Three-time reigning premier North Launceston has gone top of the table for the first time this season after a "scrappy" nine-point win over Clarence.
The 10.8 (68) to 9.5 (59) result was somewhat soured by an injury to forward Tom Bennett, who had been returning to his best form after a season in the NTFA.
The 27-year-old kicked two goals before rolling his ankle in the second term.
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"He was fantastic - probably our best player to be honest and then he went down," Northern Bombers coach Taylor Whitford said.
"He's a pretty sore boy so he'll go and get a scan and hopefully it's ok - you never really know.
"He was building some really good form so hopefully it's on the better end of bad for him."
With the SATIS grand final contributing to a combined 10 changes pre-game, both sides were forced to improvise.
North Launceston assigned Jack Rushton's pressure forward role to his namesake of all trades, defender Jack Avent, who finished with a goal in an impressive display.
At the other end, the absence of five-goal Guilford Young College teen Noah Holmes paved the way for recalled forward Chris Nield to slot a handful of his own.
But it was the experience of North Launceston - Brad Cox-Goodyer, Josh Ponting and Bart McCulloch - that ultimately proved the difference as the Bombers turned a "clunky" performance into four points.
"We definitely got beaten around the footy the first half," Whitford said.
"We played a really good third term and kicked away a little bit with a couple of goal margin and held that in the last, so it was pretty clunky today but we came away with a win."
The Roos remain in fourth spot three weeks out from finals and could cause trouble if they get there.
"They're good - their kids go really, really well," Whitford said.
"They're very well structured, they were clean inside, their mature players played well and their kids played well.
"That's two games now where it's been a 10, 15-point margin both times so it's been a couple of good contests against Clarence."
North Launceston 2.3, 4.5, 8.8, 10.8 (68)
Clarence 3.2, 5.3, 6.5, 9.5 (59)
- GOALS, North Launceston: B. McCulloch 2, T. Bennett 2, B. Lowe 2, J. Avent 1, D. Withers 1, T. Whitford 1, B. Cox-Goodyer 1
- Clarence: C. Nield 5, K. Wylie 1, J. Green 1, L. Swinton 1, S. Green 1
- BEST, North Launceston: B. Cox-Goodyer, J. Ponting, A. Richter-Salter, M. Walsh, J. Avent, C. Young
- Clarence: C. Nield, K. Howlett, J. Bailey, B. Jones, S. Green, R. Bailey
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