.
“It’s just great to some shape forward of the ball.
“As he adjusts to tempo and we probably tidy up our delivery to him as well, he’s only going to get better.”
Jarryd Drew copped a corky in his knee, but Baumeler expects him to be right for Lauderdale with the rest from the bye next week.
Next week the Tigers have the bye, while North Launceston host Clarence at UTAS Stadium on Saturday at 2:00pm.
Tigers FC: 2.1, 6.2, 8.5, 8.6 (54)
North Launceston: 7.1, 8.3, 11.6, 16.11 (107)
Tigers FC: H. Johnston (2), M. Paul (2), L. Graham (2), K. Lovell, J. Lister
North Launceston: T. Whitford (6), R. Mansell (2), B. Elmer (2), L. Young, J. Foon, A. Lee, B. Cox-Goodyer, K. Wadley, L. Davies
Tigers FC: L. Griggs, H. Johnston, B. McCulloch, M. Davies, R. Matthews, S. Rice
North Launceston: T. Whitford, J. Foon, A. Lee, L. Davies, B. Elmer, J. Rushton