Launceston defeated its Twin Ovals demons to overcome a tenacious Tigers by 19 points on Saturday.
The Blues, who were seeking redemption for a surprising loss to Trent Baumeler’s men in round 13, started in the most ordinary of fashions.
It was a game of two contrasting halves as the fourth-ranked title contenders were held goalless in the opening term to trail by 22 points at the first change.
“I was a bit nervous,” Blues coach Sam Lonergan said of his quarter-time mood.
However, Launceston improved in the second stanza with Mitch Thorp bagging a couple to help his side reduce the deficit as Mitch Carter, Tyler Carter and Luke Graham all had two majors to half-time to have the Tigers up 7.3 (45) to 3.9 (33).
Launceston’s cream rose to the top in the second half – booting 9.9 to 4.2 to run out 12.18 (90) to 11.5 (71) winners. The Blues’ fourth-consecutive triumph on their run into finals.
Competition-leading goalkicker Thorp finished with three important ones and Brendan Taylor and Sam Rundle doubled up as Chayce Jones received best on ground honours for the second week running.
“The start wasn’t ideal and it resembled very much the last time we played them,” Lonergan said.
“They were able to dictate and create confusion within our playing ground during the first part.
“But it was fantastic the way we fought back. It was messy footy and high numbers around the contest.”
Lonergan said he was impressed with Jake Hinds’ showing, Rundle’s late forward display, Tim Auckland’s ruck work and Jake Smith’s smarts.
Marcus Davies, Mitch Carter and Will Campbell were solid for the hosts.
Launceston face second-placed Glenorchy at Windsor Park next week and must win if they are any chance to secure third spot and the double chance.
“It will be a bit of a dead game for them and important one for us so it will be interesting to see what sort of approach they take,” Lonergan said.
The Blues’ nearest rivals Lauderdale and Clarence take on North Launceston and Tigers, respectively.
Pies clean up Roos to seal second spot
Glenorchy overcame a four-goal quarter-time deficit to record a season-defining victory over Clarence at Bellerive Oval.
The Magpies won 13.11 (89) to 9.4 (58) to clinch second position with one round remaining.
Paul Kennedy’s men put together an eight goal to three second half with Jaye Bowden doing what he does best.
Clinton French kicked a game-high three as Bowden and Bayley Bester converted two each.
For the Roos, who have lost three in a row, Ashton Dickenson, Cal Daly and Jake Cox booted two apiece, while skipper Brady Jones battled away all match.
Bombers annihilate rivals by 120 points
Big hauls to Jacob Gillbee and Thor Boscott led Lauderdale to a resounding 26.16 (172) to 8.4 (52) win over North Hobart.
Gillbee, who had six at the main break, sent through seven while Boscott ended up with five as the pair topped 10 individual goalkickers.
The Southern Bombers held a 49-point advantage at the halfway point and never looked back.
Nat Franklin, Rhys Sutton and Ryan Wiggins helped the visitors control the play, while Hugh Williams and Sam Carswell (two goals) toiled hard for the Demons.
Sean Willis also kicked two in a losing effort.