The final round of the Bupa Tasmanian State League season is upon us, with teams looking to either finish their season on a high or build some momentum heading into finals football.
North Hobart v Clarence – North Hobart Oval (Friday 6:30pm)
Last time they met: North Hobart 16.4 (100) def. Clarence 5.15 (45) – Round 14, 2019 at North Hobart Oval
The 2019 season has been a challenging one for both the Demons and ‘Roos, with the seventh and sixth placed teams forced to resign themselves to a finals-free season since midway through the campaign.
Both teams have shown plenty of promising signs across the back half of the year, however, to fill the loyal supporter bases of each club with great optimism for the future.
North Hobart, led by Sam Darley, Colin Garland, Nathan McCulloch and Hugh Williams, have a strong group of older heads to support an abundance of up and coming talent, that now has plenty of senior experience under their belt.
Callum Kilpatrick has come on in leaps and bounds this season, while the likes of Austin Keeling, Bailey Walker and Axel Moore have also shown great development.
Clarence are in a similar position, with Brady Jones, Jeromey Webberley and the Bailey brothers providing great support and guidance to the next wave of ‘Roos like Jacob Smith, James Bealey, Jack Preshaw and Oscar Paprotny.
The ‘Roos have two wins and three losses since their last bye; and with one of these losses being a narrow defeat to Glenorchy, Clarence will finish the year as one of the competition’s form sides.
The loss of Ryan Bailey will hurt in the ruck, but Clarence appear to be a little more developed than the Demons and will have a point to prove after being dismantled when the sides last met. This promises to be a cracking encounter between two sides on the rise, but Clarence should be too strong.
Players to watch:
North Hobart – Ollie Di Venuto
The North Hobart veteran will be playing his final senior game this weekend, fittingly against a club he also spent time with. Di Venuto’s best football is behind him, but his tenacity and work rate can never be denied. Expect a typically strong showing from ‘Diva’ in his final game.
Tip: ‘Roos by 15 points
Launceston v Tigers FC – Windsor Park (Saturday 2:00pm)
Last time they met: Tigers FC 9.10 (64) def. by Launceston 16.11 (107) – Round 14, 2019 at Twin Ovals
This looms as a curious contest, with these two sides set to meet again in a week’s time for a big Elimination Final at the same venue.
Such a scenario beggars the question as to whether each side will show their whole hand, or whether they will keep something up their sleeve for the next week.
The Blues have had the wood over the Tigers at Windsor Park, with the southern side yet to taste success at the venue since joining the competition in 2014.
Launceston, fresh from the bye, will look to finish the home and away season with a bang and recapture their mid-season form heading into a big finals campaign; while the Tigers will be after a response after last week’s disappointing loss to Clarence.
Expect an entertaining contest, but for each team to keep a trick or two up their sleeve for next weekend. The Blues at home should be too strong here, but this should be an appetising entrée to the main course next week.
Players to watch:
Launceston – Hamish Leedham
One of the state’s premier ruckmen, Leedham will look to get on top of Hugh Johnston and Marcus Gardner to stamp his authority at the coalface. The Tiger duo were beaten by ‘Roo Ryan Bailey last weekend and will likely make a big response. As a result, Leedham’s role will be critical.
Tigers FC – Tyler Carter
The tall Tiger has 24 goals for the season – his best return and sixth for the competition. Forming a potent combination with Michael Paul, Marcus Gardner, Luke Graham and Elijah Reardon, Carter may be able to run riot if he falls down Launceston’s list of priorities. Not a player to take lightly.
Tip: Blues by 24 points
Glenorchy v North Launceston – KGV Oval (Saturday 5:30pm)
Last time they met: North Launceston 18.22 (130) def. Glenorchy 6.7 (43) – Round 14, 2019 at UTAS Stadium
The injury-hit Magpies enter this clash in strong form after knocking over Tigers and Lauderdale in the last fortnight.
A meeting with the ladder-leading Northern Bombers looms as another type of challenge, but one Paul Kennedy’s side will be setting themselves for.
North Launceston are the competition’s form side at the moment, winning four games in a row since being upset by the Tigers back in round 15.
With North Launceston’s week one finals bye, this will be an important game for team selection, game plan development and confidence. As a result don’t expect the reigning premiers to take this one lightly.
Another interesting subplot to this game is the Hudson medal race between Magpie Aiden Grace and Bomber Brad Cox-Goodyer. Grace currently sits three goals clear of the North Launceston skipper, but is no guarantee to play after injuring his leg late in last weekend’s win.
If Cox-Goodyer can run riot, he is every chance to overtake his Glenorchy rival, particularly if Glenorchy err on the side of caution heading into finals.
Players to watch:
Glenorchy – Jaye Bowden
Ok, we all know that the Glenorchy stalwart is worth the price of admission every week; but Bowden looks to be managing his injury concerns relatively well and is delivering some strong football as a result. Bowden booted three and looked ominous against Lauderdale before spending the second half across half back. Will again play a variety of roles.
North Launceston – Brad Cox-Goodyer
The North Launceston skipper has done everything in the TSL – except for claiming a Hudson Medal as the competition’s leading goalkicker. Three goals adrift of Glenorchy’s Aiden Grace, the midfielder could potentially storm home with a big final round.
Tip: Northern Bombers by 20 points