WEATHER will play a big part in the make up of Lauderdale’s final side to take on giant-killing Launceston in Hobart on Saturday.
Southern Bombers coach Darren Winter named Liam Meagher as suspended ruckman Toutai Havea’s replacement but said wet weather at Bellerive Oval could change his initial plans for the preliminary final. He confirmed Hayden Smith would take on more responsibilities in the ruck against in-form Blue Hamish Leedham, with Ben McGuiness, Ryan Wiggins and Alex Hill likely to lend a hand.
Winter indicated that a last-minute decision could be made to bring in one of the emergencies Campbell Hooker, Alex Brewster, Sam Adams or Corey Laoumtzis in, should rain strike.
Lauderdale was belted by North Launceston last week to a 94-point tune but Winter is confident his side can go from rabble to riches and book in a grand final spot for a chance of redemption against the Northern Bombers.
“We didn’t actually have the ball that much and when you don’t have the ball you can’t really play with any structure,” he said.
“(This week) is not all about Launceston that’s for sure; we’ve got to get our stuff right first. They have key players that we will obviously look to curve their influence, but it’s that time of year, you certainly want to back your players in to play good footy.
“They’re a good pressure team and we’ll certainly bring more pressure than we did in the second semi.”
Winter said Ethan Whish-Wilson would get first crack at dangerous Launceston goal-kicker Sonny Whiting, who along with Nathan O’Donoghue and James Gillow, has been important up front in the Blues’ two finals victories to date.
Launceston’s coach Sam Lonergan has named an unchanged line-up and said Lauderdale’s result last week could either prove an advantage or work against them this week.
“If you lose by that length in an important game it does one of two things, it either fires you up or starts to put some demons into your mind,” he said.
“They have been a very competitive and strong football club all year, so I imagine it will be the won that fires them up.
“Lauderdale have a lot of scoring options (despite kicking 4.11 last week) but we’ll just continue to do exactly what we’ve been doing with our group and backing in our back seven to do the job as they have done for five weeks in a row now with good consistent football.”
This season’s ledger stands at one win a piece for the away team, with Lauderdale already achieving its best State League finish.
The coaches are predicting a contested duel with both possessing a ball-hungry midfield core so it could be decided by the best performers on the day. Will it be Jake Hinds, Brodie Palfreyman, Jay Blackberry and co? Or can Bryce Walsh, Nat Franklin and Dylan Fyfe following a disappointing display?