Round 14 of the 2019 Bupa Tasmanian State League season is almost upon us with a top-three battle at UTAS Stadium set to headline the weekend’s action.
North Launceston v Glenorchy at UTAS Stadium (Saturday 1:30pm)
Last time they met: Round 6 2019 – North Launceston 14.12 (96) def. Glenorchy 7.6 (48) at UTAS Stadium
Beware the beaten Bomber. That would be the word of warning Glenorchy may take on board this week with North Launceston in the rare position of coming off a loss.
The Northern Bombers aren’t used to losing in the modern era, with just six home and away season losses since the start of 2017.
This clash with Glenorchy shapes up as the perfect opportunity for the Northern Bombers to re-stamp their authority on the league against a fellow flag fancy.
Glenorchy will also be primed for this clash, with a win here set to draw the ‘Pies level with the Northern Bombers on nine wins.
This game will be a great indicator of where Glenorchy sit, with Ben Kamaric, Rhys Mott, Sam Rundle and co. set for an almighty battle with North’s deep engine room.
The Northern Bombers proved too strong for the Magpies when the sides last met in round six, and off the back of a loss, will likely be too strong once again.
The loss of Jaye Bowden through injury is a hammerblow for the ‘Pies, with their injury list now containing the likes of Bowden, Brayden Webb, Daniel Joseph, Zac Webster, Tim Butterworth, Liam Smith, Sam Hall, James Webb, Josh Grant and Chris McKnight.
Bowden’s omission may make a win on the road over the Northern Bombers a bridge too far.
Players to watch:
North Launceston – Josh Ponting
The reigning Lynch Medallist is having a strong 2019 campaign as part of a strong North Launceston on-ball brigade. Lauderdale acknowledged during the week that they had put time into curbing Ponting’s influence, so expect Glenorchy to do something similar. In his 100th game, Ponting will be hoping to have plenty to celebrate.
Glenorchy – Callen Daly
The Glenorchy livewire is putting together his best TSL campaign with 23 goals from 11 games. A dynamo as both a small forward and midfield rotation, Daly will look to use the space UTAS Stadium provides to wreak havoc.
Tip: Northern Bombers by 15 points
North Hobart v Clarence at North Hobart Oval (Saturday 2:00pm)
Last time they met: Round 6 2019 – Clarence 16.15 (111) def. North Hobart 5.9 (39) at Blundstone Arena
Both sides enter this clash in desperate need of a win, with the winless Demons languishing in seventh place and the ‘Roos remaining on just one win for the year in sixth.
Exciting young talent will be on display when the two teams meet this week, with both outfits boasting some highly talented, yet raw, young players.
As is so often the case with young talent, results and output can sometimes be inconsistent, meaning the work of experienced heads will be vitally important.
The inclusions of Sam Darley, Colin Garland and Bailey Walker are all massive for the Demons.
Both teams will be primed for this clash and desperate to break their respective losing streaks. Expect ruthless football full of desperation as a result.
Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley mentioned during the week that these two clubs have built up a fiery rivalry through junior football, and with so many young players now at the senior level, this should be on display and now translate to the field come Saturday afternoon.
Clarence, as shown in round six, look to have more reliable talent on paper, but expect a far more competitive North Hobart outing this time around.
The ‘Roos will have added motivation, with consistent defender Jason Bailey set to play his 150th match.
Players to watch:
North Hobart – Matthew Yates
An often-unheralded member of the Demons’ defence, Yates is putting together a strong season in the red and blue. Named in the bests on six occasions this year, Yates’ work out of the back half is important for this side. A good user, expect Yates to try and generate some run and carry out defence.
Clarence – Jarrod Harper
Forced to almost play as a key forward in 2019, Harper has been a reliable goals source with 14 majors so far this season. Capable of playing taller and smaller than he is, Harper will be looking to make an impact and help his side record their second win for the season.
Tip: ‘Roos by 18 points
Tigers FC v Launceston at Twin Ovals (Saturday 2:00pm)
Last time they met: Round 6 2019 – Launceston 19.5 (119) def. Tigers FC 8.7 (55) at Windsor Park
This promises to be an important match-up in the lead up to finals football, with the Tigers looking to stay in touch with the fourth-placed Blues and further entrench themselves in the top five.
Launceston has received a big boost with the return of Dylan Riley, while Jobi Harper, Fletcher Seymour, Jay Blackberry and Mitch Thorp are all putting together strong bodies of work this season.
Tim Bristow is also a big inclusion for the Blues, adding greater depth to an already star-studded midfield unit.
If Lovell, Matthews and Clifford can get on top of the Blues in the engine room, the Tigers will be able to generate enough inside 50s to kick a winning score – even with key target Mickey Paul out of action.
The Blues will fancy their advantage forward of centre, though. With Thorp and Riley inside 50, the Tigers will have one hell of a challenge in restricting the visitors’ scoreboard pressure.
Players to watch:
Tigers FC – Sam Duigan
The crafty half forward is a quiet achiever in the yellow and black. Capable of hitting the scoreboard and using the ball well further afield, expect Duigan to team up with the likes of Luke Graham inside 50, but to also rotate through the middle.
Launceston – Hamish Leedham
One of the state’s best ruckmen, Leedham will look to get on top of Marcus Gardner in the air and around the ground to give his star-studded midfield first use. Both midfield groups have enviable potency, so the ruck battle here will be as important as ever.
Tip: Blues by 10 points