IN a passionate three- quarter-time address, South Launceston coach Mitch Thorp told his teammates to keep running and keep smiling.
It was an excellent message, actually including a few extra words which I omitted to avoid overworking the `f' key on my computer.
In summary, he was telling his team that grand finals and close contests were surely what they all played for so a 12-point lead at the final change against the reigning premier should be a scenario for enjoyment not concern, smiles not frowns.
It was a message well received. South Launceston ran for the rest of the afternoon so that they could smile for the rest of the week.
The magnitude of the result - a 16-point win and first flag this millennium - was summed up by Thorp describing it as the pinnacle of his footballing achievements, which also include appearances and a goal at the sport's elite level not to mention being picked in front of Joel Selwood at the 2006 national draft.
It was always destined to be a historic afternoon. When else has a team fought for a flag it knew it couldn't defend?
AFL Tasmania's well- oiled PR department promotes the State League under the slogan "It's better live."
It has an unfortunate, if apt, double meaning.
For much of a season Thorp described as "interesting", fans might have wondered if it was going to remain live for much longer.
For at least three member clubs, it won't be next season.
But after a campaign in which crowds have been known to turn out in their hundred, for the grand final they came in their thousands.
And watching it live was a reminder how impressive it is to see Russell Robertson take a screamer, how much a behind post wobbles when Thorp runs into it and quite how drunk members of cheer squads can become.
The game began with so many wasted opportunities and behinds that Thorp might have thought he was still at Hawthorn.
In soccer, a score of 5-0 is a sign of ruthlessness, in footy it's a sign of wastefulness.
After it took 18 minutes for Will Hanson to break the deadlock, lead changes in the second quarter were like scandals in the AFL - frequent and damaging. Whenever it seemed as if things had gone a bit quiet, another would come along to keep reporters busy.
The Bulldogs edged the third term to set up Thorp's Churchillian address and by the end Zane Brown had a head bandage to complement his rat's tail and Penguin high-flyer Robbo knew it was time to hang up the boots when an ump ruled one of his trademark marking attempts unrealistic.
Meanwhile the South cheer squad completed their pilgrimage from town end to what the ground announcer humorously called "the George Town end" and finally to the railway workers hill.
At least they were keeping fit.
And, like their players, they were smiling.