By Hamish Spence
North Launceston have won the TSL Development League Premiership, triumphing in a six-point thriller over the Tigers at Blundstone Arena on Saturday.
The Northern Bombers were down by 13 points during the last quarter, but kicked the last three goals of the game, to leave as 9.8 (62) to 8.8 (56) winners.
The Tigers fought their way back into game after a goalless first quarter, gaining the ascendancy in the second and third.
It looked like they were in control in the last quarter after a quick two goal start, but they could not hold on as North Launceston came storming home.
The riveting contest was no surprise, after the teams produced two classics decided by just one-point during the season, including the semi-final which went into extra time.
North Launceston got off to a strong start, kicking four goals to the Tigers zero in the opening quarter.
Oliver Sanders showed how to kick off a Grand Final, with a booming goal from outside 50.
The Tigers gave away some costly frees, high contact on Thomas Foon, who made no mistake with the set-shot, and a deliberate rushed behind gave Harry Rand his first.
Dylan Headland quickly got in on the action with a snap goal, from an inside 50 entry directly out of the centre square, giving the Northern Bombers a 23-point lead at quarter time.
Cooper Sawdy took a strong contested mark at the start of the second and then received a 50m penalty, making the Tigers first goal a certainty.
Alex Bessell created some magic by weaving through traffic and kicking a goal from just inside 50, continuing the Tigers strong start.
Harry Rand read the pack and snapped his second to curtail the Tiger momentum.
Josh Huizing had the classy finish with a banana, with Jack Pearce providing the assist at ground level. Cooper Sawdy crumbed the contest and rolled through his second, as the Tigers clawed the margin back to less than a kick.
Ben Elmer laid a great tackle and was rewarded for his efforts. He goaled after the siren to give the Northern Bombers some breathing room, taking an 11-point lead into half-time.
Jordan Lane made his presence felt with the only two goals of the third quarter, taking over the game in just a couple of minutes.
He took a big contested mark and converted, before having his lead honoured and landing his second major, giving the Tigers the lead for the first time.
No more goals were kicked for the term, with scores all tied up at the final break.
The Tigers made the perfect start to the last. Cooper Sawdy had strong hands in the goal square and kicked his third, and Lewis Edwards shrugged an opponent and finished out the back of the marking contest.
Jack Mazengarb gave North Launceston exactly what they needed, after he stormed through the pack and snapped the Northern Bombers first goal since half-time.
Both teams had their opportunities across the next ten minutes, before Ben Elmer was infringed upon in the marking contest and slotted his second, giving North Launceston a one-point lead.
The Tigers tied it back up with a minor score, before North Launceston moved the ball to the other end of the ground and Lachlan Cocker snapped the match-winner, after collecting the spill from a Ryan Whitney tackle.
North Launceston held on to claim the Premiership cup by just six points in a remarkable contest that had the strong, building crowd on the edge of its seat.
Connor Pearton was awarded the best on ground medal for his game in the middle. Cody Lowe was strong in the ruck and gave his on-ballers first service, while Andy Potter was great down back, continuing his good form from last week’s game.
Cooper Sawdy was the leading goalkicker on the ground with three and took some big contested marks.
Edward Burrows-Cheng covered an incredible amount of territory and made his presence felt all around the ground, while Ben Graham impressed in defence and Alex Bessell’s skills showed throughout the game in a strong midfield performance.
Tigers: 0.2, 4.4, 6.6, 8.8 (56)
North Launceston: 4.1, 6.3, 6.6, 9.8 (62)
Tigers: C. Sawdy (3), J. Lane (2), A. Bessell, L. Edwards, J. Huizing
North Launceston: H. Rand (2), B. Elmer (2), L. Cocker, T. Foon, D. Headland, J. Mazengarb, O. Sanders
Tigers: M. Collidge, E. Burrows-Cheng, M. Reynolds, B. Graham, A. Bessell, J. Keogh,
North Launceston: C. Pearton, C. Lowe, A. Potter, J. Mazengarb, J. Harris, M. Cossins