Devonport City placed its hands – officially – around the premiership trophy on Saturday, securing the club’s second NPL Tasmania title in just three seasons.
The dynasty that started with Peter Savill’s side in 2016 and continued with Chris Gallo in 2018 also won the Strikers’ sixth statewide title in a history that stretches back seven decades.
The NPL win had appeared a mere formality. Devonport required only the one point against Kingborough Lions or lose and for South Hobart to score at least 18 goals in a win over Northern Rangers.
They took the improbable result out of calculations in a sweeping 4-0 win.
It was also apt that Brayden Mann – again the recognised as the league’s best player hours later at Football Federation Tasmania’s awards – put the issue beyond doubt with two early goals.
The first-half strikes gave the Devonport captain 38 goals for the year to capture the golden-boot prize for a fifth time in six years.
The final NPL Tasmania fixture wraps up a brilliant year for the Strikers that had included advancing to the FFA round of 16 for the second time. They now await to hear should the NPL national final series will continue.
Former Strikers Lindsay Millington and Daniel Syson attempted to regain third place for Launceston City.
A late surge had City back from 4-2 down against Hobart Zebras to level the scores six minutes from time.
Zebras held on for a 4-4 home draw to finish the season two points ahead of City.
Jez Kenth’s side has since dropped from top spot down to fourth inside the final nine rounds after also not losing a game until 12 rounds in.
The early omens towards clinching a morale-boosting win were good for City, heading out to a handy two-goal lead.
American recruit Tyler Fischer finished the year with 19 goals after netting an early double.
But things turned awry quickly for the visitors when Zebras piled on four unanswered goals in the space of 23 minutes.
Northern Rangers could not farewell three young stalwarts the right way against South Hobart.
The Lanau-Atkinson twins and Harry Thannhauser are departing Tasmania next season to further pursue their football playing ambitions elsewhere.
Thannhauser was also playing out his 100th statewide game in the 21-year-old’s last.
Nick Lanau-Atkinson did score late to give his side hope of taking home a point.
But a Bradley Lakoseljac reply handed South Hobart a 3-1 victory at Darcy Road.
Ryan Cook and Nick Morton put Ken Morton’s men out to the early lead.
NPL wooden spooners Clarence United finished off the season on a high, collecting a 1-1 draw against the much-fancied Olympia Warriors.