Written by Anthony Osborn

In a tantalising sample of what we can expect in the first week of September, Clarence have hung on to register a nail-biting one-point victory over archrival Lauderdale to celebrate captain Brady Jones’ 100th match in style.

In a clash that saw both sides keep a few tricks up their sleeves in preparation for finals football, Clarence’s 9.10 (64) to 9.9 (63) victory ensured the ‘Roos remained the only side to have not lost to the Bombers in 2017.

In a match lacking any real starring individual performances, both sides engaged in an enthralling low-scoring and pressurised tussle that saw both defensive groups stand tall.

The opening term was a scrappy affair due to the pressure of the contest, with a late goal to Ian Callinan in the dying seconds of the quarter proving to be the only difference in the arm wrestle as the hosts took a six-point lead into the first break.

The hosts threatened to blow the contest apart in the early part of the second term as the match opened up, with a Jake Cox goal and two in quick succession from Sam Siggins extending Clarence’s lead to 20 points, before a supreme finish from Ray Hill and Campbell Hooker’s first kept the door ajar for a Bomber resurgence come the main break.

The third term saw the contest tighten right up again, with a goal to Gabriel Chambers early in the quarter not matched by Lauderdale until the 20-minute mark when Hooker booted his second. However, the hosts again found a rebuttal through Cox to maintain a 12-point buffer leading into the final term.

These opening three terms laid the foundations for a stunning finish to the contest, with goals to Alex Hevey, Jordon Roberts and Nat Franklin in the first half of the final term turning a 12-point deficit into a one-goal advantage as the Bombers threatened to run away with the points.

But with the game on the line it was time for the milestone man Brady Jones to step up, and step up the Clarence skipper did – kicking a sensational goal to regain the lead for his side before a tidy Kyle Palmer-Hughes snap at the 18-minute mark somewhat settled the nerves of the home fans.

These nerves were only temporarily eradicated, however, with a Josh McGuinness goal soon after reducing the deficit to just a solitary point at the 24-minute mark, but time proved to be the enemy for the Bombers as Clarence held on, to register a thrilling victory by the narrowest of margins.

Brady Jones led from the front in his 100th match with a solid four-quarter effort, capped off by the clutch captain’s goal in the final term. Jack Gleeson provided an impact when he rolled through the midfield while Jake Cox and Sam Siggins further underlined their credentials with two majors each. Playing-coach Jeromey Webberley was also impressive in his return from injury with class and leadership.

While no Bombers dominated the likes of McGuinness, Bryce Walsh, Ryan Wiggins, Nat Franklin and Thor Boscott were again impressive.

Clarence Assistant Coach Mitch Swan was pleased with the result, particularly after the disappointing loss to North Launceston a fortnight ago.

“We haven’t had a great two months. This was not our greatest game but it was important for us to get momentum and we got a good win against a good opposition – we took some steps forward today.”

Swan refused to claim that Clarence have a mental edge over the southern Bombers, despite the ‘Roos three-from-three record over the enemy in 2017.

“I don’t necessarily think that- we have some confidence that we have been able to beat them three times. But they are still a good team, we both held a few things back today… Confidence, yes- but not much more than that,” Swan said.

Lauderdale coach Darren Winter agreed with this sentiment, instead reinforcing the confidence his side have gathered across the season.

“Not really- we have probably had the wood over them (Clarence) over the past couple of years. If losing by a point is a mental edge, well maybe they have but I don’t think so. The boys are pretty comfortable with the season to date and have done enough for a double chance.

“The intensity will be different come the first final.”

Winter was far from upset by the loss, insisting that it was timely preparation for September.

“It was a good solid pressure game we needed going into the finals- and although the result was not what we wanted it was a good hit out.

“It was a strange game, both sides were trying to get through it without any injuries and it seemed like it was a bit of a nothing game with no fight. We didn’t want to get involved in any of that stuff,” Winter said.

Lauderdale further explored their versatile list by throwing forward-turned defender Ryan Wiggins back into the attacking 50, as well as the likes of Josh McGuinness and Max Klverkamp into the midfield.

“We weren’t getting drive in our forward half and (we) threw things around a bit. Wiggins can change that- he is a big rooster and he took some big marks and changed the game a little bit. McGuinness and Kleverkamp will play through the middle more in the finals” Winter said.

Injuries to Jason Bailey (ankle) and Jackson O’Brien (shoulder) will leave Clarence with plenty to think about leading into September, with Bailey’s rolled ankle ending his day prematurely, while O’Brien’s shoulder concern didn’t end his day but may require some management over the next fortnight.

Lauderdale emerged unscathed from the clash heading into the bye to finish the home and away season, but Rhys Sutton proved to be a costly late withdrawal, with his groin injury depriving the Bombers’ of his trademark drive, carry and work ethic on the wing. But with Sutton, Robbie McManus and Ben McGuinness set to return for the first final, Clarence will almost certainly be faced with a vastly different Lauderdale outfit.

Swan insists his side will approach next week’s clash with fellow finals side Glenorchy as ‘business as usual’, but admitted it may also provide an opportunity for those on the verge of selection.

“Luke Murfitt-Cowen, Justin O’Brien and Alex Silver have all been knocking on the door but we just need to keep winning and build momentum leading into the finals series.”


Round 20 – 19/08/2017

Clarence                                2.2,  5.5,  7.7,  9.10  (64)

Lauderdale                              1.2,  4.3,  5.7,  9.9  (63)

GOALS, Clarence :
S. Siggins 2, J. Cox 2, I. Callinan 1, B. Jones 1, G. Chambers 1, K. Palmer-Hughes 1,
T. Standen 1

Lauderdale :
C. Hooker 2, J. McGuinness 1, J. Roberts 1, R. Wiggins 1, T. Boscott 1, N. Franklin 1,
A. Hevey 1, P. Bellchambers 1

BEST, Clarence :
B. Jones, J. Gleeson, M. Ling, S. Siggins, M. Fisher, T. Castle

Lauderdale :
N. Franklin, J. McGuinness, T. Boscott, B. Walsh, J. Williams, R. Wiggins