He was already a two-time premiership captain and in only his first season at the helm – Taylor Whitford is an all-conquering coach.
“It’s the best feeling in the world – you will never take it away from me,” the 26-year-old said in the aftermath of an North Launceston history-making chapter.
Whitford is the third person behind mastermind Zane Littlejohn and Tom Couch to lead the Northern Bombers to glory in the past five years and he was full of praise for the charges that willed themselves to victory.
“What a group. In the first half we played into Lauderdale’s hands a bit with the way we were moving the footy,” he said.
“But the second half we started to control the ball a little bit… we threw [Beau] Sharman and [Mark] Walsh back, we took Sherrin [Egger] forward.
“Every time this group is challenged they respond.”
The Northern Bombers are the most successful team in the reincarnated TSL with Whitford, captain Brad Cox-Goodyer, Zach Burt and Jack Avent lucky enough to be part of four success stories.
While former Devonport captain Sharman, his North-West pal Egger, Melburnian Michael Tang and Rocherlea’s favourite son Jordan Cousens joined a growing club. Both Jay Foon (injury) and Arion Richter-Salter (suspension) were in tears celebrating with their Bombers family having missed out on a medal.
But Whitford said every player on North’s books helped the Invermay-based club achieve the main prize.
“[First session pre-season] I asked the group what their legacy was and from their actions and what they’ve done today, they’ve proved that their legacy is going to live on for a very long time,” Whitford said.
“This year was really tough considering the fact – what more could they do?
“Jay is really unfortunate with the injury he got, Arion – we were very disappointed with how that went. [However] this footy club’s never been about one person.”
In the other dressing rooms Lauderdale coach Darren Winter, who was visibly devastated, said his side’s inability to capitalise on its chances cost them at crucial stages. “We probably didn’t play that well today but full credit to North Launceston who are certainly a well-drilled team,” the veteran coach, who was suspended for six weeks in the aftermath of last year’s decider, said.
“It’s hard to crack them and we had a bit of a dip at them in the first half, but they stayed strong and just got a gap on us that was a little too big.
“We didn’t have too many players that played their role today, which was probably the most disappointing thing. We probably got caught up in the moment again, which we will just need to get better at as we lost our structure too often.”