By Hamish Spence
The Tigers have beaten North Launceston for the first time and arguably recorded the best win in the history of their club, with an 18-point victory at Twin Ovals on Saturday.
The Tigers led at all stages in tough and wet conditions, to leave as 9.10 (64) to 6.10 (46) winners. It was a vast turnaround for the Tigers, who lost to North Launceston by 113 points when they last met in Round 8.
North Launceston stayed in touch in the second half, but could not overcome the lead they conceded in the first half. They were hurt by key forward Bart McCulloch being a late out.
The first quarter quickly started for the Tigers, with a Beau Adams goals in the opening minutes.
Both teams then struggled to score the next goal, with the wet conditions limiting their opportunities.
Taylor Whitford eventually broke the lull to get the visitor’s first.
Lachie Clifford finished off a nice passage of play, to give the Tigers a five-point lead at quarter time.
The Tigers started the second quarter with two important goals from Kieran Lovell and Tyler Carter, to give the hosts a handy lead in low scoring conditions.
Taylor Whitford stood up once again, with a ripper goal for his second.
Elijah Reardon kicked a great bender in red time, to extend the Tiger lead to 17 points at half-time.
Karlton Wadley started the third quarter by converting an important set shot for the Northern Bombers.
Luke Graham quickly responded, when he was rewarded for his great tackle and snapped an easy goal from around his body.
There was another drought of goals, with both teams struggling to capitalise on their opportunities.
Elijah Reardon eventually gathered the ball, snapped and kicked his second. Kieran Lovell ran the full length of the field, with two repeated efforts, to create that opportunity.
Taylor Whitford kicked another brilliant goal for his third, to get the margin back to 15 points at the final break.
Elijah Reardon snapped another goal for his third, to put the Tigers in a strong position at the start of the last.
Ben Elmer then got on a roll, he kicked the next two goals to reduce the margin to just ten points.
The game hung in the balance for the next ten minutes, with both sides missing opportunities on goal.
Lachie Clifford slammed a big ball inside 50, which Tyler Carter got on the end off for a great contested mark in the goal square. He immediately kicked the goal and put the game beyond doubt, leaving the Tigers as 18-point winners.
Kieran Lovell was his usual prolific self, accumulating 39 disposals in the trying conditions. It looked like he had a different ball at times in the wet weather, impressing with his efforts around the ball and with a classy snapped goal.
Tyler Carter had a big influence on the game, despite the conditions being far from ideal for a big man. He competed hard as a back-up ruckman and was influential up forward with two goals.
Jarryd Drew and Will Poland were both strong in defence and a key reason why the Northern Bombers only kicked six goals for the match.
North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford was his side’s best. He was lively up the ground and damaging in the forward line, finishing with three great goals kicked from tight congested situations.
Joshua Ponting stood up, as usual, around the contest. His effort was noticeable and he gave everything in the tough conditions.
Tigers coach Trent Baumeler said the win was big for the club’s history and future.
“That’s a massive win for the club, it’s probably, I’d say, the biggest win in our history. We’ve never beaten North ‘Launie before in the competition and it’s the first time we’ve got past four wins.”
He was pleased that they claimed a big scalp against a team above them.
“We’ve been busting our tails trying to beat a team above us on the ladder this year and we’ve finally done it today, which is really good.”
He said the win was a good reward for all the hard work they have put in.
“It’s pleasing to see all the habits that we’ve been putting in guys over the last year. It’s all starting to pay off for them,” he said.
“It’s important to reward ourselves with some wins and if we can’t take something out of beating probably the best team in the comp, you know they’ve been the best team for the last five years, so we’ve got to take something out of that.”
North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford said his team was not able to win ugly in the wet conditions.
I guess for us we’ve got to be able to win pretty and win ugly as well, and I guess we weren’t able to do that from my point of view anyway.”
He said they improved in the second half, but had left a deficit too great to overcome.
“Going into half-time, with the way we played in the first half, it probably didn’t allow us to win the game. So, we had to win some respect back in the second half and I think we did that, we did grind. It was just too far to come back from that.”
He had high praise for Josh Ponting, who still performed in the trying conditions.
“You know what you’re going to get from him week in and week out, and that’s the beauty of Josh,” he said.
“It was disappointing that we couldn’t have another 21 guys with him today, because if they played to his standard we probably would’ve gotten over the top.”
Tigers: 2.1, 5.4, 7.6, 9.10 (64)
North Launceston: 1.2, 2.5, 4.9, 6.10 (46)
Tigers: E. Reardon (3), T. Carter (2), L. Clifford, L. Graham, K. Lovell, B. Adams
North Launceston: T. Whitford (3), B. Elmer (2), K. Wadley
Tigers: K. Lovell, J. Drew, W. Poland, B. Adams, T. Carter, S. Rice
North Launceston: T. Whitford, D. Bannister, J. Ponting, C. Young, K. Wadley, C. Pearton
The Tigers have the bye and then face the ladder leaders, Lauderdale, on Saturday the 27th of July at 2:00pm at Skybus Oval.
North Launceston host Clarence next Saturday at 2:00pm at UTAS Stadium.