Another year, another premiership for North Launceston.
The Northern Bombers etched another chapter in one of football’s great dynasties in 2019, recording a fifth #BUPATSL flag in six seasons and third premiership on the trot.
With the Lynch Medal (Josh Ponting), Baldock Medal (Josh Ponting), RACT Insurance Player of the Year (Brad Cox-Goodyer) and the TSL + Development League premiership double, there wasn’t much the club didn’t do in 2019.
Many viewed the Northern Bombers as being vulnerable this season after the departures of Tom Bennett, Mark Walsh, Zach Burt, Tarryn Thomas and others in the off-season. Inclusions such as Liam Davies, Jack Rushton, Jordan Tepper and Braden van Buuren hit the ground running, however, with the club’s depth thriving under the test of selection squeeze.
Young players such as Sherrin Egger, Karlton Wadley, Fletcher Bennett, Tom Donnelly and James Curran continued their development, while the late-season inclusion of Billy Edmunds also helped catapult the side to premiership glory.
While new faces and emerging names impressed, it is still impossible to overlook the influence of the side’s guns.
Cox-Goodyer, Ponting, coach Taylor Whitford, Jay Foon and Alex Lee remain genuine stars of the competition, while the likes of Arion Richter-Salter, Jack Avent and Dakota Bannister continue to hold down crucial positions and roles in the side.
North Launceston’s success this season has much to do with the team’s defensive efforts, with the Bombers conceding just 860 points for the season – the lowest of any TSL side since Glenorchy conceded 849 back in its dominant 2016 campaign.
This stingy defensive unit, headlined by Jay Foon, Arion Richter-Salter, Connor Young and Jack Avent, is at the core of everything the side does, blending well with the exciting offensive weapons further afield.
The platform built by Zane Littlejohn back in the early 2010’s shows no sign of slowing, with Taylor Whitford’s group continuing to set the benchmark year-in, year-out. Throw in a TSL Development League premiership as well, and things are looking rosy for North Launceston fans heading into 2020 and beyond.
1st, 1503, 186.51%, Premiers
Brad Cox-Goodyer – 45
Taylor Whitford – 30
Bart McCulloch – 21
Team of the Year Representatives: 5
Braden van Buuren (BP)
Jay Foon (HBF)
Josh Ponting (W)
Brad Cox-Goodyer (HFF) – Captain
Taylor Whitford (HFF)
Best and Fairest:
Josh Ponting claimed the Jack Hill Medal as North Launceston’s Best & Fairest, polling 130 votes – 13 clear of Neil Maynard Trophy winner Taylor Whitford on 117. Brad Cox-Goodyer (102), Alex Lee (72) and Arion Richter-Salter (50) rounded out the top five in a premiership season.
A Northern Bomber claimed the competition’s highest individual honour for a third consecutive season with Josh Ponting claiming his second Alastair Lynch Medal in as many years.
2017 winner Brad Cox-Goodyer finished eighth with 11 votes ahead of Jordan Tepper (9), Bart McCulloch (6), Dakota Bannister (4), Jay Foon (4), Jack Rushton (4) and Taylor Whitford (4) in another productive season for the club.
RACT Insurance Player of the Year:
The Northern Bombers again featured in the pointy end of the RACT Insurance Player of the Year award, with Brad Cox-Goodyer polling 21 votes to claim the award ahead of Launceston’s Fletcher Seymour. Cox-Goodyer overtook Seymour with seven votes across the final three games, capping off a season that saw him poll in 10 games.
Josh Ponting was the next best Northern Bomber with 16 votes (third overall), ahead of Taylor Whitford (10) and Alex Lee (9).
This one is pretty obvious.
A fifth premiership in six seasons, and a third flag on the trot further enhanced the legacy of this North Launceston dynasty, and confirmed the team’s status as one of the greatest of the modern era.
Lauderdale threw everything at the Northern Bombers, getting back to within just nine points early in the final term, but consistently had an answer, with the likes of Baldock Medalist Josh Ponting, young key forward Jackson Callow, Jay Foon and Taylor Whitford all impressing on the big stage.
Ponting, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Whitford all commented that this was the ‘toughest’ Grand Final they had played in, and with so many new faces, it was as sweet as any of the others throughout this period of dominance.
There were storylines everywhere you looked.
The win etched Jack Avent, Brad Cox-Goodyer and Taylor Whitford into the record books as five-time premiership players.
Jay Foon and Arion Richter-Salter tasted premiership success once again after missing out in 2018.
Jackson Callow, in just his fourth senior game, channeled Jack Graham in impressing on the big stage. Josh Ponting and Alex Lee, the latter with a heavily strapped knee, took home their fourth premiership medallion, while young players such as Tom Donnelly, Rhyan Mansell, Ben Simpson and Kartlton Wadley all won premiership number three.
The move to UTAS Stadium was justified for Liam Davies, Jack Rushton, Jordan Tepper and Braden van Buuren, with the first-year Northern Bombers all tasting premiership success.
A remarkable team delivered another spectacular season to further establish one of Tassie footy’s greatest dynasties.
An 18-point loss to the Tigers in round 15 was a clear disappointment, with this loss at the time threatening to jeopardize the team’s hopes of yet another minor premiership.
The Tigers were impressive, defending the Northern Bombers to near perfection, with North only mustering six goals for the game.
Losses to Lauderdale at Skybus Oval in round five and UTAS Stadium in round 13 would also be lowlights, being the side’s only other losses for 2019.
2019 In Three Words:
Still the benchmark