The presence of a mobile, versatile ruckman has never been more important, and as TSL Digital Reporter Josh Duggan writes, Clarence appear to have one at their disposal.
In modern football, there’s a growing need for ruckmen to be effective footballers right across the ground and not to simply just dominate the hit outs tally, with the prospect of finding such players often a difficult one.
It has become clear throughout 2018, however, that Clarence do not have such an issue, with Ryan Bailey continuing his spell as one of the competition’s dominant big men.
Bailey kicked four goals in Clarence’s 62 point victory over the Demons on Saturday at Blundstone Arena, splitting time effectively between his ruck duties and inside forward 50.
“Ryan was clearly our best player, kicking four goals as a Ruck Forward” said Clarence Assistant Coach Mitchell Swan after the contest.
“He spent a couple of years away from the club coaching, and his game’s pretty complete now; he can play ruck, he can play forward, he marks the ball, and he’s a great kick for a ruckman.”
Bailey spent time in the SFL coaching Brighton; that spell has served him well upon his return to the TSL, as he’s consistently been amongst Clarence’s most influential players this season.
The ‘Roos knew they needed to find a ruckman this season, with Wade Wall unavailable for the second half of the year, and Bailey has taken the role by the scruff of the neck.
Game situation allowed Bailey to roll forward frequently on Saturday, with Clarence’s midfield group dominating the contest in the middle allowing Bailey to roam around the ground.
Bailey was well supported inside forward 50 by Alex Silver, who kicked five goals and Chris Nield (four), while young ‘Roos Jacob Smith, James Brenner and Jack Preshaw also impressed alongside 100 gamer Matt Ling.
A youthful North Hobart side struggled to deal with the pressure that the Roos applied in the first half, but improved to produce a competitive contest in the later stages of the game.
“We challenged the group at half time,” North Hobart Coach Richard Robinson said.
“To the boy’s credit, the second half was much better; but at TSL level you can’t just play a half of footy.”
Will Peppin and Jacob Steele were some of the better performers in that second half for the Dees, while Callum Kilpatrick and Nathan McCulloch kicked two goals each and contributed well.
Clarence will now face a trip to Windsor Park against Launceston in round 11, while North Hobart will prepare to take on North Launceston at UTAS Stadium.
Clarence 6.0, 11.5, 14.10, 16.12 (108)
North Hobart 1.1, 2.2, 5.3, 7.4 (46)
Clarence: A. Silver 5, C. Nield 4, R. Bailey 4, T. Cunliffe, F. Seymour, J. Webberley
North Hobart: N. McCulloch 2, C. Kilpatrick 2, M. Woods, O. Di Venuto, J. Barwick
Clarence: R. Bailey, A. Silver, J. Preshaw, J. Brenner, J. Smith, M. Ling
North Hobart: W. Peppin, C. Kilpatrick, N. McCulloch, N. Lee, J. Steele, B. Walker