Launceston will take on struggling 2017 grand finalist Lauderdale for the first time since last year’s State League preliminary final on Saturday.
The Southern Bombers won the season’s penultimate match-up by four goals but have started the season sluggishly, thanks largely to injuries, suspension and poor form. They have lost both their matches to Clarence and Glenorchy, respectively, by a combined 98 points.
The Blues bounced back from an opening round defeat with a convincing 131-point victory over North Hobart and coach Sam Lonergan said Jake Hinds would come straight back into the side after serving a week’s suspension for striking.
Hinds and key defender Simon Vandervelde will replace the omitted James Gillow and Anthony Liberatore, who will miss with a minor ankle injury, while Lonergan (hamstring) and Jobi Harper (ankle) remain a few weeks out from a TSL return.
“Jake is a talented 19-year-old player that we need to slot back into our side,” Lonergan said
“I was a little bit sore (after playing development league) so I won’t be playing seniors or be in the squad this week.
“Jobi was good and played just over a quarter and will go back out and play another half this week. There are a few more boxes for both of us to tick and once we achieve that we’ll move forward.”
The last time Launceston travelled to Lauderdale Oval it prevailed 15.11 (101) to 13.12 (90).
Lauderdale has made four changes with Teege Westbury, Corey Laoumtzis and Blake Newell coming in for Kim Kantilla, Scott Hill and Simon Kennedy.
Meanwhile, North Launceston and Glenorchy – two early-season front runners – will meet at UTAS Stadium in a highly-anticipated fixture. Northern Bombers coach Taylor Whitford believes the Magpies have regained their mojo of 2016, which saw Aaron Cornelius lead them to a flag.
And in preparation, has named skipper Brad Cox-Goodyer in his squad, despite just mussing one week with a hamstring injury.
Kasey Curtis, who dislocated his shoulder, is the only omission.
“They did everything that had to do on the weekend. They had the extra week to prepare for that game and they were ready to go,” Whitford, who is coming off two 10-goal wins, said.
“With everyone fit and firing they are going to be a massive challenge for us.”
Matt Joseph has re-joined Glenorchy’s best 22.
Demons to face Roos
North Hobart coach Richard Robinson has backed his young group and named an unchanged line-up for its bout with Clarence at North Hobart Oval.
The Demons were smashed last week, while the Roos are returning following a victory and the bye.
Clarence forward Trent Standen will miss with sore Achilles and has been replaced by Jackson O’Brien.