North Launceston’s status as modern Tasmanian football’s premier outfit was further enhanced on Saturday afternoon, with Taylor Whitford’s side running out 29-point winners over Lauderdale to secure a fifth premiership in six season, and third on the trot.
The Southern Bombers threw everything at the contest, with the final 13.10 (88) to 9.5 (59) scoreline not fully reflecting the competitiveness of the clash.
Josh Ponting was a deserved recipient of the Baldock Medal after a dominant midfield performance that saw him pick up 29 disposals and prove impossible to stop both on the inside and outside of the contest.
Ponting was well supported by his captain Brad Cox-Goodyer, who worked his way into the contest in the midfield, while the attacking prowess of North Launceston was on full display, with 17-year-old wunderkind Jackson Callow snaring three in a coming-of-age performance.
The ever-impressive North Launceston defensive unit again did the job, with Jay Foon providing terrific drive and Jack Avent at his typically industrious best. Ruckman Alex Lee, who was under a serious injury cloud heading into the game, was also herculean, playing out the match and performing well despite obvious discomfort with his knee.
North Launceston needed to be at their best, with Lauderdale riding waves of momentum throughout periods of the game.
Playing-coach Taylor Whitford was proud of the efforts his side, with Whitford now a five-time premiership player alongside Avent and Cox-Goodyer.
“This is the culmination of 10 months of hard work. It all comes down to one day and you don’t have much control over it. It’s just relief.
“It was a different sort of Grand Final this season… it was a real see-sawing affair.
“We knew we had to score in that final quarter and knew that if we battened down the hatches, we weren’t going to win the game. That last quarter was the best quarter we played today. We took the game on and showed that we were the fitter team.”
Whitford was highly impressed by the efforts of Callow, who after a year dominated with Tasmania Devils NAB League commitments, slotted seamlessly into senior TSL football in the march towards finals.
“He’s going to be a superstar. He is going to be a superstar and won’t be here much longer.”
Callow was on from the outset, marking strongly and hitting the scoreboard with the final goal of the opening term.
The 17-year-old’s trademark ‘sticky hands’ were on full display, as was his tackle pressure; with Callow laying a crunching tackle on fellow Devil Oscar Shaw in the second term near the boundary line before sinking his third goal of the afternoon and extending the Northern Bombers’ lead to 25.
Lauderdale were well led by skipper Bryce Walsh, with the midfield beast at his combative, competitive best.
Edward Trupp was another standout, doing a terrific job in shutting down the dangerous Bart McCulloch.
Lauderdale looked rather different to the side that went down in the Semi Final to North Launceston a fortnight earlier, moving the ball well. Missed opportunities proved costly, however, with some missed opportunities in front of goal in the first term giving the Northern Bombers an early advantage.
Lauderdale made repeated inroads into North’s advantage, but were consistently repelled, with North Launceston manufacturing answers to every challenge.
The Southern Bombers got to within just nine points early in the final term, after a Henry Kerinaiua major on the three-quarter-time siren and Ben McGuinness goal at the six-minute mark.
But it would be the final surge for Lauderdale, chasing its first senior TSL flag and looking to avenge the Grand Final heartbreak of the previous two years, with a Sherrin Egger goal at the eight-minute mark stifling any momentum.
Jackson Callow’s third and Billy Edmunds’ second adding the cherry on top to secure the club a third consecutive Bupa TSL Premiership and fifth in six seasons and the extension of an already remarkable dynasty.
North Launceston 4.3, 7.5, 10.8, 13.10 (88)
Lauderdale 1.2, 5.4, 8.5, 9.5 (59)
North Launceston : J. Callow 3, W. Edmunds 2, D. Bannister 2, J. Ponting 1, J. Foon 1, S. Egger 1, B. Simpson 1, T. Donnelly 1, B. Cox-Goodyer 1
Lauderdale : N. Raglione 2, H. Kerinaiua 1, B. McGuinness 1, R. McManus 1, A. Hill 1, A. Saunders 1, E. Trupp 1, S. Burge 1
North Launceston : J. Ponting, J. Avent, J. Foon, J. Callow, R. Mansell, W. Edmunds
Lauderdale : B. Walsh, N. Franklin, E. Trupp, J. McGuinness, H. Kerinaiua, N. Raglione
Baldock Medal Votes
|Josh Ponting (North Launceston)||14|
|Bryce Walsh (Lauderdale)||7|
|Jackson Callow (North Launceston)||4|
|Jay Foon (North Launceston)||3|
|Taylor Whitford (North Launceston||2|
Baldock Medal Voting
Trent Baumeler – J. Ponting 3, B. Walsh 2, J. Callow 1
Damian Gill – J. Ponting 3, B. Walsh 2, J. Callow 1
David Mohr – J. Foon 3, J. Ponting 2, J. Callow 1
Chris Rowbottom – J. Ponting 3, B. Walsh 2, J. Callow 1
Carl Saunder – J. Ponting 3, T. Whitford 2, B. Walsh 1