Launceston failed to use its double chance and vindicate itself following last week’s fade out, going down to last year’s runner-up Lauderdale in a cutthroat semi final by 72 points.
The Blues were nowhere near their damaging best as the Southern Bombers’ attack had rattled under lights at UTAS Stadium from the first bounce.
Sam Lonergan’s talented list said goodbye to 2018 in losing 17.12 (114) to 6.6 (42), while Lauderdale will meet Glenorchy in the season’s penultimate fixture next week.
Unlikely goalkicker Ed Stanley finished with 7.1 to single-handedly outscore Launceston by a point.
“We come up here expecting a pretty tough contest, which it was in the first half,” Bombers coach Darren Winter said.
“We knew they were going to chip and run the ball through the middle and we wanted to be able to shut that down.
“I thought the attack on the ball was really good, we didn’t give them anytime or space to make decisions and we were able to shut them down.
“Our forwards worked really hard up the ground.”
The Bombers controlled the contest with 16 to five first-term inside-50s, but didn’t completely capitalise.
Hudson Medallist Mitch Thorp broke 10 minutes of congested football in a seven-point play with a snap around his body, before Stanley and Henry Kerinaiua went bang, bang.
Stanley, Phil Bellchambers, Rhys Sutton and Thor Boscott along with Matt and Josh McGuinness provided plenty of drive, while Blue Brodie Palfreyman was almost playing a lone hand.
Dylan Riley had the Blues trailing by three points at quarter time as the hosts willed themselves along.
Stanley, Robbie McManus and Boscott pushed the margin out to 23 points halfway through the second term as Launceston struggled to move the ball with any confidence or ease.
They showed great persistence as they were made to work overtime for their next major, which came via a Jake Hinds snap.
However, it was undone after Jake Smith gave away a freekick and then a 50-metre penalty that took Haydn Smith to within range. And he didn’t disappoint, slotting the set shot after the siren to have the Bombers up 6.7 (43) to 3.2 (20) at half-time.
Lauderdale lost Ryan Wiggins for the match in the opening seconds of third term to a right ankle injury, before Toutai Havea and Stanley’s third put the visitors up by six goals to almost seal the deal as the game opened right up.
Thorp (two goals) and Riley (three) were Launceston’s only hope up front, but it was never going to be as Stanley added three in the third quarter to push the deficet out to 30 points.
The nails in the coffin came two minutes into the final stanza with Kerinaiua’s second and then when Stanley dribbled through his sixth to make it 41 points.
And they weren’t done there as it turned into rout with a seven-goal-to-two behind final quarter. Kerinaiua finished with four while Sutton, the McGuinness boys, Alex Hevey and Josh Williams were all brilliant.
For Launceston, Palfreyman, Riley, Thorp and Sam Rundle fought the good fight.
Lonergan was understandingly disappointed to finished third and not win a final.
He said he chose not to throw men back last to safe face and that last week’s loss played a role in the result.
“As much as you try and shelter them from it has to be a contributing factor so it will be interesting to see how Glenorchy handle that this coming week,” Lonergan said.
“Our players have learnt a very hard lesson.
“They’ll wake up tomorrow and have learnt something whether its a positive and they’ve learnt how to win, or its a negative and they’ve grown and can mature from it.”