FOR the second consecutive year, the Launceston Blues have defeated the North Launceston Bombers in the Tasmanian State League (TSL) grand final. The Blues were on top all day, and were able to hold off a number of Bomber charges to claim the 2021 premiership. The best side of the home-and-away season, the Blues displayed their class and fitness to run out with an impressive and deserved win.
Blues playing-coach Mitch Thorp booted two goals in the first term to start his side’s day in excellent fashion. Former Hawk Thorp was the only inclusion for the Blues following their preliminary finals win over Clarence, replacing his brother Cody, who was handed a suspension. The Blues would add to their tally through forward Brendan Taylor and it suddenly looked ominous for North Launceston. The Bombers shortly after began to find their attacking mojo, but were continuously interrupted by the Blues’ backline, before finally slotting their first through Brandon Leary. The siren sounded on an entertaining quarter with the Blues up by a single goal, before tempers flared between Blue Jack Tuthil and Bomber Judah Edmunds, which sparked a cross-town melee.
The second quarter saw an injury to 2021 Rodney Eade medallist and Bombers captain-coach Brad Cox-Goodyer, who was forced to spend the rest of the game forward of the ball, but still found plenty of ways to impact the game, including an impressive volley goal out of mid-air. The Blues entered the second half four points up, and thanks to some handy conversion, were able to extend and hold on to the lead. A final quarter hanger from Jake Smith proved a highlight and was shortly followed by the sealing goal for the Blues, courtesy of Zach Morris, which saw the Blues run out victors to the tune of 34 points.
For the Blues, veteran ruckman Joe Groenewegen was awarded the Darrel Baldock Medal for the player judged best afield in the match. He fought hard in the ruck against Bomber Alex Lee, and was able to float forward to boot two goals despite rucking solo for most of the day. He was well-aided by teammates Jay Blackberry and Jobi Harper, who set up plenty of scoring for the Blues, while Alec Wright and Jayden Hinds did excellent jobs in the backline. For the Bombers, Mark Walsh battled all day in a commendable performance.
The Blues became just the third side to win consecutive flags in the rebooted TSL competition.
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