After several years languishing at the bottom of the under-18 Southern Tasmanian Junior Football League ladder, Launceston has been rewarded for persistence.
Co-captains Trey Clark and Zac Camplin are just two players who week in, week out have lined-up in the past few years knowing they were going to be in for a tough day.
However, this year under coach Peter Czerkiewicz an influx of top-end talent at Windsor Park has made life a lot easier.
The Blues under-18s will play off in Sunday’s grand final against Clarence at North Hobart Oval, from 12.30pm, having earned its spot with a come-from-behind preliminary final victory over a strong North Hobart last weekend.
Clark, 18, said this season had been a nice change and that a flag would be just reward for fighting it out.
“It has been good to see us progress. It’s good to go in with confidence, but we’ve got to make sure we stick to our plan,” he said.
Camplin, 17, added: “Hopefully we get up as we have worked hard for it this year and just to come so close would be absolutely devastating”.
“He last time we played them [at Windsor Park] we went down by a point on the siren and earlier on we lost by 20-odd points down there.”
Launceston finished the home and away season in third spot with a 11-7 win-loss record. And Czerkiewicz said his side’s win over the Demons, who had only lost two matches all season, was remarkable.
“They blew us away in the first half but in the second half we came back,” he said.
“We came back from three goals down at three-quarter time.
“In the past six weeks we’ve started to play more team football, looking for each other and having a fair old crack.
“On Sunday we will have to stop Clarence’s run because they have got a lot of quality kids in their side.”
Judah Edmunds booted seven goals last week and will be important again along with Harvey Griffiths, Thomas Dwyer, Clark and Camplin.
“We’ve got good key players across all our lines so if we can use those guys and play to our strengths we should go pretty well,” Czerkiewicz said.
“We have a lot of talent in the club at the moment.”
The Blues’ seniors were knocked out last weekend and their development league side is unbeaten.