Written by Andrew Johnston

Clarence further consolidated their premiership credentials with a massive 89 point blowout of Devonport at Blundstone Arena, putting the Roos four points clear atop the ladder.

After some shonky kicking for goal in the first half, the Roos found their groove producing 13 goals in the second half to outclass a young Devonport.

Michael Blackburn lead the way with five second half goals, while captain Brady Jones and the much-improved Kyle Palmer-Hughes continued in formidable form, and the returning Jordan Roberts did well after two and a half years away from the TSL.

The young Devonport side stuck close with the much-fancied Roos in the first term, with a tough midfield battle seeing only six points separating both teams going into the first break. Roberts was dominant early for the Roos, while Ben Hawkes was strong across half back for the Magpies, minimising Clarence’s effectiveness inside the forward arc.

Clarence took control of midfield in the second quarter, with Sam Siggins dominating the ruck, allowing Brady Jones to make a major impact on the game. The Roos could have skipped further away but let themselves down with poor kicking, ending the quarter with four goals and four behinds. For the Magpies, skill errors began to creep in but the team’s willingness to contest saw flashes of great play, with co-captains Beau Sharman and Dylan Riley putting in strong performances in a losing cause.

The third quarter was marred with an off the ball incident, that saw Aiden Grace, who had kicked three goals, being taken from the field and not returning for the remainder of play. Despite this setback, the Roos took control of the game, booting six goals. Michael Blackburn worked his way into the game, kicking the first of five goals and captain Jones chipped in with his first, as well as setting up a number of scoring shots for his teammates.

The final quarter saw the Roos continue their dominance, booting seven goals and a behind to round off a fantastic performance. Blackburn was the force up forward, kicking four last quarter goals, whilst Luke Murfitt-Cowen also contributed three. The Magpies finished off strong and had their best quarter on the scoreboard, kicking three of their own through the co-captains Riley and Sharman, while Hawkes booted his second for the day. It was the Roos day however, running out emphatic winners by 89 points to jump into outright top on the TSL ladder.

The young Devonport team, who fielded nine players at 17 years of age, continued to show their growth from the season, and despite the margin their performance impressed coach Mitch Thorp.

“The commitment to the club, the team, the training, playing is great. They’ve just got to learn.

“I saw some great signs from our kids. Even though the skill execution isn’t there, the desperation of being in the contest is. It’s was just a clear process.”

For Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley, the game showed signs the Roos believe they can improve on in the second half of the season before finals.

“I think our next step of improvement  is for our leaders and the players on the ground to realise what sought of state the game’s in and being able to adjust to that on field. At the moment we tend to go with the momentum of the game and then we come to the break and they take on board what we’re saying. I think the next stage is to react on ground.”

In round 14 Clarence takes on Launceston in a massive matchup at Blundstone Arena as Devonport head to UTAS Stadium to take on the might of North Launceston.

Round 13 – 01/07/2017

Clarence                                2.2,  6.6,  12.10,  19.11  (125)

Devonport                               1.2,  1.4,  2.6,  5.6  (36)

GOALS, Clarence :
M. Blackburn 5, L. Murfitt-Cowen 3, A. Grace 3, I. Callinan 2, B. Jones 2, J. Harper 2,
W. Wall 2

Devonport :
B. Sharman 1, G. Millucci 1, D. Riley 1, M. Thorp 1, T. Highet 1

BEST, Clarence :
K. Palmer-Hughes, Z. Mastrocola, B. Jones, M. Blackburn, L. Murfitt-Cowen, S. Siggins

Devonport :
H. Barker, B. Symmons, B. Butler, T. Enniss, B. Sharman, D. Riley