Hobart Forever Boys - Hobart Rises From The Ashes

Hobart Rises From The Ashes

1998 saw Hobart join the Southern Football League (SFL) under coach Ray O'Rourke. As a prerequisite of joining the League the club were forced to abandon their traditional jumper and Tigers emblem because of Kingston already laying claim to that emblem in the League.

Hobart's first tentative steps into its new environment was a home match against Kingston at the TCA Ground on 11 April 1998.

The young Hobart side, after leading for much of the day were eventually overrun by a bigger bodied Kingston team by 17 points in front of 826 patrons.

1999 saw Hobart, under Steven Gilbee take out their first SFL premiership by defeating Brighton by 51 points at Huonville Recreation Ground before 3896 fans on Grand Final day. Hobart won a club record 18 wins for that season.

Hobart's 2000 campaign got underway in fine style winning 15 out of their first 16 matches (many by huge margins) for the season before a plethora of injury problems plagued the side late in the season.

Hobart finished minor premiers but were defeated by New Norfolk by 1 point in the first qualifying final, later defeating Cygnet by 70-points in the second semi final the following week before bowing out to eventual premier Kermandie in the rain at Pontville Oval in the Preliminary Final by 8 points.

The club continued to find heartbreak in finals, bowing out to Brighton in the first semi final in 2001 by one point.

The club failed to make the finals in 2002 and coach Steven Gillbee retired as player and coach, with the club giving him a stylish send off and a 55-point win over Glenorchy in the final roster match.

Hobart signed Michael "Jock" McGregor as coach in 2003 and the club had a rollercoaster season, winning several matches early in the season before winning just two out of its final ten matches going into the finals.

Hobart rallied to defeat Glenorchy by 22-points (elimination final), New Norfolk by 51 points (first semi final) and Clarence by 1 point in an epic Preliminary Final at North Hobart Oval.

Grand Final day was a disastrous one for Hobart, who had three tough finals matches in the lead-up, including only a five-day break between matches, whereby, its opponent North Hobart were well rested and were able to add listed Tasmanian Devils players to its line up on the day.

The result saw North Hobart win by a record 110 points in front of a crowd just 4,289 people at North Hobart Oval.

In 2004 Hobart were relatively uncompetitive for the greater part but scraped into the finals, playing Kingborough (Kingston) in the Elimination Final at North Hobart Oval losing by 25 points, 9.14 (68) – 14.9 (93).

At the time of this match, strong rumour surrounded the club that this was to be the last match played by the club in its traditional colours.

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