Written by Mitch Stagg
Clarence has done what no other southern side has been able to achieve in 2018 and conquered Launceston on their home turf of Windsor Park. The Roos were able to restrict a wasteful Blues outfit in the opening term on Saturday afternoon, before exerting immense physical pressure on their prime movers in the second quarter to set up an eventual 41-point victory over the home side.
Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley paid testament to his sides approach to the game, with the win moving the Roos into second position on the table behind North Launceston.
“We really had a goal this week of coming up here and having a four quarter performance.
“We spoke about coming up here and creating our own environment and I could just sense on the bus trip up and in the rooms before the game that we were on,” Webberley said.
Forward Chris Nield kicked five goals in the 13.10.(88) to 6.11.(47) triumph, while the enigmatic Jake Cox slotted three majors of his own in another imposing performance.
The stars appeared to be aligning for the visitors, after Blues midfielder Jobi Harper hit the post from the top of the goal square in the opening stages of the first quarter.
The term would offer little for the highlight reels, with the Roos remaining steadfast during a succession of Blues forward entries in a dour struggle. The quarter would see only one goal kicked by either side, with Clarence holding a slender three-point lead at the first change.
A second quarter surge would prove to be the catalyst for an upset win, with Clarence monopolizing the football and breaking down the Blues defenders with a flurry of inside 50 entries.
Former Old Scotch premiership player Fletcher Seymour was busy in the midfield, while the ever present Cox was simply unstoppable inside the arc, kicking two goals for the quarter to give the Roos a 28-point advantage at the main break.
Launceston battled manfully to exorcise their demons in the second half, but the Roos simply outclassed them in all facets of the match, with inaccurate goal kicking plaguing the Blues on the scoreboard, including two uncharacteristic misses from competition leading goal kicker Mitch Thorp, who was held goalless for the day.
Conversely, the Roos were slick in possession, using the corridor to great effect and wreaking havoc on the Blues defensive structures, with Nield capitalizing on a series of long balls over the back of the defense in a clinical forward display.
Launceston coach Sam Lonergan was disappointed with his sides second poor showing in as many weeks, noting that the bye had come at a good time for his group.
“Our group is pretty flat at the moment about the way they have performed.
“The bye really can’t come quick enough for our group just to regroup and get their stuff sorted and get on top of their game,” Lonergan said.
Lonergan was particularly scathing of his sides conversion in front of goal, pointing to a strong focus on that area of their game in the weeks ahead.
“Conversion in front of goal was not where it should be for this level of football.
“We will have to focus in on a few things in the next month of footy to make sure we get that out of our game,” Lonergan said.
For the beaten hosts, Joe Boyce toiled hard switching between forward and defense and Jake Smith (2 goals) tried to spark his side on the scoreboard, but the winners for the Blues were few and far between.
The victorious Roos now look forward to a top of the table clash with North Launceston at Blundstone Arena, with Coach Jeromey Webberley embracing the test for his young side.
“We front up next week and make sure we bring the effort. Again it’s a learning experience for our players and we need to make sure that when they have momentum that we can limit that.” Webberley said.
Launceston 0.4, 2.7, 4.11, 6.11 (47)
Clarence 1.1, 7.5, 10.7, 13.10 (88)
Launceston: J. Smith 2, J. Gillow, S. Whiting, M. Hodge, D. Riley
Clarence: C. Nield 5, J. Cox 3, T. Cunliffe, A. Dickenson, J. Holmes, J. Brenner, T. Birchall
Launceston: J. Boyce, J. Smith, D. Riley, M. Hodge, J. Boyd, J. House
Clarence: C. Nield, J. Cox, T. Cunliffe, R. Bailey, T. Williamson, F. Seymour