RICKY Ponting believes Tim Coyle's legacy should be measured not by the outcome of this week's Sheffield Shield final but by the condition he leaves Tasmanian cricket in.
The match against Queensland could prove to be a send-off for both Tasmania's most successful player and coach.
While Coyle remains steadfast that he will stand down after the game, Ponting is yet to decide whether his elusive search for a first domestic title will end at Bellerive on Tuesday or continue into his 40th year.
Whatever the outcome, Australia's all-time leading run-scorer said Coyle's contribution to Tasmanian cricket should not be underestimated.
"He's made an unbelievable contribution and I hope it's recognised in the right way come the end of the season because you've only got to look at the performances that the team's had since he's been in charge," Ponting said.
"And not only the senior team but the second team, the whole cricket program. We've got other states, other bigger cricket states, looking at us and what we're doing."
The former Test captain said that success should be measured by more than the four domestic titles Coyle has led the Tigers to in his eight-year stint at the helm.
A host of Tasmanian-born players have developed into internationals under Coyle while numerous disillusioned mainlanders have rediscovered themselves by heading across Bass Strait, the likes of Ed Cowan, Jason Krejza and Jackson Bird subsequently graduating to the Test team.
"That we're able to bring guys from interstate down here, nurture them, look after them and get the best out of them is also something that other states should be looking at and `Coyley's' obviously been a big part of that."
Ponting said his teammates would certainly have "had `Coyley' in the back of their minds" as they completed the clinical 111-run defeat of former ladder leader Victoria on Sunday, which confirmed the team's third consecutive Shield final.
George Bailey, who succeeded Ponting and Dan Marsh as Tigers captain, endorsed the point and suggested the man from Mowbray might not be ready to call time on domestic cricket just yet.
"I'm pretty glad we get to give `Coyley' one more game and Ricky - but I get the feeling if we play a few more games like that Ricky may hang on for another couple of years," he said.
Bailey said the team was full of confidence heading into a rematch of last year's final, which the Bulls won at the Gabba by three wickets.
"History says hosting it is really important. You get the support, your own conditions and the buffer at the back of your mind knowing you can draw the game."
For all the stats and a full preview on the final, see The Examiner tomorrow.