Roos bound home over Tigers

Written by Alex FitzGerald

Clarence has continued its strong 2017 campaign with a classy 61 point win over a Tigers outfit that ran out of legs after a competitive start at Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon.

The Eastern shore powerhouse led at every change in a physical and at times spiteful clash, and despite a low-scoring third quarter, booted six goals in the final term to finish comfortable 16.15 (111) to 7.8 (50) winners in the fading light.

The first quarter saw both sides move the ball quickly and confidently, with a high standard of football on display in sunny conditions.  Clarence drew first blood with an early Michael Blackburn goal, but the Tigers responded almost immediately when Mitch Walker marked strongly and converted from 45 out soon after.  The Roos had their second through playing coach Jeromey Webberley after some slick ball movement out of the middle, and from then on the intensity lifted, with some big tackles on the grandstand wing bringing the small but vocal crowd to life.  Crafty small forward Ethan Brock wrong-footed his opponent to kick the Tigers’ second goal, and when Brandon Batchelor converted a long set shot soon afterwards, it was very much game on.  The Roos kicked two quick majors however and went into the first break ahead 4.4 (28) to 3.2 (20).

Clarence came out full of run in the second stanza, with Ian Callinan and Webberley both lively as the home side struggled to contain the former AFL-listed duo.  They finished with a goal apiece for the term, as the inaccurate Roos booted four majors to one to head into the rooms 30 points up at half time, with the scoreboard reading 8.9 (57) to 4.3 (27).

The Tigers came out fighting in the third quarter, with some gutsy defensive efforts halting the Roos’ charge, albeit temporarily.  Michael Blackburn slotted his second goal early in the term to stretch the Clarence lead, but Jack Bilson returned fire from a free kick to give the Tigers hope.  The rest of the quarter was a battle for both sides, with spot fires breaking out all over the ground as tempers flared.  After 15 minutes the deadlock was finally broken when an undisciplined late hit on Aiden Grace saw a down-field free kick result in Blackburn’s third goal, and with one quarter to go, Clarence led 10.11 (71) to the Tigers’ 5.7 (37).

The final term well and truly belonged to Clarence, as they put on the jets to showcase the brand of football that has seen them firm as contenders this season.  The Roos hit leading targets at will, with every player in red and white seemingly finding the football.  Forwards Trent Standen and Zac Buechner were rewarded for their efforts, slotting two majors each for the term as the away side finished the match full of run, kicking six goals to two to finish up 61 point winners as the sun set over the hill.

Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley was pleased with his side’s ability to finish with plenty of run, putting it down to the hard work done at training across the bye .

“I thought their pressure around the ball in the first quarter was fantastic; they were really able to challenge us early.

“Our endeavour and attack on the ball and want to defend for four quarters was pretty good.  We got some good fitness into the guys over the two week break where they obviously didn’t have the impact on their bodies; we got some pretty good running sessions in.

“We had a big pre-season and we’ve tried to keep that advantage over the bye.”

Webberley was particularly impressed with the performances of veterans Trent ‘Speedy’ Standen and Brady Jones.

“Speedy’s had an outstanding start to the year, and his effort and intensity have been first rate.  I reckon (Jones’) last five or six weeks have been outstanding; it was definitely the best game he’s played this year.”

Standen was electric for Clarence across half forward, finishing with two goals, while Mariner Zac Buechner and the hard-running Michael Blackburn kicked three majors apiece.  Aiden Grace and Ian Callinan had plenty of the ball in the forward half, while Jones and Webberley dominated through the middle of the ground.  Jason Bailey was unpassable at full back, holding Mitch Walker to a single goal, while James Holmes mopped up across half back with a number of intercept marks.

For the home side, Mariners trio Lachlan Gadomski, Toby Cowen and Lachy Watt all tried hard playing on more experienced opponents in the midfield, while Mitch Carter and Tyler Carter stood out with their defensive efforts.  Marcus Davies provided a contest every time he was near the ball, laying some crunching tackles in a bruising first half.

Tigers coach Aaron Vince was impressed with how his players stood up at times across the match, but conceded that Clarence were the better side on the day.

“I thought the boys put in an exceptional performance in the first quarter, and that our third quarter was pretty good as well.

“In the last quarter we got beaten on the outside a bit and they showed more run and polish with their skills going forward; they’re a very good side and they put a lot of pressure on the ball carrier.”

Vince was optimistic when asked about the Tiger’s future, and believes his side will have their time in the sun when key players return from injury and representative duties.

“We’ve blooded about eight or nine debutants this year; they’ll learn from each time they step onto the field, which is all we can ask;  We’d like to think that towards the end of this year we’ll start to show what we’ve got.”

In the Stay Chatty Cup, Clarence faces an impressive Lauderdale at Lauderdale Oval next week, with both sides in a rich vein of form.  They’ll have to take on the southern Bombers without Webberley, who limped from the ground late in the match with a hamstring injury, but the Roos’ coach believes his side has the form to take the four points.

“It’s a massive game, but we think we’ve got the team structure tp go down there and play well.”

The Tigers will head to North Hobart Oval to take on the Hobart City Demons in what shapes up as a battle to remain a mathematical finals chance, with the boys from Kingborough having defeated the inner-city side in a close match earlier in the year.

TIGERS v. CLARENCE
Round 11 – 17/06/2017

Clarence                                4.4,  8.9,  10.11,  16.15  (111)

Tigers                                  3.2,  4.3,  5.7,  7.8  (50)

GOALS, Clarence :
Z. Buechner 3, M. Blackburn 3, I. Callinan 2, J. Webberley 2, T. Standen 2, J. O’Brien 1,
K. Howlett 1, B. Jones 1, A. Grace 1

Tigers :
M. Walker 2, B. Batchelor 2, C. Sawdy 1, E. Brock 1, J. Bilson 1

BEST, Clarence :
J. Bailey, B. Jones, J. Holmes, T. Standen, M. Fisher, A. Grace

Tigers :
M. Carter, L. Gadomski, L. Watt, M. Davies, T. Cowen, T. Carter