NORTH Launceston celebrated Allan O'Sign's 200th game with a gutsy 14-point victory over Burnie in their State League clash at Aurora Stadium yesterday to reclaim a top-five spot on the ladder.
It wasn't pretty football, but the Bombers fought hard after letting a close one slip against the Storm last week and withstood a last-quarter challenge from the Dockers to record an important 11.9 (75) to 8.13 (61) win.
In a first-quarter arm wrestle both teams could only manage a goal each with Burnie paying the price for inaccuracy, kicking 1.5 for the quarter and missing gettable shots.
North had the better of the second quarter with star recruit Chris Tarrant kicking three goals for quarter as it banged on five to Burnie's two to lead by 14 points at quarter-time.
Neither team got on the scoreboard in the first 10 minutes of the third term until Brad Cox-Goodyer broke the impasse with a snap that extended the Bombers' lead to 22 points at the 11-minute mark _ but two late goals in time-on to Chris McDonald cut the deficit for Burnie back to eight points at three-quarter time.
With four points up for grabs, the Dockers kicked the first two goals of the final quarter through Nick Walters and Dylan Smith to grab a four-point lead and looked likely to run away with a victory.
But to North's credit it responded with three in a row, from 200-gamer Allan O'Sign, captain Mitch Van Den Berg and Cox-Goodyer, to open up a 13-point advantage.
Nick McKenna kicked one for Burnie to cut the margin to seven points mid-quarter but Cox-Goodyer's fourth proved the sealer as North held on to win by 14 points.
Cox-Goodyer finished with four goals to be North Launceston's best with Tarrant kicking three and Van Den Berg two while McDonald finished with four for the Dockers as their best player.
``It was a very important win but it wasn't a pretty win and we didn't play our best footy again,'' North coach Zane Littlejohn said.
``We turned the footy over over a little bit at times but we came away with the win and that's what we came to do.
``After last week the boys could lose a bit of confidence from that situation when it didn't go our way but this week they obviously learnt from that and for them to show a bit of character _ I was really impressed.
``They stood up when they needed to stand up.''
The victory saw North jump from sixth to fourth on the ladder just behind Glenorchy on percentage while Burnie's defeat saw it drop from third to fifth ahead of next week's bye.