By Paige Thompson
A grand final rematch looms in the first round of finals as Launceston hosts North Launceston at Windsor Park on Saturday.
Round 1 – Launceston by 55 points at UTAS Stadium
Round 8 – North Launceston by 15 points at UTAS Stadium
Round 15 – Launceston by 53 at Windsor Park
Ladder: 1st – 16 wins, 2 losses.
Past 5 games: WWWLW
Ladder: 2nd – 14 wins, 4 losses.
Past 5 games: LWWWW
Players to watch:
Jay Blackberry (Launceston) – Blackberry was awarded the Cripps Player of the Year award, deemed the best player for the 2021 season by the media. He’s been dominating across half-forward and kicked 27 goals for the year, while also averaging 22 disposals and 6 inside 50s per game.
Jake Hinds (Launceston) – Hinds is a star in the middle for Launceston, averaging 24 disposals, 5 clearances and 2 goals a game. The Northern Bombers will want to limit this onballer’s impact on the game, otherwise they could find themselves in some trouble.
Cody Thorp (Launceston) – Thorp has a physical presence like no other and has been in some ripping form of late, including a 5-goal haul against Clarence in round 20. He can cause headaches for the opposition in the ruck or in the forward 50.
Brad Cox-Goodyer (North Launceston) – The North Launceston playing-coach can always produce something special. The five-time premiership player and Alastair Lynch medallist has kicked a casual 33 goals for the season while also averaging 27 disposals and 7 clearances per game.
Brandon Leary (North Launceston) – Leary made his debut in round 4, kicked 4 goals, and never looked back. The small forward knows where the goals are, averaging just over 2 goals per game, as is incredibly quick. Launceston’s defence will need to stay one step ahead of Leary to stop him from scoring.
Jay Foon (North Launceston) – Foon is one of the best midfielders in the competition and a great game from Foon can equal a great day for North Launceston. When the Northern Bombers defeated the Blues in round 8, Foon had 28 disposals, 9 clearances, and 2 goals. Locking down Foon will be important for Launceston.
This first semi-final should be an excellent display of skill and athleticism, and the inevitable midfield battle will set up a great match.
Schedule of matches: