Job done, but trio in doubt for finale
LAUNCESTON powered into its second consecutive TSL grand final after making the Roos roadkill in their preliminary final at Windsor Park on Sunday, but a cloud could hang over three Blues stars.
Big full-forward Cody Thorp had his number taken in the second quarter for a high shot on a Clarence defender, gun playmaker Michael Musicka ended the day with a strained shoulder and TSL games recordholder Jay Blackberry limped away with an ice bag on his right knee after the game.
Musicka left the field early in the second quarter after being crunched in a marking contest by Cody Thorp, and although he played out the game, he and Blackberry must prove their fitness for the grand final showdown with cross-town rival North Launceston at UTas Stadium next Sunday.
Launceston coach Mitch Thorp, who did not play, said that his younger Cody would be OK.
“He’s only hit him in the back of the shoulder,” Thorp said.
“Sometimes with Cody it looks worse than it actually is. We had a photo of the incident sent through pretty quickly after it happened, so nothing to see here.”
The chance to battle fivetime premier North Launceston, lining up for a record eighth consecutive grand final, for the flag has the coach excited.
“I love this competition. I saw how many people that were here today, it was fantastic, and there was a lot of interest in the game and the
North Launceston boys were here,” Thorp said.
“Both teams don’t like each other, and that’s superhealthy, so we’re looking forward to another cracking grand final.”
The Blues looked comfortable on their home deck.
They kicked the first five goals, starting with Blackberry’s at the three-minute mark and Miller Hodge minutes into the second.
Clarence then came to life. Jacques Barwick kicked two goals in even time and Darcy Gardner added a third to reduce the deficit from 31 points to 12 midway through the second.
The Blues steadied going into the long break, when Jack Tuthill kicked his first and Cody Thorp his second, to make the lead 26 points.
With Fletcher Seymour
and Jobi Harper continuing their midfield dominance and Hodge lifting his workrate, Launceston drilled another three in a row, while Clarence answered late through Colin Garland, who finally broke the shackles applied by hulking Blue Jamieson House.
Trailing by 36 points at the final change, it became worse for Clarence early in the fourth, when playing coach Jerom ey Webberley injured his right shoulder.
The wounded Roo soldiered on, but the Blues kept applying the blowtorch with 15 inside-50s to six, which was the Roos’ tale of woe.
Webberley stepped down as Clarence coach after the game, but plans to play on next season under his replacement.