Launceston’s Rulla Kelly-Mansell thinks the Blues are well-placed for another TSL victory on the road on Saturday as they head to North Hobart Oval to play Hobart City Demons.
Launceston sits fourth on the ladder with a 4-2 win-loss record and is coming off a good victory over the Tigers on their Kingborough deck last weekend.
The Demons are sixth with a 3-4 record from seven games but are coming off a confidence-boosting one point win over Clarence.
“I haven’t done too much research on Hobart and it’s probably one of those things where we try to focus on ourselves first and foremost,” Mansell said.
“We’re looking really good, if we had to I suppose assess ourselves at this time of the year.
“4 and 2, I think we are and sitting pretty good and we’ve got a lot of away games out of the way early.”
The 24-year-old, was part of South Launceston 2013 TSL premiership victory under Mitch Thorp being heading to the VFL with a season at Port Melbourne in 2014.
He returned to play two seasons at his home club Deloraine in the NTFA before deciding to have another crack at TSL football this season and joining Launceston.
The Blues have had some good wins particularly on the road so far this season but struggled against top sides such as North Launceston and Clarence which Mansell said was to be expected.
“It’s going to happen – we’re six months into a new program so you find throughout the year we are probably going to go dips and waves and that’s absolutely fine and there is nothing wrong with that,” Mansell said.
“It’s about trying to bridge the gap within 12 to 18 months when we play North and Glenorchy so we’re right there and abouts.
“But we’re under no illusions that they are the benchmarks – but if you go back in time three or four years ago I can remember beating North out here by 80 points when I was at South.
“But within two or three years they are the best team in the league.
“It does happen, good teams eventually over time, once they gel and get used to the program – look out.”
Mansell said the Blues had a good mix of experienced players such as Nathan O’Donoghue, Jordie Harris, Sonny Whiting and Joe Boyce who were around at Launceston when they won premierships and himself and Jay Blackberry from South who are able to help the Blues younger players.
“I’m pretty hard on myself and I don’t think I’ve been playing my best football just yet,” he said.
“I’ve been in and out of games here and there but I’m very confident in my ability and that when the wheel starts turning I will start playing some really good football.
“But a new program and with a new group of guys it is going to take eight or nine games to gel and to figure out how other teammates play and vice-versa but once that starts happening I think I will play some really top level football.”