North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford believes State League grand final counterpart Darren Winter will have learned plenty from last year’s capitulation.
The Northern Bombers’ figurehead was in confident mood as he prepared for the club’s fifth straight grand final, but his first at the helm.
Whitford embraced selection headaches like the return of defender Jay Foon, encouraged his charges to enjoy the occasion and would only say that his premiership coach Tom Couch would be “in the squad” for Saturday’s showpiece.
But the part-time teacher went back to the classroom when questioned about the corresponding encounter last season when Winter gave his players free rein to target Couch’s young Bombers and ended up with an 87-point hiding and six-match suspension after an equally bruising preliminary final defeat of Launceston.
“You would have thought that Darren learned a lot from last year’s grand final as did our group,” Whitford said.
“It would probably be silly to think they will come out and play the exact same brand of football but realistically it’s about how we want to play and want to do to unsettle them.
“They learned some things, we learned some things, we move on.”
Whitford watched Lauderdale defeat Glenorchy in Saturday’s preliminary final and said the Southern Bombers are a quality outfit chasing their first flag and seeking to win from outside the top three for the first time in State League history.
“Completely different (to last year). Not only in the personnel they’ve got but the style of footy they’re playing as well.
“They like to take the game on and get it forward because they have got some dangerous forwards.
“They’ve got quality all over the ground.”
Whitford’s observations were echoed by his captain who is chasing a fourth premiership in his fifth final at the ripe old age of 25.
“They are probably a bit more potent,” Cox-Goodyer said.
“Their two Aboriginal boys up forward are very dangerous and Jacob Gilbee has got AFL experience. They’ve probably got a deeper list.
“(But) we’ve had a pretty big list change from last year as we do most years with plenty of new guys involved that didn’t play last year and they’re bringing everyone else along with with their excitement.”
North will have Monday, Wednesday and Thursday training sessions this week ahead of the clash.
Whitford, who teaches at George Town’s Port Dalrymple School where Carlton coach Brendon Bolton’s sister Gina is principal, also said there is plenty of shared ground between his two careers.
“They’re both all about teaching and learning, just a different curriculum.”