The Glenorchy boys are primed for the club’s first home final in over a decade as they prepare to welcome Launceston to town on Saturday.
*First bounce is at 2.30pm and the winner will face either Lauderdale or North Launceston in next weekend’s preliminary final
The game is now do-or-die for the Magpies after falling agonisingly short in last week’s epic qualifying final against the Southern Bombers.
It was a see-sawing contest – Glenorchy coming from 20 points down at half-time, and Lauderdale recovering a 13-point deficit early in the final quarter – with seven lead changes and some incredible pressure footy from both sides.
After a brilliant Ben Kamaric stoppage goal, set up by ruckman Cam Duffy and hard man Sam Rundle, the game came down to the final centre bounce of the contest with the Pies five points in arrears and only moments left on the clock.
Out of the middle, Duffy tapped the ball into the path of speedster Cal Daly streaking towards goal, but the Pocket Rocket didn’t get a kind bounce, Lauderdale cleared the ball and then hung on desperately until the final siren.
Stars stand tall
Daly had a superb afternoon, with 19 possessions, 11 pressure acts, 10 hard ball gets and 7 clearances, and while he booted an uncharacteristic 0.4, that only means a player of his class is sure to be on song this week in front of goal.
Kamaric was also a star, returning from a hamstring strain he played reduced game time, but still managed 22 possessions, 10 pressure acts, 9 hard balls, 9 clearances and two superb goals in the final term as he almost willed his beloved club to victory.
Jaye Bowden was his usual self, his class too much for emerging Bombers youngster Oscar Shaw as The Prince finished with 21 possessions, 9 score involvements and 4 goals in a brilliant display.
Rhys Mott and Ryan Banks-Smith were both excellent in the midfield, while Duffy registered 43 hit-outs as he took the honours against Team of the Year ruckman Haydn Smith.
Other standouts included Zac Webster, who tallied 14 possessions and 10 pressure acts while keeping star full forward Ben McGuinness goalless.
Teenage defenders Aaron Brennan and Nathan Blowfield teamed to curb mercurial small forward Henry Kerinaiua and stop him from hitting the scoreboard.
Liam Smith and Josh Arnold were also outstanding in defence, combining for 25 pressure acts and 11 intercepts to have a huge influence on the game.
The Magpies defence will again be asked to perform heroics this Saturday, with Launceston’s forward line featuring TSL superstars Mitch Thorp, Dylan Riley and Jay Blackberry, alongside exciting youngsters Alec Wright, Grant Holt and James Gillow.
Matching the Blues stars
The experienced Tim Butterworth and rookie Cam Goodsell will likely spend time on Thorp, while Arnold, Brennan and Smith are expected to rotate between Riley and Blackberry, both of whom can turn a game off their own boot.
Perhaps the most important battle will be in the midfield, where Duffy and Hamish Leedham have engaged in some memorable battles across the years.
Which big man gets on top could decide whether it’s Kamaric, Mott, Rundle and James Webb speeding out of stoppages, or whether experienced pair Jobi Harper and Tim Bristow can team up with underrated on-ballers Fletcher Seymour and Brendan Taylor to get first use.
In Glenorchy’s forward half, highly-anticipated match-ups include Aiden Grace against Jake Smith along with the brilliant Daly against the much-improved Ryan Tyrrell.
It all points to another classic final, so don’t miss the opportunity to see the Magpies playing finals football at KGV – who knows when the next chance will be.
For those who don’t like the unpredictable elements, remember there is undercover capacity for more than 1000 spectators at KGV, so we’ll see you rain, hail or shine!
Glenorchy 12.15.87 def by Lauderdale 13.15.93
Goals: Bowden 4, French 3, Grace 2, Kamaric 2, Banks-Smith
Best: Webster, Bowden, Kamaric, Smith, Daly, Duffy, Mott, Arnold