The 2019 #BUPATSL season saw the Tigers make their most significant strides since joining the competition, with a number of milestones reached.
With the most wins in the club’s history resulting in a maiden finals berth, the Tigers also notched their first win over powerhouse North Launceston and their biggest score and biggest winning margin (both against North Hobart in round 18).
A key figure in this year of firsts was recruit Kieran Lovell, who delivered on his reputation with a brilliant individual season alongside workhorse Ryan Matthews in the middle of the ground.
Fellow recruits Michael Paul, Elijah Reardon and Jarryd Drew all added plenty throughout the season, while the continued improvement of Sam Duigan, Lochie Griggs and young defenders Blake McCulloch and Will Poland also proved crucial in the side moving up the ladder.
Paul and Reardon, alongside Tyler Carter, Marcus Gardner and Luke Graham formed a potent forward line that helped the Tigers kick nearly 200 more points and jump 18% from 2018. This is still an area of focus for the Tigers, though, with the team kept to 55 points or less on eight occasions throughout the year – including the Elimination Final.
The Tigers blooded some exciting young talent throughout the season with the likes of Alex Bessell, Ben Graham and Patrick Kelly all showing plenty to indicate that they will be valuable long-term senior TSL contributors.
Making the finals was a huge achievement for the club, and despite going down to the Blues in disappointing fashion, it looms as an experience that will hold the side in good stead moving into next season. Throw in the fact that the club’s Development League side fell just one kick short of the premiership and that midfielder Will Campbell and defender Jake Doran will return from long-term injuries and 2020 promises to be another big year for the Tigers.
5th, 6-12, 86.08%, Elimination Final exit
Tyler Carter – 27
Michael Paul – 27
Luke Graham – 21
Team of the Year Representatives: 2
Kieran Lovell (Rover)
Ryan Matthews (Int)
Best and Fairest:
Kieran Lovell claimed the Tigers’ Best & Fairest, finishing clear of second-placed Ryan Matthews and Marcus Davies in fourth.
Kieran Lovell was one of the front runners for the 2019 Alastair Lynch Medal, polling 21 votes – just two short of eventual winner Josh Ponting.
Lovell had a remarkably consistent season, polling votes in nine separate matches, including maximum threes in rounds four, five, 11 and 20.
Ryan Matthews was next best, picking up 12 votes to finish equal sixth, with eight of his votes coming across the final four games of the season.
Jarryd Drew (five votes) and Tyler Carter (three) were the next best vote-getters from Tigerland.
RACT Insurance Player of the Year:
Midfield warrior Ryan Matthews was the standout Tiger according to the media, polling 10 votes across seven matches to finish equal eighth overall. Interestingly, Matthews never polled the maximum of three.
Kieran Lovell was next best with eight votes, which included two best afield efforts in rounds four and 15.
Making the finals was clearly a highlight for the club, but a terrific 18-point win over eventual premiers North Launceston in round 15 will go down as one of the season’s most memorable moments.
North Launceston entered the game off the back of a whopping 87-point win over the Magpies, while the Tigers were desperate to snap a two-game losing streak and defeat the northern powerhouse for the first time since joining the competition.
Everything clicked for the Tigers, leading at every change and defending impeccably to restrict the Bombers to just six goals for the game.
This win also saw the Tigers move four games clear of both Clarence and North Hobart, essentially securing the club’s first senior #BUPATSL Finals appearance.
The Tigers’ lowlight probably came against North Launceston as well, with the Northern Bombers delivering a clinical 113-point drubbing at UTAS Stadium in round eight.
The hosts were simply awesome, with Brad Cox-Goodyer (five goals) leading the way in a one-sided affair. The Tigers, kept to just one goal in the first half and three for the game, had no answers, suffering their heaviest defeat for the season with North Launceston piling on 20 goals from 36 scoring shots. Although a disappointing outing, this clash went on to make the round 15 win all the sweeter.
The Tigers would also be ruing missed opportunities against Glenorchy in round 19 (a 23-point loss despite having seven more scoring shots) and Clarence in round 20’s Gadomski-Riewoldt Trophy clash.
2019 In Three Words:
Big leaps made