Image: Photos by Kristi
Lauderdale may have sent an ominous warning to the rest of the competition with Saturday’s 37-point wet-weather win over the Northern Bombers, but captain Bryce Walsh insists his side can’t afford to get too carried away.
Lauderdale won its first game at UTAS Stadium since round 10, 2017 on Saturday, with the five matches between then and now including two Grand Finals and an average losing margin of 66 points.
“It was definitely a bit of a monkey off the back,” Walsh said following the win.
“To walk off the ground there with a win – it’s definitely a better feeling than what we’ve had in the past up there.”
Lauderdale impressed in wet conditions, holding up well defensively in the opening half before a three-goal to none third term broke the game open and paved the way for a win that sees Lauderdale move two games clear atop the Bupa TSL ladder.
This result, Lauderdale’s second win over the reigning premiers in 2019, shapes as a season-defining win for the 2017 and 2018 grand finalists.
“I just thought it was a full-team performance,” Walsh, 25, said.
“We didn’t rely on anyone to get the result done, we just knuckled down and adjusted to the conditions quite well. We didn’t try to do anything too fancy, we just tried to get the ball going our way and I think that worked in the end.
“It goes to show that we can win at home and that we can win away,” he said.
Such a win naturally gets tongues wagging, with Lauderdale being anointed as the new premiership favourite and team to beat.
Walsh, who received three RACT Insurance Player of the Year votes for his performance, insists that such statements may be premature, however.
“The roster games set your season up, but when push comes to shove in the finals, we will definitely see which team is the benchmark of the competition.
“We’ve lost to Glenorchy, they’ve lost to North Launnie and they’ve lost to us, so there is a bit of a love triangle at the moment going around.
“On their day anyone can beat anyone, but if we are getting mentioned in things like that (premiership favouritism), it must mean we are playing good football.”
Walsh was exceptional in Saturday’s win over the Northern Bombers at UTAS Stadium, delivering a starring performance – that included two impressive running goals – to continue a strong 2019 campaign.
While others struggled to use the ball cleanly in the wet on Saturday, the likes of Walsh came to the fore.
“For a slower bloke like me it brings everyone down to my speed (when its wet).
“I’m an in-and-under sort of player and was able to get my hands on the footy around the contest as it wasn’t flowing so fast.
“You’ve got to know your role in the team and my role is fishing the ball out to the Indigenous boys and a couple of the other quick guys. If I’m playing my role and am quick below my knees, they are able to do their job,” he said. “That’s what I’ve got to pride myself on to play good footy.”
Making Walsh’s performance all the more impressive was his capacity to shut down reigning Alastair Lynch Medalist Josh Ponting.
“Ponting is a really good player obviously, he’s won a state medal and represented the state, so we thought we needed to nullify him and his influence on the game.
“We had planned to have Nat Franklin do a job on him, but he fell crook and couldn’t play the game. Windy came to me and asked half an hour before the game if I wanted to do it and I put my hand up straight away.”
“I reckon they’re (North Launceston) just as good as they have been in previous years. Their top 10 players are the same that they’ve had the last few years. On the weekend the weather wasn’t really permitting to play a good style of football, it was more get it on your boot and get it going your way. I think we adjusted to that a bit better.”
Lauderdale will have the bye this weekend ahead of a clash with North Hobart in round 15.