Lauderdale’s nightmares of UTAS Stadium last September resurfaced with North Launceston inflicting a 94-point loss on its state Bombers rival.
Saturday’s margin was seven points greater than last year’s grand final result as the premiers, and new ladder leaders, had 24 more scoring shots in winning 19.19 (133) to 5.9 (39).
“It’s a satisfying result even though we didn’t defend ruthlessly enough at times,” Northern Bombers coach Taylor Whitford said.
North held last year’s runners-up scoreless in the opening term as they were forced to look on as the hosts piled on 46 points in 29 minutes. The defending champions’ deep midfield cohort were a class above Clint Brown’s equivalent – winning almost every stoppage as North had 12 scoring chances kicking with a strong wind to three unsuccessful ones.
Captain Brad Cox-Goodyer and centre-half forward Tom Bennett snagged a couple, while Whitford, Zach Burt and Jake Pearce all joined in on the party as their defensive teammates such as Arion Richter-Salter and Jay Foon looked iron clad.
North’s inside 50 and pressure dominance continued to have the Southern Bombers sweating, rushing and rattled in the second term as Josh Pointing and Bennett pushed the lead out to 58 points five minutes in.
Alex Hill broke the drought at the seven-minute mark with a crumbing goal, only to make it back-to-back majors seven minutes later.
Just when Lauderdale had wrestled its way back into general play, it was taken away in red time with goals to Burt, debutant Jaidyn Harris and Whitford to give North a 12.6 (78) to 2.4 (16) advantage at half-time.
Bart McCulloch sat out the second half with a hamstring strain as North’s superiority only strengthened with five goals to one in the third term.
Ryan Wiggins slotted Lauderdale’s third, however, Whitford’s army feasted on their opponent’s regular skill errors which allowed Cox-Goodyer, Josh Ponting, Dakota Bannister, Jay Foon and Bennett to add to the scoreboard misery.
The margin was 88 points at the final change before a two-apiece final term saw out a relatively boring encounter to the neutral observer.
North was well served by its plethora of A-grade on-ball brigade and the luxury of rotating Whitford (three goals), Cox-Goodyer (three goals), Mark Walsh, Bannister (one goal), Ponting (two goals) and Jordan Cousens through the midfield and up forward. Add that to the firepower of Bennett (four goals), Burt (two) and company – North rightly remain flag favourites.
“You’ve got all those guys and then you’ve got Jack Mazengarb who came in today and played well and looked up to the pace,” Whitford said.
“It was also good to see the boys get around Jaidyn Harris when he kicked his first senior goal… he’s worked so hard over the past two years and he was clean most of the day.” Hill and Jacob Gilbee both converted two majors, while Josh McGuinness was Lauderdale’s best.