Launceston's oldest and youngest players helped overturn a 21-point deficit and maintain a telling statistic heading into next weekend's elimination final.
Saturday's 11.11 (77) to 11.4 (70) win over Kingborough was not without dramatic momentum swings, but did ensure that the Tigers enter their maiden TSL finals series having never beaten the Blues at Windsor Park.
What was touted as a dress rehearsal for next Saturday looked headed for a routine Launceston win when the margin read 26 points at half time, but Kingborough had other ideas.
ELSEWHERE IN SPORT
Aided by a three-goal wind, a Tigers side missing Kieran Lovell and Marcus Davies went ballistic with eight unanswered goals as Michael Paul (five majors) slotted four for the term and Tyler Carter (three goals) two.
It took the relentless ball-winning of veteran Tim Bristow and a sealing 50m bomb from 16-year-old debutant Bailey Gillow to get the Blues over the line.
Coach Mitch Thorp said Bristow and captain Jobi Harper had stood up in the absence of rested stars Fletcher Seymour, Jay Blackberry and Dylan Riley.
"I'm really pleased that when the game was there to be won our competitiveness really shone through," he said.
"We take some confidence out of the game - we've played them three times this year and won three times so that's important for us.
"Having a bit of momentum going into the finals is important and then throw in Blackberry, Seymour, Riley, Jared Dakin - they're four pretty quality young men and footballers, so that'll be important to get those four boys back in the side to sharpen us up a little bit."
Young utility Alec Wright enjoyed another impressive game up forward, kicking four goals including a crucial out-the-back effort in the dying minutes of the third to trim the margin back to 14 points.
He and Thorp (three goals) helped tie the scores at the 12-minute mark of the last, kick-starting an 11-minute block of play where neither team could score.
It was not until a high free kick was converted by Gilllow - who was subsequently congratulated by every Blue on the ground - that the home side could breathe out.
Thorp labelled the goal "one of the most enjoyable parts of the season", and also reserved special praise for Seymour, who surrendered the chance to seal the player of the year award by spending the day in a tracksuit.
"I'm full of admiration for Fletch," Thorp said.
"He came to me on Thursday night and said I'm fractionally tight so I said 'ok, we'll go to the physio'.
"He was all clear to play but said he didn't want to risk it because the finals are too important to him and what he wants to achieve is team success.
"To take himself out of the game when he's sitting on top of the media votes says a lot about his character and what we're building here."
The Blues escaped the match with no injury concerns, while Tigers William Poland and Jarryd Drew both sat out the second half.
Launceston 2.1, 7.5, 8.8, 11.11 (77)
Tigers 2.3, 3.3, 11.4, 11.4 (70)
- GOALS, Launceston : A. Wright 4, M. Thorp 3, C. Brown 2, B. Gillow 1, B. Palfreyman 1
- Tigers : M. Paul 5, T. Carter 3, L. Clifford 1, J. Lister 1, S. Duigan 1
- BEST, Launceston : T. Bristow, A. Wright, J. Harper, B. Gillow, J. Smith, R. Tyrrell
- Tigers : R. Matthews, L. Watt, L. Clifford, B. McCulloch, M. Paul, H. Johnston
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