Round 16 of the Bupa Tasmanian State League is just around the corner, with a top-three showdown at Windsor Park set to headline proceedings.
A familiar face is set to make his long-awaited @Lauderdale_FC return in round 16.
— Bupa TSL (@TasStateLeague) July 18, 2019
North Launceston v Clarence at UTAS Stadium (Saturday 2:00pm)
Last time they met: Clarence 8.6 (54) def. by North Launceston 20.16 (136) – Round 9, 2019 at Blundstone Arena
The Northern Bombers will be raring to respond after last weekend’s shock loss to the Tigers on the road.
A clash with the developing ‘Roos looms as a good opportunity for the reigning premiers, particularly with this match set to be the side’s last game at UTAS Stadium for the season.
Clarence, off the bye, will have one hell of a task trying to curtail the influence of a star-studded and likely hurting North Launceston outfit.
Josh Ponting, Brad Cox-Goodyer, Jordan Tepper and Taylor Whitford remains as dangerous a quartet as a midfield group can be, meaning the efforts of Brady Jones and youngsters Sam Lewis-Johnson and Ethan Jackson will be paramount.
The fitness of big men Bart McCulloch and Alex Lee will be something to watch, with their presence set to give the Bombers a big advantage against a younger, more inexperienced opponent. With Zac Buechner manfully playing the role of full back for the ‘Roos in recent weeks, the Northern Bombers will be looking to take full toll of their height inside 50.
Players to watch:
North Launceston – Liam Davies
A pacy wingman, Davies looks to be his hitting his straps at senior TSL level. The Ulverstone product has slotted seamlessly into life as a TSL player and provides great run, carry and skill to this team. Built for the wide expanses of UTAS Stadium.
Clarence – Ryan Bailey
The 2018 TSL Team of the Year ruckman will be looking to strike should tall Bomber duo Alex Lee and Bart McCulloch still be out due to injury. A strong tap ruckman and excellent around the ground, Bailey will need to be a key cog if Clarence are to take it up to the reigning premiers.
Tip: Northern Bombers by 42 points
North Hobart v Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval (Saturday 2:00pm)
Last time they met: North Hobart 6.11 (47) def. by Glenorchy 12.20 (92) – Round 8, 2019 at North Hobart Oval
The Magpies are in need of a win but come up against a highly competitive North Hobart outfit this week.
Glenorchy has been rocked by injuries to key players in recent weeks, with the Magpies set to be sweating on the fitness of Jaye Bowden and Trad Duggan, who both went down with injuries last week.
The Demons, who at times have presented a locked-in victory to some teams, loom as a different beast at the moment with a drought-breaking win over Clarence a fortnight ago backed up with a commendable, hard-fought loss to Lauderdale in difficult conditions.
With Sam Darley, Nathan McCulloch, Colin Garland and Hugh Williams leading the charge, the Demons have a strong group of experienced heads to support the abundance of youth coming through.
The Demons will likely be setting themselves for this clash against a wounded rival, but even with injuries considered, it is difficult to see the Magpies dropping this one.
Expect the likes of Cameron Duffy, Ben Kamaric, Callen Daly, James Webb and Harrison Gunther to come to the fore and steer their side over the line.
Players to watch:
North Hobart – Thomas Reeves
The speedy Demon has impressed at both TSL and NAB League level in 2019. Likely to play on a wing or as a half-forward, Reeves can be thrown inside 50 as an avenue to goal or as a midfielder. Plays with plenty of hunger and can expose opposition with his run on the outside.
Glenorchy – Aiden Grace
The key Glenorchy target has been in strong form all season. Even in last week’s loss Grace looked on-song, with three goals early in the piece. The Demons will need to have some strong plans in place to curb Grace’s influence, with the Lefroy Medallist equally dangerous in the air and at ground level. If you give Grace an inch, he’ll take a mile.
Tip: Magpies by 30 points
Launceston v Lauderdale at Windsor Park (Saturday 2:00pm)
Last time they met: Launceston 10.8 (68) def. by Lauderdale 12.14 (86) – Round 8, 2019 at Windsor Park
The Blues and Bombers look to be two of 2019’s biggest flag contenders.
Lauderdale sit two games clear on top of the ladder and have earned premiership favouritism for their consistent form across the entire season.
Launceston on the other hand, has overcome a somewhat sluggish start to now sit in third and be the competition’s form side, excluding Lauderdale.
Hamish Leedham and Haydn Smith promises to be a fascinating battle in the ruck, while two big-bodied midfield groups led by Jobi Harper, Fletcher Seymour, Bryce Walsh and Sam Siggins offers another crucial battle to keep an eye on.
Launceston may look to expose Lauderdale with its multi-faceted forward group; however Lauderdale’s defensive group has been consistent in its performance all season.
Lauderdale look to have the more experienced and hardened side, and with just one loss for the season to date, have done nothing to warrant being tipped against.
If the Blues break through, however, the premiership race might just have another fancy.
Players to watch:
Launceston – Tim Bristow
The 2011 Lynch Medallist looks to be regaining his fitness and playing superb football as a result. As evidenced by his dominant performance against Glenorchy last weekend. Had 15 clearances last weekend, an area of the ground Lauderdale pride themselves on.
Lauderdale – Robbie McManus
One of the more experienced members of this Lauderdale team, McManus is playing some outstanding football at the moment. Kicked two outstanding goals to be the spark in last weekend’s win over the Demons, while also emerged as one of the best players when these sides last met at Windsor Park.
Tip: Southern Bombers by 18 points