TOM Couch hoped for glory when he took over as North Launceston coach but never expected it.
After lifting the premiership cup with his skipper Taylor Whitford on the other side, Couch was clearly feeling like he had just jumped out of an aeroplane from 1000 feet or conquered Mount Everest.
He was visibly proud of what he and his well-drilled side had achieved – extending what Zane Littlejohn started and taking the club’s record to three flags in four years.
Couch had four players that had played in all four and eight that received their first premiership medallion.
“You work so hard all year, it’s been 10 months since we started pre-season and for the siren to go it hasn’t sunk in,” he said.
“It’s a credit to the players and as I’ve said all year, I’ve never met a playing group like this, they're pretty special and they earn everything they get. It’s not just talent that’s yielded the success of the past four years, it’s all down to hard work and dedication.”
The 29-year-old son of the late Brownlow Medallist Paul Couch said his side handled Lauderdale’s targeted aggression in an educated way.
“We knew they’d come out firing but we didn’t think they could last four quarters with that type of pressure so we just backed our game and fitness in,” he said.
“We said to the players before the game that ‘you don’t win the premiership going the biff’ and if that happened we were going to stay clear of it … we were happy to cop it and we got a lot of frees.”
Animated Lauderdale coach Darren Winter spoke to the umpires at quarter time, questioning “lots of things”.
“[The umpiring] was putrid today,” he said.
Winter admitted that his side was undisciplined in the club’s first State League grand final.
“The boys have had a good season, we obviously didn’t finish it off the way we would have liked but we will get back to the drawing board and have another go next year,” he said.
“I told them at half-time to ‘stop giving the umpires the opportunity to pay a free kick against you and be more disciplined’.
“We probably got sucked in a little bit but they will learn from that.
“There is a lot of pride in the group and to their credit they fought the game out right to the final siren.”
Winter said he was unsure if he would continue on next season and that the club would reassess the season and try to go one step further next season.
“We certainly won’t rest on our laurels over summer. We were beaten by whatever margin and by a really strong team,” he said.
“I’ll talk to the leadership group over the next couple of weeks and see where we’re at.”