New member of the TSL Digital Media Team Josh Duggan looks at southern powerhouse Clarence ahead of season 2018.
TSL Inception: 2009 (Founded 1884)
Home Ground: Blundstone Arena
Guernsey Colours: Red and White
Club President: Roger Viney
Head Coach: Jeromey Webberley
Captain: Jackson O’Brien
Biggest rival: Lauderdale
2017 was a year of great improvement for the Roos as they took enormous steps forward to finish the Home and Away Season in second place on the ladder.
The Roos went out of the finals in straight losses, dropping matches to Lauderdale and Launceston – two sides they had the better of during the home and away campaign.
Although the Roos were unable to break through for a finals win, the side did have some individual success with James Holmes recognised as the Matthew Richardson Young Player of the Year and top 10 Alastair Lynch Medal placings for ruckman Sam Siggins (who has now left the club), Brady Jones and Jackson O’Brien.
Clarence entrered the offseason with a dual focus of building their team chemistry and integrating new players with the recruitment of several key signings from around the state, including dual William Leitch Medalist Troy Cunliffe from SFL club Lindisfarne.
Ryan Edmondson is a versatile defender, also from Lindisfarne, and will slot straight into the side, while past player Ryan Bailey has returned after his stint with Brighton in the SFL while Taylor Williamson also returns to the club after time interstate,
Other additions include Chris Nield from the Tigers, who will provide size and strength up forward, Billy Sharman from Devonport and Fletcher Seymour from OHA – two inside midfielders who can win the contested ball.
Clarence have taken a slightly different tact to last year’s preseason; giving the players a more manageable workload as they aim to reach the finals in better shape than last year.
“Last year we focused heavily on fitness and game plan, which we thought ultimately burnt us out at the back-end of last year… we’ve been a bit more relaxed this year,” Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley said.
Clarence will enter the 2018 season without stalwart Ian Callinan, but is confident there are a host of young players ready to step up into leadership roles like James Holmes and Keegan Wylie who were so impressive across 2017.
With a great youth system and some targeted recruiting over the off season, Clarence has signaled that they’re here to stay in Premiership contention. Last year’s showing gave confidence that the side is around the mark, and they’ve adapted after learning a few lessons the hard way last year.
The Roos road to glory starts with rivals Lauderdale in round 1. A bitter feud that always delivers. Clarence will be eager to avenge, still smarting from a finals loss in their most recent meeting
Mark your calendar. Clarence meets Lauderdale in rounds one, eight and 15 in three blockbuster encounters that will be unmissable viewing.