South Launceston has steamrolled its way through to a fifth grand final in six years on Saturday and all bar one since the club rejoined NTFA competition in 2014.
The juggernaut of Youngtown never surrendered the lead once all day against a hapless Bracknell and were never seriously under threat in a brutal 20.13 (133) to 6.10 (46) win at Invermay Park.
“Most pleasing thing from a coaching point of view is that most of our instructions and most of our plans the boys implemented,” Bulldogs coach Leigh Harding said.
“We looked very organised today. We certainly were prepared to run two ways and we did all the hard things – that’s how we win a final.”
From the outset that sort of ruthless approach had South Launceston out to a two-goal break moments after the opening bounce and was stretched to a 26-point lead inside the first 10 minutes.
It actually took Bracknell 19 minutes to put a score on the board and not until 13 minutes into the second quarter to register a first – and only – goal of the half.
The Redlegs were starved of the ball with Bulldogs trio Jordan Tepper, Todd Munro and Harding putting the finishing touches towards a 41-point half-time lead.
Harding said the intention was to get on the front foot.
“I went and had a look at Bracknell play last week and they came out and hit Hillwood real hard,” he said.
“And every game we play Bracknell, no matter what, the boys are sore and I’m sure today was no different.
“But it’s just pleasing that we were disciplined and we made it count where it mattered on the scoreboard.”
Bracknell had been forced to come out without courageous coach Gary Shipton, whose back came off second best in a physical contest.
Shipton’s men also had to figure out how to overcome 37 forward entries to just 12 in the lopsided first half.
After Dylan Johnston’s opening minute goal of the half for the minor premiers, the Redlegs kicked three of the next four to draw the margin back to 35 points. But the Dogs warranted their flag favoritism to surge ahead in the premiership quarter.
“We always know at some period of the game, they were going to have the edge and the ascendancy,” Harding said. “For eight minutes of that third quarter, they did.
“We were gritty enough to only let them capitalise a bit and were able to finish the quarter off with a couple scoring shots ourselves.”
That final term was a procession. The unbeaten division 1 side’s run and spread game became too much.
South Launceston kicked seven goals to two, including the first four unanswered.
“I know South are a very, very good side, but what they won by was quite disappointing for us,” Shipton said.
“There was a lot of things that didn’t go out way today – the 50-50s I thought didn’t.
“But you can’t take anything away from South.”
Bracknell will wait on Sunday’s cutthroat final between Hillwood and Scottsdale to decide the Redlegs’ fate.
“The last four years we’ve played in prelims – so we’re used to them,” Shipton said.
“It would’ve been nice to go straight in [the grand final] and not do it the tough way.”
We certainly were prepared to run two ways and we did all the hard thingsSouth Launceston coach Leigh Harding