An overnight bucketing in Hobart produced a soft North Hobart Oval, but the surface remained largely quite good. The questions being asked in the media during the week were about possible match ups, but in the end the match ups were of little consequence to the game.As always there were players with milestones in the last game of the year; both Clarence's Danny Noonan and Burnie captain Dale Whish-Wilson playing their last games. Brenton Tapp (Clar) played his 150th, and Jarrod Read finally got picked for a grand final after narrowly missing in the 1995 loss to North Launceston, and playing nearly every other game only to be dumped rfom the 1996 premiership team.
The game started in blaze of glory for Jarrod Read, scoring the first goal. Closely followed by the fourth. Inside seven and a half minutes Read had given Clarence a 23 point lead, and lead the way after finally making it into a grand final.
By the time Burnie scored a major the game looked over. Other than Read, Gavin Cooney was the other standout player at the beginning of the game. The Dockers were not totally out of the play, yet by quarter time Clarence had stretched the lead to thirty points, and something special was going to be needed by the Dockers if they were to win.
That something special came from an unlikely source, Leigh Heath started getting the hard possessions to fire up the rest of the Dockers. Gaby one of those to lift dramatically as aresult. The Dockers first comeback had them trailing by just nine points at half time, a seeming impossibility a few minutes into the second quarter. When Gaby and Grant Williams goaled early in the third, the Dockers had hit the front and had all the momentum. Then they stopped, as Noonan went one on one with German, who was favouring one leg slightly, asnd tore him apart. Cooney again picked up lots of the ball, Holdsworth started to look dangerous, Winter came good; and Clarence again opened up a seemingly matchwinning margin of almost eight goals at three quarter time.
Not many sides make two big comebacks in one game, but after looking dispirited at three quarter time it was Burnie who had all the answers. In the opening few minutes the Dockers had all of the ball, but poor kicking at goal (1 goal 4 after about three minutes) looked to kill off any hope they had of gaining one of the most memorable wins in TFL football. But the Dickers kept coming, and at the fifteen minute mark it just looked possible; with Clarence struggling to get the ball forward of centre despite their playmakers still getting the ball. The Roos still had the advantage that they could just hold up play at evry opportunity, and they attempted that. In the end their one goal in the last term was enough to get Clarence over the line - the Burnie players absolutely shattered.
The Roos were well served by all their usual best; Noonan, Cooney, Ricci, Winter and Alexander as well as Jarrod Read. Burnie's best was Gaby; German, E Bourn, both Kent and Grant Jackson, Hering and Heath not far behind.
BURNIE CLARENCE 3 1 19 8 1 49 9 6 60 11 3 69 11 9 75 19 6 120 18 14 122 20 9 129
Burnie: 5 Hering; 2 Whish-Wilson, German, Reynolds, Gaby, E Bourn; 1 Williams, Atkins, Whitehead Clarence: 5 Read; 4 Cooney; 2 Holdsworth, Noonan, Ricci; 1 Wilson, Sharpen, Winter, Cullen, Tapp Darrel Baldock Medalist: Danny Noonan (Clarence)
Reserves: North Launceston 10.17(77) df Burnie 10.9(69) Under18s: (Devon)Port 9.16(70) df Glenorchy 6.11(47)
Ulverstone 7.1 10.6 18.6 21.8 (134) East Devonport 1.1 6.2 6.4 8.8 ( 56)
Yet again Ulverstone win all three grades.
Claremont 2.1 4.1 5.1 8.1 ( 49) Kingston 3.2 4.8 7.14 10.14( 74)