North Launceston remained undefeated on top of the State League ladder after seeing off a serious challenge from a determined Tigers outfit at a rain-drenched UTas Stadium on Saturday.
The gallant Tigers belied their third last position on the ladder and came to play against the competition leaders with a potential upset seemingly on the cards until half-way through the last quarter.
The Tigers effort and endeavour matched North’s for much of the contest – three points separating the sides at quarter time. Tigers kicked 3.3 to 1.6 in the second to control the game and lead by a goal at half-time with their pressure good and the Bombers inaccuracy in wet conditions telling.
Two great snapped goals to North coach Tom Couch in the third were crucial in keeping his side in the game in the third with four points the dfference at the last change.
The Bombers experience and goals to Brad Cox-Goodyer and Kaleb Thomas helped them see off the Tigers challenge in a dark and wet final quarter with the lights not turned on – eventually holding on for a 7.22 (64) to 7.6 (48) victory.
Couch finished with two goals for the Bombers as did Thomas while Braden Livingston and Ethan Brock booted three each for the Tigers.
Jay Lockhart was outstanding for the Bombers in defence as was Jay Foon with Couch, Mark Walsh and Alex Lee in the ruck, other good players.
Marcus Davies showed his AFL experience to lead from the front for the Tigers with Lachlan Watt, Mitchell Carter, Sam Rice and Brock also good contributors.
Couch said he felt like his side was in control for most of the match as indicated by the difference in shots on goal.
“It was a tight match with the weather conditions – you sort of had to put your head over it and get it going forward,” Couch said.
“I thought it took us a quarter and half to adapt to the conditions and we probably tried to be a little too cute but full credit to the Tigers who came to play today – not that we didn’t, we definitely did.
“They did their research, got off to a good start and were physical around the stoppages, kicked some really good goals and put up a really good fight – I couldn’t question the boys’ effort today at all, it was just a match betweeen two good sides.”
Tigers coach Aaron Vince said he was disappointed with last week’s effort against Launceston but felt his players gave four quarters of effort against North.
“We gave ourselves a chance to day and the competition is evening out – and if we can bring that effort every week we can compete with the top sides and we’ll get those wins along the way as they come.
“I think we held our own in the stoppages given the bigger bodies of North Lonnie and was really proud of the effort of Marcus Davies, Lachie Watt and Sam Rice and their defensive work at the stoppages meant we weren’t knocked off the footy like last week. We got a bit tired and started trailing a bit and North showed their class and Couchy got on top and Cox-Goodyer toward the end – you have to be on for four quarters and can't let good sides in for five mintues because it will cost you in the end.”