Clarence captain Brady Jones insists his side isn’t getting too far ahead of itself after big wins over Launceston and North Launceston, but concedes that he is confident the ‘Roos have what it takes to go all the way in 2018.
The ‘Roos have stormed into premiership contention after these two big wins in as many weeks, approaching round 13 with just two losses.
With Launceston and North Launceston considered by many to be the competition’s top two sides, Clarence, who went out of the 2017 finals series in straight sets, loom as a genuine premiership threat ahead of the final part of the season.
Jones is pleased with where his side is sitting and although reluctant to call the ‘Roos premiership favourites, isn’t shying away from the possibility of going all the way.
“North Launceston’s last six years prove trhat they are the team to beat in the TSL but we will continue to chase.
“It is a week by week thing. We have a goal of reaching the top three… it is a massive edge that you need.
“We are here to win the flag at the end and the top three is where you need to be. We are here to try and win a flag and to shy away from that is probably silly.
“There is no point wasting your time if you’re not here to win the flag – if people are starting to talk about those things, it shows we are heading in the right direction,” Jones said.
Clarence look well-equipped to deal with increased expectation after toppling the Northern Bombers last weekend.
“In terms of our group, we knew that the good win in Launceston will bring with it increased expectation and we wanted to take that on board and embrace it.
“The result is the end picture, but the most satisfying thing is how everyone has followed the game plan and bought into the structures.”
This buy-in from the playing group has played an integral role in the side’s strong start to the year, especially from a host of new faces as the club looks to develop players for the future.
These players, including the likes of Jordan Young, Tom Birchall and James Brenner have stood tall in the absence of some more experienced teammates.
“I think Jez and the coach’s group preparation is where we have taken the next step this year with the work they put in and the collective buy-in from everyone,” Jones said.
“I think we can match up pretty well with most teams; it comes down to how well we follow instruction on the day.
“We have had 13 guys play their first game and to be in the position we are with that many debutants is very pleasing.
“Since I have been there we have spent some money and brought some players to the club and they haven’t stuck around or have just moved clubs. Jez has gone in the other direction with first gamers and they have been fantastic.”
Clarence are now primed for a huge clash with traditional rival Glenorchy at KGV Oval, a rivalry Jones says is as relevant as ever.
“Most teams come to hunt each other but Glenorchy and Clarence is always a big game. The first 15-20 minutes is always pretty hot.”