By Joseph Vasquez
The 2023 TSL Finals Series kicked off over the past weekend with an Elimination Final between Clarence and Launceston and a Qualifying Final between Kingborough and North Launceston.
Clarence and Launceston faced off at Bellerive Oval in a sudden-death fixture, and the Roos made a rapid start against Launceston kicking 4.1 in the opening quarter while holding the Blues scoreless. The second term was a war of attrition between the two sides, however Clarence held on to a lead of 22 points at half-time. Despite some missed opportunities in the third quarter, the Roos kicked away to a 38-point lead at the final change. In the last, Clarence cruised home to a 11.13.79 to 2.5.17 victory, ending the Blues’ season and advancing to a preliminary final.
Bryce Alomes was prolific up forward for the Roos with four goals, and Baxter Norton (one goal, five marks, five tackles, six clearances, seven inside-50s, 14 contested possessions, 24 disposals), Jack Preshaw (two goals, seven tackles, eight clearances, 19 contested possessions, 22 disposals), and Oliver Preshaw (two goals, nine marks, 14 contested possessions, 22 disposals) were superb for Clarence.
For Launceston, Jamieson House (five marks, six inside-50s, six tackles, 13 contested possessions, 18 disposals) and Dylan Riley (one goal, five rebound-50s, seven contested possessions, 15 disposals) were standouts in a tough defeat for the Blues.
At the Twin Ovals, Kingborough and North Launceston battled for a spot in the Grand Final. The Tigers took a lead of seven points at quarter-time after kicking 2.3 to North Launceston’s 1.2. The Bombers hit back in the second quarter, holding the Tigers goalless for the term and pinching a slim lead before half-time. Following the main interval, Kingborough put their foot on the Bombers’ throat, kicking a mammoth 8.3 in the third term and holding North Launceston scoreless. The Tigers did not register a goal in the final quarter, however their lead was too great for the Bombers to overtake. In the end, the Tigers secured a Grand Final berth with a 10.11.71 to 5.5.35 win over North Launceston.
James Zeitzen, Tyler Carter, and Jake Williams accounted for eight of Kingborough’s ten goals, and Lachie Clifford (five tackles, six inside-50s, nine clearances, 12 contested possessions, 33 disposals), Eddie Cole (one goal, five inside-50s, 11 clearances, 13 tackles, 17 contested possessions, 24 disposals), and Jack Tomkinson (five inside-50s, seven marks, 10 clearances, 27 hit-outs, 18 contested possessions, 23 disposals) were excellent in yellow and black.
For North Launceston, Blade Sulzberger (five clearances, seven marks, seven inside-50s, seven tackles, 10 contested possessions, 20 disposals) and William Manshanden (five tackles, seven clearances, 10 contested possessions, 20 disposals) held their ground against the Tigers.
This weekend, North Launceston and Clarence will lock horns at UTAS Stadium for a spot in the season decider against Kingborough.