The time is coming for Mitch Thorp's Launceston - it's just not quite yet.
On a day when Jay Blackberry made a successful return to senior footy, the Blues led by as many as 19 points early in the third term before Lauderdale muscled out a three-goal win at Windsor Park.
The 12.14 (86) to 10.8 (68) result was as telling of Lauderdale's experience as it was Launceston's progression as the Southern Bombers found a way when it counted against an improving Blues outfit.
Having conceded a 28-0 run in the third quarter, the Blues fought back to hit the lead twice in the final term but intense pressure and decisive majors from Matt Elliott, Edward Trupp and Alex Saunders sealed the game.
"We did a lot right for a long part of the game," Launceston coach Mitch Thorp said.
"Ultimately their experience probably shone through, and the weight of numbers around clearances gave them too many inside 50s and that's where a little buffer opened up.
"It wasn't until the second part of the last quarter where they just clamped us a bit at stoppages and we couldn't get enough inside 50 looks - when we got in inside 50 we inevitably scored.
"We led for long periods today against probably the premiership favourite so it's hard to be too critical - but it doesn't take away the competitive edge that I've got that I want to progress quickly."
Thorp led from the front with three goals and 10 marks, and had good support from James Gillow and Blackberry, who each kicked two classy goals.
Tim Bristow and Fletcher Seymour were both industrious, while young trio Miller Hodge, Casey Brown and Jack Tuthill, who kept ex-Gold Coast Sun Jacob Gillbee goalless, impressed down back.
"As hard as it is [to lose], it's actually part of the process a young side needs to go through around closing the gap and going onto win is having tight games like that and learning from it," Thorp said.
"Losses like this will galvanise us as a group - they give opportunities to learn and educate.
"We were well aware we started the season with some youth in the side and these games are really going to assist with our progression."
Experienced midfielders Sam Siggins, Nat Franklin and Phil Bellchambers led from the front in the second half to lead Darren Winter's side to victory.
"I thought they did a very good job to bounce back, especially against a quality side like Launceston and against their midfield - we rate their midfield very highly," Winter said after the game.
"I think when the game's in the balance everything picks up ... it was good to see our boys be able to match that pressure and probably hang onto a win that was still in the balance right until the dying moments."
Know a junior sport star? Make a nomination for our 2019 Junior Sports Awards here.