After winning five games in a row to now sit second on the ladder after 11 rounds, Clarence player Chris Nield insists Blundstone Arena is a happy place to be heading into a top of the table blockbuster with the Northern Bombers this weekend.
The ‘Roos had gone under the radars of many throughout the opening 10 rounds, but last weekend’s stirring 41-point win over premiership fancy Launceston has seen the men in red and white firm as one of the teams to beat in 2018, with the win also setting up a mouthwatering top of the table clash against North Launceston.
No southern side had been able to topple Launceston at Windsor Park prior to Saturday, and Chris Nield concedes that it was something the team had put a real focus on.
“During the week we had a lot to focus on. Being at Windsor Park, it is obviously a tough ground to play on, but we focused on what we needed to do and on the day everything went pretty well which is exciting.
“We have three road trips this year, they’re definitely the ones you want to secure and put in the bag,” 24-year-old Nield said.
Nield, who moved from the Tigers ahead of this season, is happy with the move he has made and is confident his new club has what it takes to upset the star-studded reigning premiers this weekend.
“Everything, even on the track, is flowing well. We have good structures set in place and everyone is coming in well as a team. With every win you grow in confidence and now with five wins in a row, I think everyone is in a good head space coming into this week.
“It is going to be a tough game. They have so many strong players and leaders in their team and if you shut down one, you have another to worry about.
“I’ve had a lot of people talk to me about that (the move). Being down there for four years it was a tough move. I have a lot of mates there, but I thought it was time for me to do something else. I talked to Jez (Jeromey Webberley) and was pretty happy with what he talked about, so the move probably came at a good time,” he said.
Nield has slotted seamlessly into this Clarence outfit, kicking 14 goals so far this season, including bags of four and five in wins over North Hobart and Launceston in the past fortnight.
“It’s probably one of the better years for me, I’m happy with where I’m at in footy. Hopefully it continues especially later in the year.”
Nield is one of a raft of new players who have immediately stepped up at the club, with star ruckman Ryan Bailey as well as versatile midfielders Troy Cunliffe and Fletcher Seymour filling key roles alongside some of the club’s more established players.
“We have had six or seven new blokes come into the side this year including myself, Troy, Ryan and a few others. Everyone is playing good footy and working well as a team which is nice to see.”
These new names have provided ample assistance to stars including Jake Cox, who looks to be one of the competition’s form players at the midway point of the year.
“Everything seems to come easy for him – he is very influential.
“Even that goal (from the pocket) on the weekend, it just lifts the team up; it definitely helps you,” Nield said.
Although injury clouds still hover over some of the ‘Roos stars including skipper Jackson O’Brien, Keegan Wyllie, Harry Richmond, Trent Standen and Ryan Edmondson, Nield insists his side has belief ahead of a date with the Northern Bombers.
“There is always belief there. It’s about whether you put what you do at training onto the playing field. As everyone says, you train how you play and I think if we do what we need to do and shut down what we think are their strong points, we can definitely walk away with a win,” Nield said.
Clarence will host North Launceston at Blundstone Arena from 2:00pm on Saturday.