Northern Rangers to host Launceston City in final NPL Tasmania soccer derby of the season

FRIENDLY RIVALS: Northern Rangers' Canadian signing Kwin Kensley, Launceston City striker Noah Mies and Rangers talisman Harry Thannhauser all share a laugh ahead of Rangers playing host to City. Picture: Scott Gelston
FRIENDLY RIVALS: Northern Rangers' Canadian signing Kwin Kensley, Launceston City striker Noah Mies and Rangers talisman Harry Thannhauser all share a laugh ahead of Rangers playing host to City. Picture: Scott Gelston

The silverware is locked away in safe keeping, but the players won’t have a bar that the Launceston NPL derby has lost its magical spark.

“It’s a massive game still – it’s always massive between us and City,” Rangers rising star Harry Thannhauser said. 

“We’ve already got the win two times, so we’ve got the cup sewn up already.

“But there’s always bragging rights: they’re trying to lift themselves off the bottom of the ladder, while we’re pushing for fourth. So it’ll still be a massive game.”

Northern Rangers already secured the Challenge Cup before Saturday’s third and final staging of the crosstown encounter could take place.

Rangers came from one goal down to equalise just 25 seconds later before adding the late winner in the return game last month.

Last year’s NPL Tasmania wooden spooners surprised City scoring the opening two goals to set up a 2-1 victory in the first NTCA Ground clash.

Canadian Kwin Kensley joined Rangers two weeks back in a midseason signing.

The exciting goalscorer, who had spent 12 months playing in Spain, has heard all the banter from teammates over what to expect. 

The last time they met: June 3, 2017 - Launceston City 1-2 Northern Rangers

“I know it’s a big rivalry,” Kensley said. “It’s going to be a pretty physical game, so got to be ready for it.”

City utility forward Noah Mies said his side will come out with nothing to lose.

“It’ll be a good battle,” Mies said. “There’s not too much between the two sides.

“I feel we haven’t showed our best form against Rangers, but it will be good to see how this last game finishes.”

City has one league win to show all year – that being 5-0 against Clarence United – but Mies feels its indifferent season is far from finished.

The turnaround stood out against the reigning premiers twice, including a clean sheet in last week’s Devonport City draw, displaying “great fight”.

“It was a big confidence booster more than anything,” he said. “We’ve struggled a bit this year, so it’s good to finally get a result worthwhile.”

Rangers coach Lino Sciulli insists that facing his old side for the third time has grown on the City life member now.

“There was a little bit of emotion there, but I was never uncomfortable,” he said.

“I was happy to go along as I had a job to do.”