LEGACY ROLLS ON
Season 2019 was far from a foregone conclusion for the Northern Bombers.
Premiership stars Tom Bennett, Mark Walsh, Jake Pearce, Jordan Cousens and Zach Burt all left to play NTFA, leaving a new breed of Bombers to support the A-grade talent of Brad Cox-Goodyer, Taylor Whitford, Josh Ponting and co.
Heartbreak story Braden van Buuren played every game of the season in defence and won a spot in the TSL's team of the year before missing the grand final with an elbow injury, while fellow recruits Jordan Tepper, Liam Davies and Jack Rushton all played roles throughout the year.
READ MORE: Three-peat added to North dynasty
The Bombers were questioned on several occasions - especially after a second consecutive loss to Lauderdale and a first-ever loss to Kingborough - but were near unbeatable at the business end of the season.
"I'm pretty bloody proud of this group - we've been through a lot," Whitford said.
"We started from down here - the first practice match we played, we played against Glenorchy at Campbell Town and we got our pants pulled down.
"Our guys like the Jordan Teppers and Liam Davies of the world said ... 'this is a bit different' so we had a long way to make up.
"I thought those losses during the year were really good, they bound us together and showed our flaws and from that point on I don't know how many we've won in a row."
North ruckman Alex Lee's knee was a huge talking point throughout grand final week.
Injured in the semi-final, Lee missed training through preliminary final week before rejoining the bunch on Wednesday.
He emerged on Saturday with a full leg brace - shin guard, knee pad and strapping - but got through the game unscathed.
"Any little knock directly on the knee cap and I would have been gone so I definitely tried to play it safe," the 24-year-old said.
"I didn't care what the opposition said - as much padding as possible to protect it and get through the game.
"We had a doctor there after the game at the semi-final and he basically told me straight away as long as you do all the rehab you should be right, so I always knew I was going to be fine."
Lee said playing in a fourth flag was worth every minute of rehab.
"I'm ecstatic - I don't think words can describe winning a premiership, it just keeps getting better and better with each one," he said.
"2015 was a good one because it was my first grand final and this one's the icing on the cake really."
Still only 17, Jackson Callow starred in his first exposure to senior grand final footy.
The Tassie Devils talent looked the most likely of any forward on the park and presented well around the ground for three goals and a handful of contested grabs.
Confronted with a premiership medallion in just his fourth game, the St Patrick's College student said settling into a grand final had been made easier by those around him.
"I can't describe it - I've never had it before," he said of the premiership feeling.
"It was an unbelievable feeling, to come in and only play a few games and get up I can't believe it.
"All the boys were welcoming, they all got around me - it was a team effort and we got it done."
His coach was only too happy to sing his praises.
"He's going to be a superstar," Whitford said.
"He's got some stuff to work on - his endurance and his ability to get around the ground - but he's got a pretty good foundation of strength, hands and size.
"He's just got to get his body prepared and follow the trend that Tarryn [Thomas] did the year before."
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