With several teams eyeing off a breakthrough victory for 2019 and others gunning for perfect starts to continue; round three looms as a significant one as sides begin to jostle for spots in the competition’s pecking order.
Clarence v Glenorchy – Blundstone Arena (2:00pm)
Last Time They Met: Clarence 9.4 (58) def. by Glenorchy 13.11 (89) – Round 20, 2018 at Blundstone Arena
Clarence and Glenorchy. Rivalries in Tasmanian football don’t get much bigger than this.
Clarence, boasting a plethora of exciting youngsters will play its first home game of the season against an in-form Glenorchy outfit that looks to be one of the competition’s teams to beat.
Much has been made of the ‘Roos inexperience with the likes of Sam Banks, Adrian Butterworth, Tyler Penwright and Oliver Preshaw making their senior debuts in round two. This new guard stood tall against the Northern Bombers, however, with these four – as well as recruits Ethan Jackson and Blair Rubock – showing that they belong in this senior side.
This youth, mixed with the likes of Jeromey Webberley, Brady Jones and the Bailey brothers, makes for an exciting group, and one that still has enough quality to trouble the competition’s best.
Glenorchy appear to be humming, though, with former Clarence player Aiden Grace starring inside forward 50, a midfield brigade on top of its game and a stringent defensive unit.
Ben Kamaric, Rhys Mott and Brayden Webb all look to be building towards strong seasons, while the versatility of Jaye Bowden gives Glenorchy an element of excitement few others can match.
Daniel Joseph’s injured knee is a concern, but considering Glenorchy’s experience and strong form, expect the Magpies to go 3-0 and continue an impressive start to its centenary season.
Tip: Magpies by 30 points
Players to watch:
Blair Rubock (Clarence): The crafty goalkicker has shown he has what it takes to turn a game with his willingness to fly in the air and compete on the ground. Kicking one goal in his Clarence debut, Rubock will likely become a key scoreboard influencer for the ‘Roos as the season progresses.
Cameron Duffy (Glenorchy): After being sent to the tribunal for an alleged strike last weekend, the talented ruckman has been cleared to play this weekend; much to the relief of the black and white faithful. A strong competitor in red-hot form, Duffy will look to give his midfielders first use and compete across the park.
Lauderdale v Tigers FC – Skybus Oval (2:00pm)
Last Time They Met: Lauderdale 13.10 (88) def. Tigers FC 12.15 (87) – Round 18, 2018 at Lauderdale Oval
Although one side made the Grand Final and one missed out on the five, Lauderdale and Tigers played out one of the most entertaining games in TSL history last season.
Tigers, trailing by 38 points at the final change, almost pulled off a remarkable comeback, kicking six goals to none in the final term to level the scores before a controversial late free kick saw Lauderdale kick a behind in the dying seconds to secure a one-point win.
Tigers will take plenty of confidence out of this effort last season, but how the side responds after the round two bye will likely play a big role in how they fare this time around.
The Tigers boat a midfield capable of knocking off the Bombers, with the likes of Kieran Lovell, Ryan Matthews and potentially Lachie Clifford forming a potent trio.
The battle of the midfields will be fascinating, with Lauderdale’s group of Walsh, Bellchambers, Franklin, Burge, Sutton and Siggins one of the competition’s deepest brigades.
It goes without saying, but the side that can get on top in the middle will go a long way to winning the game, while both defensive units will be under the pump with dangerous forwards at either end.
Luke Graham is one such forward, with the Tigers goalsneak starring when the side’s last met at Lauderdale. This time, at the feet of Mickey Paul, Graham could again be an X-Factor.
Lauderdale’s experience and class should see the hosts come out on top but expect this to be a cracking contest.
Tip: Bombers by 18 points
Players to watch:
Henry Kerinaiua (Lauderdale): The Lauderdale excitement machine has been at his classy best to start the season, kicking four goals and showing flashes of his silky skills and evasive flair. Kerinaiua appears to love playing at the Tip, so expect the X-Factor to dazzle once again this weekend.
Luke Graham (Tigers FC): One of the competition’s most underrated players, Luke Graham had a terrific 2018 campaign, kicking 29 goals including six in a stunning round 18 performance against the southern Bombers at Lauderdale Oval. Graham looms as a real danger man for Lauderdale’s defensive group.
North Hobart v Launceston – North Hobart Oval (2:00pm)
Last Time They Met: Launceston 18.17 (125) def. North Hobart 4.4 (28) – Round 16, 2018 at Windsor Park
An improving North Hobart will look to challenge the Blues, with both sides aiming to open their 2019 account with a win.
North Hobart has shown glimpses across the opening two rounds, with the likes of Sam Darley and Thomas Reeves starting the year with a bang.
The Demons do still seem to have issues hitting the scoreboard, however, with this set to be a key area of focus heading into a clash with a Launceston side that can hit the scoreboard in a hurry.
North Hobart have been good defensively – conceding five or more goals in a quarter just twice so far this campaign; and with Mitch Thorp the spearhead, this will be as crucial as ever on Saturday.
Launceston’s prime movers in Jobi Harper, Brodie Palfreyman and the returning Tim Bristow look to be finding their touch, with the former showcasing form against Lauderdale that was reminiscent of his best seasons in the TSL.
The Demons will be plucky and put up a fight, but ultimately the Blues should have too much firepower in this one.
Tip: Blues by 35 points
Players to watch:
Sam Darley (North Hobart): The former GWS Giants / Western Bulldogs player and Richmond VFL captain has slotted seamlessly into TSL footy, adding a touch of class and an experienced head to this Demons outfit. A slick mover and good user, Darley brings the best out of his younger teammates.
Hamish Leedham (Launceston): The Launceston vice-captain is a crucial cog in the Blues’ machine, providing excellent service in the ruck, while also having the capacity to push forward and impact the scoreboard. Leedham’s experience against the Demons should prove crucial.