North Launceston bounced back onto the winners list in style on Saturday night, accounting for the previously undefeated Magpies by 48 points at UTAS Stadium.
From the ridiculous goal kicking form of Bomber skipper Brad Cox-Goodyer to the mounting injury concerns facing the Magpies, we take a look at some of the key talking points from the 14.12 (96) to 7.6 (48) result.
1. Brad Cox-Goodyer is a match-winner (if we didn’t know that already)
He’s the winner of the 2017 Alastair Lynch Medal, a two-time Baldock Medalist, the Northern Bombers’ leading TSL goakicker and a premiership player, but it is tough to see North Launceston skipper Brad Cox-Goodyer being in better form than what he is in now.
Playing predominantly as a midfielder, Cox-Goodyer is in blistering touch, with his six-goal effort against Glenorchy the perfect example of this.
Cox-Goodyer’s ability to control the engine room and drift forward to hit the scoreboard is well known, but in a tight start to this game, Cox-Goodyer kicked his side’s only two goals in the opening term to set up a handy buffer and then, with the game on the line in the second, kicked another three goals to have five by half time and set up a 39-point advantage at the main break.
This margin at the half set up the end result, but what made Cox-Goodyer’s haul all the more remarkable was the fact that five of the goals were kicked either right on or outside the 50-metre arc.
Few players can kick long-range goals as consistently as Cox-Goodyer, and by adding this to his ability to win the ball further afield at the base of packs, you have arguably the best player in the competition.
Glenorchy felt Cox-Goodyer’s wrath on Saturday night, but it is highly unlikely that the Magpies will be the only side to suffer at the hands of the Bombers skipper in 2019.
2. Bombers’ top end as good as anyone
Much has been made of the summer exodus of North Launceston premiership players, with the likes of Tom Bennett, Zach Burt, Mark Walsh, Jake Pearce and Michael Tang all big losses.
Perhaps not enough has been made of what the Bombers still have, however, with North Launceston’s A-Graders stepping up to the plate in the win over the Magpies.
With Cox-Goodyer, Taylor Whitford, Alex Lee and Josh Ponting in the engine room and Jay Foon, Jack Avent, Connor Young and Arion Richter-Salter down back, the Bombers have a host of established guns in strong form.
Add to this recruits Liam Davies, Ben Elmer and Braden van Buuren, the continued development of Sherrin Egger, James Curran, Fletcher Bennett and others, and the likes of Dakota Bannister and Bart McCulloch getting more game-time under their belt, the Bombers remain an intimidating proposition.
This star power, headlined by those in the middle of the ground, is tough for any side to compete with.
3. Magpies injury toll continues to rise
Glenorchy has been impressive across the opening month or so of the season, with this loss to North Launceston the only blimp on the radar so far.
A worrying concern, however, is the side’s mounting injury list.
Captain Brayden Webb is set to undergo scans on a serious knee injury this week after Saturday night, with hopes the key midfielder is only sidelined for four weeks and not for a longer period.
Defensive leader Josh Arnold was also forced from the field on Saturday night, injuring his shoulder after a clash with Dakota Bannister.
Arnold was taken to hospital following the incident, and although cleared of any serious damage, may be set for a stint on the sidelines as a result.
Jaye Bowden also missed much of the second half with an ankle concern, adding to an already hefty injury list of Daniel Joseph, Clinton French, Matthew Joseph and Mitch Rainbird.
Glenorchy fans will be hoping a number of these players are ok to come back sooner rather than later, with the likes of Webb, Arnold and Bowden all genuine stars of the competition.
4. Magpies youth gets great exposure
With injuries come opportunities and a raft of emerging Magpies have been thrown in the deep end.
Debutant Isaac Manson (18) took to the field as a senior player for the first time at UTAS Stadium, with this experience likely to be an instrumental one in his development.
Manson joined fellow young guns Jack Stevenson (18), Ryan Banks-Smith (18), Aaron Brennan (19) and Adam Roberts (19) in the senior side on Saturday, with all five showing at least glimpses of their potential.
Add to this a Development League win over the Northern Bombers and top spot in the Development League, Glenorchy appear to have a strong underbelly of players who can come in and play their roles.
Saturday night’s Bupa TSL result may not have gone to plan for the Magpies, but one can’t help but be positive about the development such a game against the reigning premier would offer these younger players.
5. Bart’s return
Anyone following Tasmanian football knows what Bart McCulloch is capable of.
The former Brisbane Lion player has been a staple of North Launceston sides for years now, and after a delayed pre-season, the return of the talented tall is a big boost for the reigning premier.
Kicking one goal in his return, McCulloch will be better for the run as he looks to form some synergy with fellow key forward Ben Elmer and establish himself as the side’s leading target with Tom Bennett and Zach Burt no longer at the club.
Coming through unscathed, the return of McCulloch will be a key storyline for the Northern Bombers over the next little while.