Northern Preview: Launceston recruitment offsets loss of 2022 grand final heroes

Wed, Apr 26, 2023, 4:00 AM
TAS Rugby
by TAS Rugby
REIGNING CHAMPS: Launceston head into the 2023 TRU Premiership with a target on their backs. Picture: Supplied
REIGNING CHAMPS: Launceston head into the 2023 TRU Premiership with a target on their backs. Picture: Supplied

Launceston’s premiership campaign will be founded on new blood after a host of off-season signings at Royal Park – but they’re not the only northern club making moves in 2023.

While there’ll be enough familiar faces to make Saturday’s Grand Final rematch with Taroona a fiery affair, the Tigers have lost gun flanker Tom Kendall and 2022 hero John Dunbar, both of whom have moved interstate.

Hooker Joe Brady is also expected to miss the season though Launceston past president Isaac Anderson has high hopes for Round 1 and the year ahead after picking up a few international recruits.

“We’re looking good and pretty happy with where we’re sitting given the amount of changes we’ve had,” Anderson said.

“We had a few players like myself retire after last season and then Tom and John moving away has been a big loss for our starting team.

The Tigers headed up the highway to Devonport for the Broughton Cup on Saturday! The team recorded victories over...

Posted by Launceston Rugby Club on Sunday, March 26, 2023

“Thankfully we’ve had another influx of new layers – there’s a few Fijian boys who’ve arrived and they've been fantastic around the club – and we’re lucky enough to have our young Italian bloke Lorenzo rock up on student exchange who’s filling in as hooker.”

Anderson has been succeeded by Tua Agaiava as Tigers president and says he’s looking forward to taking a back seat and enjoying Launceston’s club journey in 2023.

“Three or four years ago things weren’t looking great for the club and we could’ve folded, but now we’re in a really strong position which is great to see,” Anderson said.

“Our men have been great across both grades and our juniors and women are looking good with some fresh new faces and excellent training numbers, so we’re looking to be a strong side across all grades in 2023.”

Devonport and Burnie also have designs on club-wide success in 2023 with both set to field strong sides across the men’s premiership and championship.

Season 2023 starts this week. Here is the Bulls roster for 2023. We look forward to seeing everyone back at the club this year.

Posted by Devonport Bulls Rugby Union Club on Sunday, April 23, 2023

Bulls president Sam O’Keefe says the club will field a similar first-grade outfit spearheaded by veteran Mark Meo while Brett Bentley has returned to coach the Emus men for another season.

“We’re looking pretty good again this season with about 25-27 consistently at training so things have been positive,” O’Keefe said.

Burnie president Vanessa Davies added her excitement at the club’s pre-season progress, citing the Emus’ Broughton Cup form.

“We’re really excited by our turnout so far – we even had two men’s sides in the Broughton Cup last month – and having Brett on deck for one more year is a massive boost for our men,” she said.

“We’ve got big plans for our ladies as well as they’ve been in and around that top two for a long time so hoping to go one better and really push for a premiership.”

📆 ROSTERS ARE OUT! 📆 See both our Men's Teams and our Women's Team in action this season! 😍

Posted by Burnie Emus Rugby Union Club on Monday, April 17, 2023