LAUDERDALE booked a berth into its maiden State League grand final with a gritty victory over a spirited Launceston in the season’s penultimate stage at Bellerive Oval on Saturday.
Thor Boscott was the centrepiece for the Southern Bombers, who were coming off a semi-final shellacking, sparking many scoring opportunities in the 12.14 (86) to 9.8 (62) result.
However, Scott Hill and Robbie McManus were reported and will face a nervous wait to see if they are clear to face North Launceston at UTAS Stadium next week after a hit to the midriff of Jake Nunn and a dangerous tackle on Brodie Palfreyman, respectively.
The Blues, who had prevailed in two previous sudden-death Southern finals, started brilliantly with three goals in the opening five minutes through Joe Boyce, Connor Smith and Sonny Whiting.
Sam Lonergan’s men were on top around the ball and sharp in attack with Lauderdale’s first major coming in the 14th minute via a freakish snap from Dylan Fyfe.
The hosts slowed the game’s tempo and controlled a brief period of play before Boyce and Smith again went bang, bang. Alex Hill converted a timely six-pointer after the siren to reduce Launceston’s quarter-time advantage to three goals.
The Southern Bombers were a different side following the first break with their midfield and defensive groups dictating play, resulting in five goals to Launceston’s one in the second term.
Lauderdale led 7.7 (49) to 6.5 (41) at half-time and both sides came out wanting to score in the third – adding three goals each.
Blues veteran Nathan O’Donoghue booted three to take his match tally to three with Boscott, Fyfe, Rulla Kelly-Mansell and Lauderdale skipper Bryce Walsh making it a seven-point ball game with one quarter to play.
However, Launceston were held scoreless in the final stanza with Wiggins kicking his second and Ben McGuinness sealing the deal.
Boscott all match, Mitch Anderton on Whiting, Josh McGuinness in defence, Franklin through the middle, Walsh up front and Haydn Smith in ruck were outstanding in triumph.
O’Donoghue, Chris Savage, Lonergan and Hinds fought hard in defeat.
“It was a bit of a concern at quarter time because they got some really easy goals on us, we wanted to be able to shut that down,” Winter said.
“Some of our goals just come from bombing the ball forward, which in those conditions we wanted to do and we were able to get over the back of them a couple of times.
“We through a lot of people through our midfield to ensure they remained fresh.”
A proud Lonergan said the result hurt but that it would only bring his group closer together. “We’ve had a group from the start were eager to listen and willing to learn,” Lonergan said.
“They’ve done a fantastic job to get themselves into this position.”
Lonergan said his side had built the foundation for future success with a host of promising talent coming through.
Lauderdale 2.3, 7.7, 10.8, 12.14 (86)
Launceston 5.3, 6.5, 9.7, 9.8 (62)
GOALS, Lauderdale: D. Fyfe 2, R. Wiggins 2, A. Hill 2, J. McGuinness 1, T. Boscott 1, B. McGuinness 1, P. Bellchambers 1, B. Walsh 1, N. Franklin 1. Launceston: N. O'Donoghue 3, J. Boyce 2, C. Smith 2, R. Kelly-Mansell 1, S. Whiting 1
BEST, Lauderdale: T. Boscott, M. Anderton, J. McGuinness, N. Franklin, H. Smith, P. Bellchambers. Launceston: J. Hinds, S. Lonergan, C. Savage, C. Smith, J. Aganas, N. O'Donoghue.