Round nine Bupa TSL action offers up three games in the state’s south, with the ‘Roos hosting the reigning premiers, North Hobart heading to Skybus Oval and Glenochy meeting the Blues at KGV.
Clarence v North Launceston at Blundstone Arena (Saturday 2pm)
Last time they met:
Round 2, 2019 – North Launceston 7.15 (57) def. Clarence 5.6 (36) at UTAS Stadium
Clarence, coming off the bye, will be desperate to put in a strong performance against the ladder leaders.
The ‘Roos typically match-up pretty well against the Northern Bombers but with an inexperienced outfit, will have a big mountain to climb.
The ‘Roos have had an underwhelming start to the 2019 season with just one win to date.
A disappointing loss to the Tigers in round seven saw the side enter the bye with questions to answer. A big test against the reigning premier awaits, and a competitive four-quarter effort here could be the spark the men from the Eastern Shore need to jump-start their campaign and quest for a finals berth.
A key area of growth and positivity out of Blundstone Arena is the side’s injection of youth, with players like Adrian Butterworth and Oscar Paprotny becoming staples of this side. The more senior footy experience they get, the better equipped they will be. Expect a spirited performance from such youngsters at home against the competition’s benchmark.
Player to watch – Brady Jones
The Clarence skipper has quietly been putting together a terrific season, with the midfield general consistently among the ‘Roos very best.
Up against a midfield group boasting names like Cox-Goodyer, Ponting, Tepper and Whitford, Jones will need to be at his usual best for the ‘Roos to break even.
The Northern Bombers, despite significant list changes across the off season, remain one of the teams to beat in 2019 and sit atop the ladder after eight rounds.
With a star-studded midfield group boasting names like Cox-Goodyer, Ponting and Whitford, the Northern Bombers have also rolled players like Jordan Tepper, Karlton Wadley and Jack Rushton through the middle in recent weeks as they continue to add extra strings to their already potent bow.
Bart McCulloch and Dakota Bannister are forming a strong combination forward of centre, while the versatility of Sherrin Egger provides the team with added X-Factor.
Alex Lee is one of the competition’s form ruckmen, and up against a returning Ryan Bailey, will have a key role to play in providing his star-studded midfield brigade with first use.
The inclusion of Devils pair Rhyan Mansell and Ben Simpson will also provide the Bombers with plenty of tackle pressure, run and class.
Player to watch – Jack Rushton
The former Blue has been a more-than-handy addition to this North Launceston outfit, providing the side with manic forward pressure but also as a tackling presence around stoppages. Rushton looks to be getting better and better as the season progresses.
Tip – Northern Bombers by 48 points
Lauderdale v North Hobart at Skybus Oval (Saturday 2pm)
Last time they met:
Round 1, 2019 – North Hobart 8.10 (58) def. by Lauderdale 16.15 (111) at North Hobart Oval
The Southern Bombers will be looking to continue its strong start to 2019 against the Demons, although after a string of highly competitive efforts, Bear Robinson’s men have shown that they are not a team to be underestimated.
The Southern Bombers are humming along rather nicely, bouncing back from a loss to Glenorchy – the side’s only blemish to date in 2019 – with a strong win on the road over Launceston.
With an even spread of contributors across the field, but particularly in the engine room and forward of centre, Lauderdale are a difficult team to stop.
Sam Siggins has transformed himself into a match-winning midfielder, while Phil Bellchambers, Nat Franklin and Bryce Walsh are all putting together strong campaigns.
Throw in a forward group of Jacob Gillbee, Matt Elliot, Henry Kerinauia and Ben McGuinness, and you have enough firepower to give any opposition coach cold sweats.
While this synergy is still coming together, Lauderdale should have too much firepower for the Dees.
Player to watch – Haydn Smith
As one of the competition’s best ruckmen, Smith will be looking to get the better of the more inexperienced Demons ruck Ole Angerstein. Smith is a competitive beast and works well around the ground to provide his teammates with an outlet kick down the line, while also drifting forward to hit the scoreboard.
When the Demons last met the Bombers, the margin was just eight points at the final change. While a 53-point loss was to come, North Hobart showed on this occasion and in more recent games against both North Launceston and Glenorchy, that their best footy can be competitive with the competition’s pacesetters for extended periods.
As a result, a four-quarter effort will be the emphasis heading into this one, with Lauderdale able to take a game away from an opponent in a hurry.
The expected loss of Colin Garland through injury will hurt the Demons, with the veteran’s experience, game sense and height inside forward 50 giving the side much greater potency.
Player to watch – Angus Norton
A nuggety player with good skills and an enormous hunger for the contest, Angus Norton can get under the skin of opponents. Expect Norton to take it up to the more experienced Lauderdale midfield group. With Norton around, opposing midfielders know that they are going to have to earn every disposal they get.
Tip – Bombers by 40 points
Glenorchy v Launceston at KGV Oval (Saturday 2pm)
Last time they met:
Round 1, 2019 – Launceston 5.10 (40) def. by Glenorchy 9.15 (69) at Windsor Park
The Magpies and Blues meet for the second time this season at KGV, with both sides coming into the side in reasonable touch.
The injury-hit Magpies have had just the one blemish so far in 2019, and with impressive wins over Lauderdale and North Hobart across the last fortnight, remain as one of the competition’s top outfits.
Despite being hit by injuries to leaders Daniel Joseph, Brayden Webb, Clinton French, Mitch Rainbird and Josh Arnold, the side has kept on keeping on.
With Harrison Gunther assuming the captaincy in recent weeks, Ben Kamaric continuing his impressive season in the middle and the duo of Aiden Grace and Cal Daly firing inside 50, the Magpies have an enviable spread of contributors.
Expect the ‘Pies to be a touch too strong at home.
Player to watch – Sam Rundle
The former Blue will be raring to perform against his former side. One of the Magpies’ most consistent performers to date, expect Rundle to again play a crucial role through the middle of the park.
The Blues have been solid so far in 2019, with last week’s loss to Lauderdale the side’s first since round four.
With a midfield considered by many to be one of the best in the state, the likes of Brodie Palfreyman, Jobi Harper, Tim Bristow and Fletcher Seymour have been in consistently damaging touch.
With the continued improvement of players like Casey Brown and Jake Smith, the Blues have even contributors across the park and should be able to match it with the Magpies for extended periods.
Keep your eyes peeled on the ruck duel between Hamish Leedham and Cameron Duffy. Both are strong tap ruckmen and as mobile targets across the park. The player who exerts more influence over the game will go a long way to winning this contest for their side.
Player to watch – Alec Wright
With coach Mitch Thorp missing through suspension, Wright – who has been playing between forward and defence – may need to hold down a key position inside forward 50.
With the Magpies boasting one of the competition’s best defences, Wright will be crucial to the Blues’ hopes.
Tip – Magpies by 18 points