TSL 2017: Launceston collect four vital points against Devonport in very tough conditions

BANG: Ryan Tyrrell boots the ball forward for Launceston in their win over Devonport at Devonport Oval on Saturday. Picture: Cordell Richardson
BANG: Ryan Tyrrell boots the ball forward for Launceston in their win over Devonport at Devonport Oval on Saturday. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Launceston                              2.2,  4.3,  6.6,  6.8  (44)

Devonport                               0.0,  0.0,  1.3,  2.5  (17)

GOALS: Launceston: R. Kelly-Mansell 2, C. Sheppard 1, C. Smith 1, J. Nunn 1, B. Taylor 1

Devonport: T. Enniss 1, D. Riley 1

BEST:  Launceston: J. Aganas, J. Donnellan, B. Palfreyman, S. Vandervelde, J. Blackberry, S. Lonergan.

Devonport: S. Egger, Q. Byard, B. Symmons, B. Sharman, M. Perry, D. Riley.

Save for a disaster, it looks Launceston have made it.

The Blues’ 27-point win over Devonport on Saturday, coupled with Lauderdale doing them a favour and downing Hobart City, has Launceston now a game and percentage clear of the Demons in fifth spot.

Only a monumental loss to North Launceston on August 26 coupled with a significant win for the Demons over the Tigers the night before will tip the Blues out of the five.

“I made a conscious effort not to put a great deal of pressure on the boys [coming into game],’’ coach Sam Lonergan said following the victory over the Magpies.

....there was some relief then after the game. Today sets us up, and we are certainly in pole position for fifth spot.

Launceston coach Sam Lonergan

“I said earlier in the week that if we were good enough to be in the finals we would be, and I still believe that. They knew where we sat [coming in] and I’m sure they did put that little bit of pressure on themselves.

“So there was some relief then after the game. Today sets us up, and we are certainly in pole position for fifth spot.”

Lonergan’s side collected the vital points 6.8 (44) to 2.5 (17) in a game which included an exceptionally strong wind, a mud-filled centre square and plenty of surface water at Devonport Oval.

ALMOST THERE: Launceston's Connor Smith in action against Devonport at Devonport Oval on Saturday in the Blues' vital win. Picture: Cordell Richardson

ALMOST THERE: Launceston's Connor Smith in action against Devonport at Devonport Oval on Saturday in the Blues' vital win. Picture: Cordell Richardson

“It was certainly tough for our inside mids,’’ Lonergan said when reflecting on the stoppage-filled contest.

“It did change the way the way you play footy. The wind seemed like it was swirling and changing at different times, and our young players had to concentrate with fatigue and comprehend whether the wind has changed.”

Two goals against that wind in the second term proved pivotal after Launceston took a 14-point lead into the first change as they kept the Pies scoreless in the first half.

It took until 11 minutes into the third term for them to kick their first,  but it couldn’t stop Launceston extending their 27 point half-time lead to 33 at the final change. 

Devonport’s Dylan Riley kicked the only goal of the final term as the visitors walked away with a 27-point win.

Blue Rulla Kelly-Mansell was the only multiple goal-kicker on the ground with two, while Brodie Palfreyman and Jack Donnellan were strong in the midfield, with Jimmy Aganas and Simon Vandervelde leading the charge in defence.

“I thought our backs did a fantastic job, and they were able to adapt to the conditions pretty well and work as a unit of six,’’ Lonergan said.

Devonport's Quade Byard gets the ball away during the Magpies' loss to Launceston. Picture: Cordell Richardson

Devonport's Quade Byard gets the ball away during the Magpies' loss to Launceston. Picture: Cordell Richardson

“They were fantastic and gave us the opportunity to rebound out of defensive 50, and certainly the second quarter into the wind to score a couple of goals puts the opposition under pressure, which gave us a good head start.”

Devonport were best served by Sherrin Egger, 100-gamer Quade Byard, Brad Symmons and Beau Sharman.