2017 Tasmanian State League team of the year

THE PLAYERS

LAUNCESTON’S two State League clubs had seven representatives included in the competition’s team of the year.

Clubs were called upon to nominate players for a selection panel to consider with the final 22-man team squad selected by position as if the side was to play a match.

North Launceston defender Jay Foon, centre-half forward Tom Bennett, ruckman Alex Lee, vice-captain Brad Cox-Goodyer and coach Tom Couch were all selected on the ground along with influential Launceston midfielder Brodie Palfreyman.

Palfreyman’s teammate Rulla Kelly-Mansell was selected on the bench.

“Foony has established himself as a really good player with two consecutive state games and Tommy is a class act with workrate separating him from all other forwards in the league,” Couch said.

“Alex Lee was unlucky not to get in the state side but he’s copped it on the chin and been outstanding and Coxy’s taken a step forward this season with Taylor (Whitford) missing seven games – he took on that responsibility and a majority of his 35 goals have been from the midfield.”

The Blues and Northern Bombers are both still in the hunt for this season’s main prize, thanks to an even spread of on and off field contributors.

Both Northern clubs had several unlucky players that missed the cut with the Blues’ only 2017 state representative Jay Blackberry and ruckman Hamish Leedham the most obvious.

North onballers Jack Avent, Josh Ponting and Mark Walsh along with Lefroy Medalist Jay Lockhart were also left on the periphery.

However, Couch and Launceston boss Sam Lonergan said all those players could hold their heads high on a brilliant season and that team success overshadowed any individual accolade.

“For us both Brodie and Rulla have worked hard for that recognition. There are a couple of interesting decisions but overall those guys couldn’t be any more deserving,” Lonergan said.

“As a group we are focusing on what we can achieve against Lauderdale this weekend.”

Other clubs well represented were Lauderdale and Clarence with four players apiece, while reigning premiership skipper Brayden Webb was anointed the honorary team’s captain.

Burnie was the only side that went unrecognised.

The team will be formally acknowledged at the upcoming Tasmanian Football Awards dinner.

THE COACHES

NORTH Launceston coach Tom Couch has so far guided his team to the minor premiership and through to a home grand final in his first season since replacing a successful Zane Littlejohn.

A humble Couch, 29, was named the State League’s coach of the year for his efforts in keeping the Northern Bombers’ reign of dominance alive.

“It’s the last thing I was thinking about when I moved to Tassie and it’s something I wasn’t expecting,” he said.

“I’ve got an incredible support team of coaches, trainers and the board, and also the leadership group are second to none.”

North finished the home and away season with a 16-2 win-loss record and flattened Lauderdale by 94 points in the second semi-final to advance through to its fourth decider in as many seasons.

Launceston's Sam Lonergan was stiff to miss out on an assistants gig having taken the Blues from five wins last season into a preliminary final.

Instead, Clarence boss Jeromey Webberley and Lauderdale coach Darren Winter were duly recognised. 

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