Common sense appeared to prevail when Football Federation Tasmania announced new kick-off times for the two Lakoseljac Cup semi-finals on Saturday.
After prolonged and often heated discussions between the league and four remaining clubs, it was announced on Thursday that Northern Rangers would face Devonport at 1pm, a couple of hours before Launceston City host South Hobart.
With kick-off times for City’s under-18s, reserves and championship men’s and women’s games in Somerset also being brought forward, the club is hopeful that most of those players will be able to return home in time to support their biggest game of the season.
Both Launceston teams will be hoping to make maximum use of home advantage against visiting big guns.
For the first time this season, the Lakoseljac Cup is not the stand-alone competition on the day, meaning Rangers will still forfeit their under-20 team’s semi-final against South Hobart.
But coach Lino Sciulli said the silver lining to that cloud was having youngsters Will Humphrey, Lachlan McCallumsmith and John Bourke available for the visit of Devonport.
Speaking of clouds, Harry Thannhauser (calf), Jesse Fulton (quad) and Alex Fulton (hamstring) are under the injury variety as Sciulli makes plans for dealing with Strikers dangermen Michael Holden, Brayden Mann, Joel Stone and Daniel Jackson.
“It’s disappointing to forfeit any game but our resources are stretched to the max,” Sciulli said.
“All games prior to this, all our other teams had a bye but we get to the semis and suddenly there are other games on. I’ve no idea why. I just do as I’m told and turn up where and when we are playing.”
NPL Tasmania leaders City welcome a South Hobart team that has won five of the last 10 cups and coach Jez Kenth was predicting “a beautiful game” for neutral supporters.
“I think the stuff-up with the kick-off times adds a bit more spice but really you don’t need extra encouragement for games like this,” he said.
“We are pretty equal in form but they have a lot more experience in their team.”
Kenth welcomes Jarrod Linger back from suspension and said Aaron Campbell (knee) and Shane Cartwright (foot) will both undergo fitness tests.
- 1pm: Northern Rangers v Devonport, NTCA2
- 3pm: Launceston City v South Hobart, Prospect