By Simon Andrews
Round 16 of the 2022 TSL season is shaping up to be one of the very best. It looms as an integral weekend for all involved, with the race for finals actions at its hottest, vital percentage boosts in high demand and momentum integral.
Lauderdale vs Clarence
Round 4: Clarence 14.14 (98) def. Lauderdale 13.15 (93)
Round 10: Lauderdale 15.13 (103) def. Clarence 8.14 (62)
The Southern Bombers and the Roos will meet for the third time this season at Skybus Oval in Round 16. In their first meeting in Round 4, Clarence managed a thrilling comeback win, coming back from a two-goal deficit at the final break. The Bombers answered back in Round 10, claiming the Speak Up! Stay ChatTY Cup with a 41-point win at Blundstone Arena.
Heading into Round 14, Lauderdale and Clarence sit 3rd and 4th on the TSL ladder with only 0.3% separating the two rivals. The long-held eastern shore rivalry will be in full force this weekend as a win for either team will see them take a big step forward into a possible finals spot.
With a damp track and inconsistent weather conditions at Lauderdale, both sides will have to bring their best to what will be a highly contested and pressurised game of football. In conditions such as these both sides could gain the upper hand in unique ways. On one hand, the Roos could gain the upper hand due to their superior tackle count, ranking in the top 2 for total, midfield and effective tackles – while the Bombers are the polar opposite (ranked in the bottom 2 for each). However, Lauderdale’s general play may see them take charge, ranked first for contested disposals in the TSL, while the Roos sit in sixth place.
Lauderdale star and assistant coach Allen Christensen spoke about the importance of this weekend’s matchup and how the Bombers can rise above on their home deck.
“It’s huge, in the whole context of the season, both teams know the ramifications if we don’t win.
“It’s probably the biggest eastern shore game thats been played in a while.
“They (Clarence) move the ball fast, as hopefully with the ground the way it is and our defensive system we can stop their flow, because when they get going they’re pretty hard to stop”
Clarence coach Peter Ryan isn’t shying away from the fact that this game and next weeks match against North Launceston will make or break the Roos’ season.
“We lose both games I don’t think mathematically we can play finals – we can’t afford any slip-ups.
“The side that puts their head over the footy and fights to win the contested ball is going to come out on top.
Launceston vs North Launceston
Round 4: Launceston 18.22 (130) def. North Launceston 3.5 (23)
Round 10: Launceston 15.13 (103) def. North Launceston 6.9 (45)
One of the fiercest and highest quality rivalries in State Football is the Launceston Derby. The Blues have overcome the Northern Bombers in their past three meetings, which includes the 2021 Grand Final and two 50+ point victories in 2022, however 18 straight losses prior to 2020 will be fresh in the memory of Blues’ fans.
Launceston will be hoping to hold their standing as the best Northern side as the face-off for the last time before a potential finals matchup. Meanwhile North Launceston will aim to make a statement at Windsor Park in order to send a message to their cross-town rivals and strive towards the top four.
North Launceston will need to be solid as a rock in defence, with the Blues having notched up 100+ point performances in 10 Rounds this year. meanwhile the Bombers have only managed this on three occasions in 2022. The Northern Bombers can learn a lot from their Southern namesakes. Who managed to keep the Blues to just 62 points in Round 6 while handing them their only loss of the year.
Launceston head coach Mitch Thorp discussed both the Launceston rivalry and their preparation for the weekend ahead.
“These two clubs just don’t like each-other.. full stop”
“(North Launceston) are improving quite rapidly. We expect a really fierce contest this week”
North Launceston assistant coach Nathan Parkin said:
“If you looked at the crowd last time we played them, they definitely carry the same sort of weight.
“TSL football is really strong in the North and I think when we’re at full strength and they’re at full strength, it’s definitely a [first versus second] contest.
“We haven’t been living up to that but we’re really excited to go over there in front of a big crowd and hopefully push them right to the end.”
Kingborough vs North Hobart
Round 4: Kingborough 16.16 (112) def. North Hobart 9.4 (58)
Round 10: Kingborough 14.17 (101) def. North Hobart 7.9 (51)
With the Tigers managing to overcome North Hobart by 50+ points in their previous two meetings this year, the hosts will go in as red-hot favourites.
However, with the Tigers coming of a bruising and disappointing loss to Launceston in round 15 and the Demons hoping to gain some momentum in the last few rounds of the season, it could be a much tighter affair this weekend. An 82-point loss was not what the Tigers would have hoped for when they travelled up the midlands highway last week, and they will hope to earn their way back onto the winners list in Round 16. If Kingborough hope to challenge deep into finals they will need to wrestle back some momentum during the home-stretch.
Although they may be mathematically out of the race for finals, the Demons will still be chomping at the bit to show that they are on the improve and can rise up the ladder in 2023. With just the two wins on the board this year, the Demons will end the season far more satisfied if they manage to scalp one of the top teams in the latter part of the year.
Tigers Coach Trent Baumeler spoke about the disappointment of last week and how they must be on their toes against North Hobart.
“We just turned the ball over way to much”
“(North Hobart) are a real energetic team that has belief, if you let them hang around too long they play good footy and they grow confidence from that. We will have to be on our game right from the start”
North Hobart’s head coach Clinton French couldn’t hide the club’s collective disappointment from last week, but is optimistic about their overall improvement in 2022.
“We lowered our colours as a club, we certainly didn’t play the way we should’ve and play to our brand”
“(This year) We’ve been in the contests a lot longer than we ever had”
“It’s really easy this time of year for clubs to check out when you’re down the bottom end of the ladder, but we need to make sure we are building on our game so that come pre-season we are still growing”