Launceston capped its flawless development league season with a hard-fought 34-point grand final victory over dogged arch-rivals North Launceston.
The unbeaten favourites controlled a large percentage of the low-scoring and at times dour encounter – winning 7.7 (49) to 2.3 (15).
The Blues were forced to withdraw star Jared Dakin, infuriating coach Oli Cook, and lost Jack Tuthill to injury early. “Jack has gone to hospital and has to have some plastic surgery on his lip and Jared, who we were told was eligible, five minutes before the match,” Cook said.
“You would think there would be administration processes in place for that not to happen.”
Launceston hit the scoreboard seven times kicking with a strong breeze and in heavy rain during the opening term via Blair Rubock, Giacomo Millucci and best-on-ground performer Jacob Boyd.
North resisted the pressure well with Oliver Sanders, Callum Harrison and Cody Lowe standing out before Kasey Curtis had the host’s trailing by 16 points at quarter-time.
Lachie Gee found space out the back and Rubock was gifted his second goal via a 50m penalty to convert the only goals of a congested second term.
Lochlan Young and Fletcher Bennett were holding firm at half back for North but their forward structure was non functioning.
Boyd, Jack Donnellan, Alec Wright and Anthony Liberatore were busy in helping the Blues to a 26-point half-time buffer. Both sides added just one behind each in the third stanza, before a two-goal-to-one final term sealed the deal.
Cook said he was pleased his side were able to redeem last year’s grand final loss to Clarence.
“It was probably as day we felt things didn’t go our way… so for the boys to face the adversity they did then grind out that win was sensational,” he said.
“Jack Donnellan competed really well, Cameron Dowie’s mature approach in defence was fantastic and the whole engine room was really good.”