LAUNCESTON coach Brennan Savage was surprised by the poor performance of his former club Clarence in losing badly to Lauderdale in the final State League round on Saturday but happy to be the recipient of third spot and the double chance gifted as a result.
AFL Tasmania will release its first finals schedule today with Launceston set to take on Burnie in a qualifying final either at West Park, depending on the condition of the ground, or Aurora Stadium if the Coastal venue is unsuitable for finals football.
Lauderdale and Clarence will front up again for the second week in a row - this time in an elimination final with the loser finished for the season.
``It was a bit of a shock to me because it was Lauderdale's first victory against Clarence at Bellerive and we've not only stolen the game on Friday night but third spot as well,'' Savage said yesterday.
``The double chance is handy to have and it puts us in a good position to have a tilt at the premiership which is something we thought may have been out of reach given our form.''
Savage said the positive news came at a good time for the club which had signed up some players in the past month and was reassurance that the Blues were on track and going places.
``This final's series becomes pretty important for this group of players.
``I said to them after the North Launceston game that it is a good characteristic to be able to be in close games and come out on top especially against cross-town traditional rivals and that is a positive for us.''
Savage said the Blues cleanliness in disposal needed work but blamed that partly on an inability to train properly on their home ground due to recent wet weather.
``We're looking to get on a good surface during the week to do some training,'' he said.
``Burnie finished second and they have every right to have a final in their region but let's hope the ground is up to scratch and we get to play on a good surface and provide a good spectacle.''
Daniel Ellis was ill on Friday night and missed the Northern Bombers clash along with Jason Edwards who has a shoulder issue.
Savage said he hoped both would be fit for this week's clash against Burnie.