PIES PREVAIL AT BLUSTERY KGV

Written by Anthony Osborn

 

Glenorchy continues to build confidence leading into their September campaign, registering a 15-point victory over archrival Clarence in blustery conditions at KGV on Saturday afternoon. The big story out of the contest was the injury to Clarence defender Keegan Wylie, who suffered a concussion and a burst ear drum and will be racing the clock to play in the first final against Lauderdale.

The reigning Premiers notched their second victory of the season over their traditional foe in the scrappy 10.10 (70) to 8.7 (55) victory that was built off the back of a dynamic second term.

Neither team was at full strength with finals nearing but the ‘Pies were dealt two further blows with the late withdrawals of Josh Watts and Mitch Hills leaving their key position stocks vulnerable.

The Magpies were forced to fight back in this second term after struggling to make the most of their control on the contest early in the opening quarter, with a flurry of Clarence goals late in the opening stanza handing the visitors a two-goal advantage at the first break.

The second term was all about Glenorchy, however, with the Magpie defence stifling Clarence to a solitary behind, while goals to Zac Webster, Brodie Rowbottom, Ben Reynolds and Tyler Bowden helped turn a 12-point deficit into a 15-point advantage by the main break.

Clarence threatened to run over the Magpies early in the third term when majors from Ian Callinan and Aiden Grace reduced the deficit to just four points but a shocking knock to the head of Keegan Wylie midway through the quarter lead to a sustained break in play, with the young Clarence star worryingly stretchered from the field.

Glenorchy responded well after this break in play with goals to James Webb and Mitch Rainbird ensuring the hosts maintained a handy 16-point buffer at the final break.

The ‘Roos came a-knocking again the fourth term, with two goals in a minute to Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley again reducing the margin to under six-points, but the home side were able to maintain composure and rally with Will Atkin and Reynolds goals before Zac Webster kicked the sealer from the goal square.

Webster’s return to the side from injury was particularly impressive, with his performance on the eve of finals pleasing coach Aaron Cornelius.

“We know what we are going to get out of Zac. He’s an AFL-listed quality player and his pressure and ball use is something that really helps us.

“We certainly prefer him playing than not.”

Ben Reynolds (two goals) was also instrumental in the victory with the key forward’s presence inside 50 proving to be a handful for an undersized Clarence defence missing the injured general Jason Bailey.

The evergreen Jaye Bowden was again impressive across the ground while Rhys Mott, Ryan Banks-Smith, Mitch Rainbird and Brodie Rowbottom were also among Glenorchy’s best.

Cornelius was pleased with the victory, particularly with some stars missing from action and some precautionary resting of players late in the match.

“12 wins is better than 11 and two up on Clarence is always nice. We sort of limped again over the line and that has been the story of our season

“I’m proud of how the guys battled it out today,” Cornelius said.

Clarence assistant coach Mitch Swan was disappointed in the result but insisted the focus has now switched completely onto the task of playing Lauderdale in next Saturday’s qualifying final.

“It was a disappointing result. We can take some stuff out of today but Glenorchy probably outplayed us.

“Both teams had a few out and they were tough conditions- we will take some out of it but it makes our focus clearer for next week to beat Lauderdale.”

Swans conceded that foot skill execution let his side down when it mattered.

“Our transition can improve and our kicking hurt us. Our endeavour was good but our kicking needs to improve.”

It was a day of few stars for Clarence with Brady Jones and Sam Siggins the only real standouts thanks to their work through the middle of the ground while Gabby Chambers and Jordan Roberts (in his return to the team) also impressed.

The Wylie injury could prove to be a blow to Clarence’s finals aspirations with the talented defender’s elite kicking and ability to intercept making him an asset and mainstay of this Clarence side.

Swan downplayed the incident, however, remaining confident that Wylie’s injury should not keep him out of action for next weekend’s huge clash.

“He got a knock to the side of the head from a knee and split the side of his head open and had some blood and concussion. We are reasonably confident he will be right to play next week,” he said.

Clarence’s injury list took another hit with Nathen Douglas also suffering a knock to the head that prematurely ended his afternoon.

With several key players set to return, including Josh Watts, and Brayden Webb, the Magpies attention now turns to a tantalising elimination final against Launceston at Blundstone Arena next Saturday.

“They (Launceston) are a very hard team- they will play four quarters and they handed out a hiding to us at Windsor Park (earlier in 2017).

“This is a different position for our playing group. In the past we have had double chances and we just haven’t got that (this season). You go out every game to win and every final to win and we will take that mentality into next week,” Cornelius said.

The difficult conditions at KGV made for less than ideal preparation for finals football, but Cornelius remained adamant that it would hold his side in good stead.

“It was windy today and probably not the ideal preparation but stoppages are a big part of finals football”

Like Glenorchy, Clarence are set to welcome key players back for the first week of finals, with the elite quartet of Trent Standen, Jackson O’Brien, Jason Bailey and Jack Gleeson all expected to play in the huge clash against Lauderdale.

The highly public saga of Jack Gleeson’s tribunal hearing is also sure to add even extra spice to one of Tasmanian football’s juiciest rivalries.

“Lauderdale and Clarence games are always great to watch and it is a final. We have beaten Lauderdale three times this year and we go in confident- playing on our home deck is a great advantage,” Swan said.

 

Glenorchy                               1.3,  5.7,  7.8,  10.10  (70)

Clarence                                3.3,  3.4,  5.4,  8.7  (55)

GOALS, Glenorchy :
Z. Webster 2, B. Reynolds 2, M. Rainbird 1, C. Daly 1, T. Bowden 1, B. Rowbottom 1,
J. Webb 1, W. Atkin 1

Clarence :
J. Webberley 2, A. Grace 2, I. Callinan 1, L. Murfitt-Cowen 1, J. Cox 1, J. Harper 1

BEST, Glenorchy :
J. Bowden, R. Mott, M. Rainbird, Z. Webster, B. Reynolds, R. Banks-Smith

Clarence :
S. Siggins, B. Jones, G. Chambers, M. Fisher, J. Roberts