Write off North Launceston as a premiership contender at your own peril.
That's the advice of Launceston coach Mitch Thorp heading into Friday's Phil Edwards Cup clash with a new-look Northern Bombers side.
Losing a handful of star talent in the off-season including Taylor Whitford, Josh Ponting, Arion Richter-Salter, Bart McCulloch and Sherrin Egger, North has named four debutants for round one.
It's a remarkably similar situation to the one Launceston found itself in two years ago when Sam Lonergan's exit coincided with an exodus of talent including Dylan Riley, Rulla Kelly-Mansell and Chayce Jones.
RELATED: Clubs forever thankful for Edwards
Like North Launceston this year, the Blues chose to expose their youth to the big time with Jack Tuthill, Jacob Boyd, Grant Holt, Alec Wright and Tyson Miller among those becoming senior regulars.
Eighteen months later, the Blues were celebrating a record four premierships in one weekend.
"The expectation was that we would decline really quickly and it was actually the opposite," Thorp said.
"It took us a couple of games to get going, but we ended up making the prelim and probably should have made the grand final.
"My past experience with younger sides is that often you get closer to 100 per cent effort than you maybe do from a side that has maybe won a few flags.
"I don't think they're going to drop away - I think some of their young guys will be super motivated to play well."
The Phil Edwards Cup, which pays tribute to The Examiner's former sports reporter, began in 2018 and has been won by both clubs.
The cup is awarded to the club that scores the most goals over a series of games, with Launceston and North Launceston set to meet in five matches (seniors, development, under-18, under-16 and under-14) on Friday.
Thorp and North coach Brad Cox-Goodyer spoke glowingly of Edwards' legacy in Tasmanian football.
"Phil's done a tremendous service for Launceston sport and [especially] football," Cox-Goodyer said.
"I think the Phil Edwards Cup we've been doing the last couple of years has been a great thing and hopefully it keeps building into the future."
Bombers president Thane Brady said: "We are proud to host the Phil Edwards Cup.
"Phil was a champion for all local sports codes.
"This is a special day as it's rare UTAS can host junior and senior football on the same day."
NORTH LAUNCESTON V LAUNCESTON
UTAS STADIUM, FRIDAY
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