By Joseph Vasquez
It was a Good Friday to kick off the 2023 TSL season, with the opening round comprised of matches between North Hobart and the Kingborough Tigers, the 10th annual SPEAK UP Stay ChatTY Cup between Lauderdale and Clarence, and an evening clash between North Launceston and reigning premiers Launceston.
At North Hobart Oval Kingborough kicked away early, kicking 4.4 to two North Hobart behinds to lead by 26 points at quarter-time. The Tigers continued their dominance in the second quarter, kicking another 3.3 and taking their lead to 41 points at the half.
Following the main break, it was a low-scoring third term with Kingborough extending their lead to 42 at the final change. The Tigers continued to dominate in wet conditions and in the end ran out winners 10.14.74 to 4.5.29 over the Demons.
Forwards Max Collidge (four goals, nine disposals) and James Zeitzen (two goals, five marks, five one-percenters, 10 disposals) led the scoring for the Tigers, and the likes of Kieran Lovell (one goal, 11 inside-50s, 16 clearances, 21 contested possessions, 47 disposals), Lachlan Clifford (seven clearances, eight marks, 22 contested possessions, 38 disposals), and Jack Tomkinson (one goal, five clearances, six marks, 13 contested possessions, 32 hit-outs, 18 disposals) were instrumental in the yellow and black.
For the defeated Demons, Sam Wright (two goals, 14 disposals), Jack Sandric (one goal, five rebound inside-50s, nine contested possessions, 25 disposals), and Josch Bingham (five tackles, seven inside-50s, nine clearances, 12 contested possessions, 26 disposals) held their own in a tough loss.
Next up, it was Lauderdale and Clarence facing off at SkyBus Oval. Clarence made a good start against the Bombers, kicking 3.5 to 1.2 in the opening term to lead by 15 points at the first break. After a low-scoring second quarter, the Roos extended their quarter-time lead by a point at the half.
Following the main interval, Clarence kicked away in the third term to lead by 42 points at three quarter-time. Both sides kicked 4.2 in the final quarter which spelled a 13.11.89 to 7.5.47 victory for Clarence.
Noah Holmes led the scoring for the victors with five goals, and the likes of Jack Preshaw (six clearances, 13 tackles, 15 contested possessions), Mitch Anderton (two goals, seven marks, 14 contested possessions, 24 disposals), and Keegan Ryan (nine contested possessions, 11 tackles) were dominant for the Roos. Clarence’s stand-in captain for the match Baxter Norton (one goal, eight contested possessions) was awarded the SPEAK UP Stay ChatTY medal as the best on ground.
For Lauderdale, Michael Blackburn kicked two, and the likes of Alastair Lynch medallist Sam Siggins (one goal, eight tackles, eight clearances, 13 contested possessions) and Haydn Smith (seven contested possessions, 46 hit-outs) stood tall in defeat.
Finally, it was a crosstown clash between North Launceston and Launceston at UTAS Stadium. North Launceston was in control early, kicking three goals straight to the Blues’ 1.2 in the opening quarter to lead by 10 points at quarter-time.
The Northern Bombers maintained a lead of nine points at half-time after both sides scored highly in the second term. Another shootout between the two sides ensued in the third quarter, with North Launceston’s lead returning to 10 points at the final break.
In a thrilling final term, Launceston edged ahead late, kicking 5.4 to North Launceston’s 3.2 for the quarter and winning the game 14.11.95 to 14.7.91.
For the Blues, Dylan Riley was excellent up forward with five majors, with Bailey Gillow (one goal, five inside-50s, six marks, seven one-percenters, eight tackles, 13 contested possessions, 24 disposals) and Brodie Palfreyman (one goal, seven rebound inside-50s, eight tackles, nine clearances, 15 contested possessions, 35 disposals) also brilliant in the navy blue. The former claimed the Adam Sanders Medal as best afield in the marquee Phil Edwards Cup fixture.
For North Launceston, Brandon Leary (three goals, eight contested possessions, 13 disposals) and Oscar Mansell (three goals, seven contested possessions, 13 disposals) were quite a presence up forward, and milestone man Jack Avent (one goal, eight inside-50s, 12 clearances, 16 contested possessions, 28 disposals) played well in his 200th match.
Next week, Lauderdale take on Glenorchy (who had the bye this past round) at KGV Oval, the Tigers host North Launceston at the Twin Ovals, and Launceston court North Hobart at Windsor Park.