By Alex FitzGerald
North Launceston have ended their home and away season on a strong note, with the Northern powerhouse easily accounting for a young Glenorchy outfit to the tune of 51 points under lights at KGV Oval on a wet and wild Saturday evening to finish two games clear in top spot on the BUPA TSL ladder.
The Bombers made the most of the good conditions early to take a 31-point lead into the main change, before torrential rain all but ended any hope of a comeback for the home side, with the final score a convincing 12.11 (83) to 4.8 (32) in the Bombers’ favour.
Such were the conditions that North Launceston finished the match with just 12 players on the field, with almost half of the side hitting the showers early after it became apparent they had the four points in the bag.
Glenorchy headed into the game without Jaye Bowden, who was rested, and started well, matching the Bombers until red-time in the first term, before the visitors booted two fast majors to head into the first change ahead by ten points.
The Bombers then piled on four more unanswered goals in the following quarter to stamp their authority on the match, with onballers Brad Cox-Goodyer and Josh Ponting putting in typically strong performances around the ball.
Cox-Goodyer’s dominance saw him earn two votes in the RACT Insurance Player of the Year award, with the goalkicking midfielder leapfrogging emerging Launceston star Fletcher Seymour to claim the prestigious award by one point.
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The second half saw just five goals scored due to the downpour, with both coaches unlikely to read too much into the final hour of their respective home and away seasons.
North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford was pleased with the way his side tackled the evening, knowing full well that the result would have no bearing on their secure ladder position.
“We probably took a bit out of the first quarter in that Glenorchy came to play and it took us a bit of a while to adjust defensively,” he said.
“We were really happy with the way we played in the second (quarter) and then how we adapted in the second half to the rain.”
“To kick that score in those conditions is pretty promising.”
Whitford spoke of trying to balance giving players game time ahead of their finals bye, while also managing his charges in such trying conditions.
He summed up his thoughts on his side’s endeavour with one line.
“I don’t think we had a bad player on the night.”
Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy was in awe of the conditions post-match
“It was amazing with the amount of rain that fell,” he said.
“After such a clean start, it became like a game of juniors in the last quarter where everyone was just kicking the ball off the ground.”
“It was a strange way to finish off the (home and away) season.”
Despite the result, the Magpies had a minor win on the evening, with Aiden Grace securing the Hudson Medal as the competition’s leading goal scorer, booting two goals to finish with 48 majors ahead of the finals.
200-gamer Josh Arnold also kicked a goal in his milestone match, with the efforts of young defensive duo Nathan Blowfield and Cameron Goodsell earning the glowing praise of Kennedy.
Key Magpies Cal Daly and Zac Webster face a race to be fit ahead of next week’s Qualifying Final against Lauderdale after both suffering corked legs, while Sam Hall seems unlikely after injuring his knee.
Kennedy, however, was focusing on the positives.
“We’ll put tonight behind us pretty quick,” he said.
“Our record has put us in a spot where we’re a chance, and now for finals a ‘new season’ starts.”
“Lauderdale are a really good team; we’ve got a good rivalry with them and they’ll be wanted to bounce back after last week, so bring it on.”
Whitford’s Bombers will have the week off after earning the bye, but they won’t be resting on their laurels, with the premiership favourites taking on the winner of the Qualifying Final in a fortnight’s time.
“We’ll train as normal this week and then train again on Saturday to get a big session in,” Whitford said.
“We’ll have a look at the result between Lauderdale and Glenorchy and then prepare that second week as is.”
North Launceston 4.3, 8.7, 11.10, 12.11 (83)
Glenorchy 2.5, 3.6, 3.7, 4.8 (32)
North Launceston: W. Edmunds 2, T. Whitford 2, B. Cox-Goodyer 2, J. Ponting, B. McCulloch, D, Bannister, J. Foon, B. Donnelly, J. Rushton
Glenorchy : A. Grace 2, C. Daly, J. Arnold
North Launceston: B. Cox-Goodyer, J. Ponting, J.Avent, L. Davies, J. Foon, W. Edmunds
Glenorchy : J. Arnold, N. Blowfield, Z. Webster, C. Goodsell, A. Brennan, W. Atkin