SOUTH Launceston coach Mitch Thorp was a proud and relieved man after yesterday's grand final as the reality of a dream season set in.
The 24-year-old Thorp picked up the State League two best individual honours in the RACT Player of the Year, as voted by the media, and the Tassie Medal as the competition best and fairest, voted by the umpires, and capped it off with a premiership medal and premiership cup in his second season as a playing coach.
"We knew Burnie was going to throw everything at us - there is a reason why they have been in the past three grand finals: they are a fantastic club first and foremost and a fantastic football side," he said.
"They probably had the better of us in the first half even though we had our nose in front on the scoreboard. I thought they used the ball a bit better and we were a bit nervous.
"But you can't ask for a bigger effort from a group of really young men, and we stuck to our task, and to get a nine-point win - I'm really proud of the group and it's a pretty special day."
Thorp said he was not worried by his side's inaccuracy, as most of the missed shots were 50-50 and not quality shots on goal.
"I wasn't too stressed and didn't think we were really wasteful close to goal," he said.
"We knew we were going to keep running and having that couple of weeks off, and I think that really helped us - we have an elite running group of players and it was just a really good team effort today."
Thorp said that while the two main individual awards were honours, it was his premiership medallion that meant the most to him.
"Finals are not necessarily perfect and today wasn't, but I think the crowd would have enjoyed watching it because it was a good, honest, hard effort and was close all day.
"We were resilient - Burnie were coming at us hard and we'd respond, and it was a great grand final.
"When I kicked my second goal in the last quarter, I thought that was a big blow to them - two goals I thought they could kick, but when I kicked that we went to three goals up. We weren't there but I thought it would be tough for them to come over the top of us."
While he still harbours hopes of being picked up again in the AFL draft, Thorp said that if it didn't happen he would like to continue to coach and play with his teammates next season - albeit for a new club.
"I'd love to have another crack at AFL level, but if that didn't happen I'd be inclined to stay in Tassie and stay with this group, and I think it might be the start of something special because our best players are kids - I'm the coach at 24 and Hillsy is the captain at 26, and we're the oldest - and I think we could have a special list for some time.
"It is ironic that it is the last time South will be in the TSL - we knew when we found out that we had to do it - it probably gave us a little kick to prove to a few people at our own club who didn't want us in the TSL and I think that is ridiculous.
"All our playing group want to play TSL footy, so we will stick together and play TSL footy at the new club.
"It's great for South going into the NTFA to reflect on a state premiership and they can never take that away from us, and I think this group will be remembered for a while."