North Launceston teenagers Connor Young and Rhyan Mansell won’t have far to look should they require any advice ahead of their first senior grand final.
As well as the wealth of experience on offer from their multiple-flag-winning teammates, the pair will also be able to call upon the help of their fathers - both North premiership players.
Just four years ago, a 13-year-old Mansell came to North Launceston’s 2014 grand final clash as a spectator with his father Brett; one of North’s 1995 flag winners.
On Saturday, Mansell will line up in the Bombers’ grand final team in just his first season on the senior list.
“I’m from Prospect so Mum always wanted me to play for Launceston or Prospect in junior football but Dad made me come down and play for North,” Mansell said.
“He coached me and I won a few flags in juniors under him so now I’m just working my way up.”
The St Patrick’s College student said he had occasionally spoken with his dad about the 1995 grand final, which saw North claim a 10-point win over Clarence under the captaincy of Norm Smith medallist David Rhys-Jones.
“We’ve talked about it a bit, I’m pretty sure it was wet down at North Hobart.
“There’s a bit of family history there so hopefully I can add to that this weekend.”
Mansell’s 19-year-old teammate is the latest in a long line of Youngs to represent North Launceston, spanning back two generations to legendary player and coach Tony “Chang” Young.
The star-studded family tree also includes Connor’s dad Tony (better known as Ossie), older brother Lochlan and three uncles – all of whom have played in flags for North.
“It means a fair bit to my family to try and win one and to get up there with a young name,” Young said.
“I’ll definitely see them after the game and I’m pretty sure it’d be a big celebration if we won.”
Lining up alongside Mansell in the Bombers’ back six, Young has played 15 games this season including a best-on-ground performance against Lauderdale in round 1.
The 2016 debutant said while there had been some nerves leading up to the grand final, he was more than ready to perform on the big stage.
“It’s been a very enjoyable season, having good coaching staff and good players around you makes it a lot more enjoyable to go out and run around with them, it’s the players and coaches that make it enjoyable and it’s a credit to them I suppose.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there and having a run round, the nerves are kicking in at the moment but I’m sure they’ll settle down once the game starts.
“I’m expecting a pretty hard contest and it to be a hot footy early, and then hopefully the game settles down a bit.”
The TSL grand final between North Launceston and Lauderdale will take place at 3.30pm at UTAS Stadium on Saturday.
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