A fourth best and fairest award has provided a fitting farewell for exiting North Launceston coach Taylor Whitford.
One of the out-and-out stars of North's five-flag era, the 28-year-old polled 84 votes at Saturday's presentation night to win from fellow midfielder Josh Ponting (70).
Alex Lee (59) added a third-placed finish to his most consistent gong with Jackson Callow and Braden van Buuren (most valuable on/off field) rounding out the top five.
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Whitford, who will be succeeded as coach by 2020 skipper Brad Cox-Goodyer, said the award gave a silver lining to a season that fell just short of delivering a fourth-straight flag.
"I guess it puts a positive note on a year that didn't end as positively for the group as we'd like," Whitford said.
"I was reflecting on previous times I'd won the award and every time they're probably as special as each other - it's one of those ones you don't necessarily set out to accomplish, but it's a bit of a justification for the hard work over the last 12 months."
Whitford's acceptance speech paid tribute to his wife, parents and teammates following a season that also saw him claim the Bombers' goalkicking award.
"It was a pretty big year for my family with my wife giving birth to our daughter Olive and I made a special note to that hard work she's put in to allow me to be at the footy club pretty much every night from Monday to Saturday for the last nine months.
"It's as much an award for her as it is for me and my parents have been quite supportive over my time at North Launceston, my old man helping out in the coaching department and being a previous coach as well was pretty special to share that with them.
"And players I've played with, Josh finishing runner-up and having an end to his great career at North Launceston as well - he can move on to spend some more time with his family and playing at Rocherlea - and Brad, Jack Avent, Jay Foon and Zach Burt are ones I've spent my whole career with at North Launceston.
"It's going to be a little bit different next year with me not being around the place all the time so it was more about reflecting on that and thanking them for being a part of my journey."
Cox-Goodyer (best in finals) and Foon (coaches award) were others to claim awards as Nathan Pearce won the development league best and fairest from Liam Davies.
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