Any doubts over North Launceston’s legitimacy as a 2019 premiership threat were swiftly cast aside under the lights of UTAS Stadium on Saturday, with the Northern Bombers recording a comprehensive 113-point thumping of the Tigers. The reigning premiers insist, however, that there is still plenty of room for improvement moving forward.
Following an important 11-point win over an improving North Hobart side, North Launceston’s standing as the competition’s pacesetter had been challenged this season, with the likes of Glenorchy and Lauderdale – the latter of which defeated the Northern Bombers – also firming as genuine heavyweights across the opening third of the season.
An improving Tigers outfit posed another challenge to Taylor Whitford’s side, but one that was ultimately swiftly dealt with, with the Northern Bombers turning a 14-point quarter time advantage into a 113-point thumping by the time the final siren sounded.
Coach Taylor Whitford conceded that this performance was as good as any his side has delivered in 2019, but remains steadfast that his side has a lot of work to do if it is to reach and repeat the lofty heights of recent seasons.
“It’s probably the first week we have had even contributors right across the field,” Whitford said to media on Monday.
“Realistically Brad (Cox-Goodyer), Josh (Ponting) and Alex (Lee) have had to shoulder a massive load thus far and to get contributions from 22 on the weekend is something we are looking to do moving forward.
“We were able to win the contest inside the footy. It started with Alex Lee in the ruck – he was super – Brad (Cox-Goodyer) and Josh (Ponting) around the footy. Then with Jordan Tepper, Jack Rushton and Karlton Wadley around the ball we were able to get it forward and put them under a little more pressure with Bart McCulloch and Dakota Bannister firing up forward.”
This even contribution, although pleasing the coach, is far from a finished product.
“It can’t just be a one-week thing,” Whitford said.
“We have got to continually keep doing it this week against Clarence and then go into two weeks off after that, so we need to get it right this week and then re-assess.”
After a loss to Lauderdale on the road in round five, the Northern Bombers have recorded a big win over Glenorchy and an arguably unconvincing win over the Demons before this demolition of the Tigers.
Whitford concedes the fluctuations in standard of performance needs to be addressed, but also points to the benefits of playing in different styles of game.
“It is about doing it on a consistent basis. You can be up one week and down the next, and that’s not going to fit in this competition with Launceston looking to really improve and Lauderdale and Glenorchy being really strong sides.
“We just can’t have those ups and downs. We are at round eight, so we have a lot of improvement to do.
“On the weekend was probably a different game and a different scenario to the week before. We were down by five points with five minutes to go last week and up by 80 points at three quarter time this week.
“It was a really good learning opportunity for the group to be in different situations all the time. We need to be able to take learnings out of both last week and this week, and that probably will be the thing going forward, that is what did we do well and what didn’t we do well in the first half that we can do this week against Clarence.”
North Launceston will face the ‘Roos at Blundstone Arena in round nine before the round 10 bye and break weekend that follows.