LAUNCESTON is to lose vice-captain Tim Bristow following his decision to move to Western Australia next year.
The former Tassie Medal winner is in negotiation with East Fremantle and expects to play with the powerful WAFL club in 2014.
In the meantime the 26-year-old ruck-rover is battling a hamstring strain to prove his fitness for Saturday night's State League preliminary final against Burnie.
``I'm hoping that I haven't played my last game for Launceston,'' he said.
Bristow has taken part in rehabilitation sessions with the Blues and intends seeing a specialist tomorrow in a bid to be cleared to play.
``I'm itching to get back out on the field again,'' he said.
``It's quite an emotional time for me as I came to Launceston from Sale in 2007, the club has become a second home to me and I will be sad to leave.''
Bristow has played 140 games for the Blues and has become a valuable member of the leadership group.
A teacher, he intends to continue in the education department in Western Australia.
His younger brother James lives in Perth and intends joining him at East Fremantle.
Launceston and Burnie have agreed to play the preliminary final under lights at Aurora Stadium with the game starting at 5pm to protect the NTFA grand fina,l which will be played during the afternoon.
Both clubs had been offered the opportunity to play on Friday night but opted for the Saturday night.
The Blues could make up to four changes to the team that went down to South Launceston by 64 points.
Coach Brennan Savage and his brother Gene have completed their suspensions from the qualifying final, and the spotlight is now on Bristow and Jason Edwards.
Edwards is attempting to throw off a shoulder injury, and although he trained lightly last week he will be required to go at full pace by Thursday night.
Burnie expects to have a clearer picture on the fitness of Sam Rice and Caleb Hislop following a rehabilitation session last night.
Rice was subbed off at half-time in the first semi-final against Clarence after receiving a knock to the back, and Hislop left the ground with a couple of minutes remaining after receiving a knock to his shoulder.
Russell Robertson is free of duties as development manager with Melbourne this weekend and will make his third finals appearance for the Dockers.
Robertson was Burnie's chief goal-scorer against Launceston in the qualifying final when he kicked three of his team's 14 goals, but Clarence restricted him to just one goal.
SATURDAY, at Aurora Stadium
Burnie v Launceston (seniors), 5pm
Launceston v Lauderdale (colts), 2.30pm