Twenty-one of the northern suburbs best 15 and 16-year-olds, hailing from the Glenorchy and Claremont junior football clubs, have done their region proud with a strong 10-point win over North Launceston at UTAS Stadium.
The young men are members of Glenorchy's Ben Brown Academy, established last September, which has already had 36 talented players from Glenorchy, Claremont and New Norfolk juniors through the doors.
The aim of the academy, run by senior coach Paul Kennedy and TSL players, is to teach the tactics and skills of modern football to help young players transition to senior football in the near future, and also give them new skills to take back to their respective junior teams.
Already this year, academy members Brodie Carr, Tyson Stacey, Jacob Whitney and Jayden Tapp have debuted in the Magpies' TSL development league team and shown they belong at that level.
That quartet were all impressive at UTAS Stadium against a quality Bombers team coached by TSL superstars Brad Cox-Goodyer and Josh Ponting.
Bombers start strong
True to the North Launceston way, the home team brought some serious heat in the opening term, controlling the midfield contest and looking poised to take a large lead into the opening term, but the black and white defence stood firm.
Zane Butler, who has played junior football at both Claremont and Glenorchy, and Brandon Oates led the way as they absorbed entry after entry, while pint-sized Magpies Cade Burgess and Gerard Malla generated good run from defence.
Dylan Branch, Zac Braslin, Jay Webster and first-gamer Cam Direen from Claremont's U15 team showed great speed on the expansive UTAS Stadium wings to help the academy team get the game to their end late in the quarter, with a quality set-shot finish from Stacey just before the break keeping the visitors in touch.
The tide turns
The second term saw some outstanding end-to-end football from both teams, the Ben Brown Academy executing their ball movement to near perfection to close the gap on the scoreboard, with a Blake Campbell set shot and a classy Jude Saavedra running goal bridging them within two points at the long break.
It was the third term where the Ben Brown boys made their move, Carr, Whitney, Tyson, Tapp and best-afield medalist Ty Turner all standing tall in the midfield to dominate territory and set up repeat forward 50 entries.
Down back, Seb Michalowski was proving inpenetrable across half-back with his anticipation, marking and run, and he received good support from debutante Tom Gourlay, a big improver in the Magpies U16 team this season.
Up forward, Jaythan Poulson, Branch and Campbell hit the scoreboard while Jack Rolls, Rhys Armstrong and Jack Males provided some strong forward pressure, with Carr and Turner in particular also applying the heat from the midfield.
Finishing the job
Despite some wayward kicking, the academy side powered to an 18-point lead at the final change, then kicked two of the first three goals of the last term to take charge.
As is expected from a powerful club like North Launceston, the hosts charged home with the final three goals to make sure their was no easy victory for their guests, showing the Bombers also have plenty of future talent in the pipeline.
The Ben Brown Academy will next get together in September to prepare for a clash with North Hobart at the Relive the Rivalry game.