An early exit in 2017 paved the way for a sweet breakthrough as Bracknell tasted its first reserves success since 2004.
Knocked out in straight sets last year after an unbeaten roster season, Dion Blair’s men were desperate for redemption and it showed throughout their 8.11 (59) to 5.9 (39) win over reigning premier South Launceston – the same side that stunned the Redlegs in the 2017 semi-final.
A snapped goal in the final minute from Graeme Khan medal winner Nicholas Jones put the icing on a victory which was set up by a five-goal opening term.
“We put a lot of hard work into this,” Blair said.
“We’ve just built and built until the end of the year, and the last four or five games have been absolutely fantastic from every player who’s taken to the ground.”
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From the moment Conan Duhig goaled in the first minute South Launceston was always behind, but Jordan Bennett and Nicholas Claxton ensured the Dogs were never without a sniff of the lead.
A Luke Tepper goal eight minutes into the final term trimmed the margin to nine points, but a succession of intercept marks from Majak Miar late in the game thwarted any chance of a comeback.
“He took a lot of defensive marks when they were kicking forward,” Blair said of his star ruckman.
“Our pace in the last quarter from Sam Henley and Cameron Johns ... four or five run-down tackles was the difference and the accountable football we played in the last quarter was great.
“I said to the boys at three quarter time, ‘if we put our head down, bum up and play the good, old-fashioned Bracknell way, the scoreboard will look after itself’ and it did.”
Jones said his side had ‘”dug deep” when it mattered in the final term.
“It’s a range of emotions, you put in the hard yards throughout the season - you train on those cold nights and you hit the track and think ‘when is it going to end’?” Jones said.
“But you play footy for this reason - to lift that cup at the end.”