Written by Alex FitzGerald.
Glenorchy have defeated second-placed Clarence in stunning fashion after dominating the opening half of their much-anticipated clash at KGV on Saturday.
The Magpies kicked the first 10 goals of the match and kept the visitors goalless in every quarter bar the second to run out 53-point winners in a one-sided affair, leapfrogging Launceston into third spot on the ladder in the process.
Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy spoke of the confidence he had in his side during the week, and would have been delighted with the way his charges tackled the contest as they kicked the only three majors of the opening term into the wind.
The hosts shifted up a gear in the second term, repelling any Clarence entries forward and hurting the ‘Roos on the counter-attack. Young defender Jack Stevenson laid two bone-crunching tackles in the opening minutes to set the standard, and the juggernaut rolled on, with forward targets Jaye Bowden and Matt Joseph capitalising at the other end on multiple occasions as the Magpies booted seven unanswered goals in quick succession. Clarence rallied to kick three late majors before the siren but the 44-point margin at the main break was a telling one.
The second half produced just two goals as the sides battled away in the fading light, but the damage had been done both mentally and on the scoreboard as Glenorchy was cheered from the ground by a vocal home crowd convincing victors.
Coming off an important win over ladder leaders North Launceston, Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley lamented his side’s lack of fight in the early part of the match.
“In the first half we didn’t come to play,” he said.
“I think it’s really hard to stop momentum in conditions like that, and they had it for long periods of time in the first half.
“Full credit to them, they came out and really hunted us.”
Captain Brady Jones, playing a new role across half-back, was one of few ‘Roos to put together a four-quarter effort, with Ryan Bailey and youngsters James Brenner and Fletcher Seymour also trying hard against their respective opponents.
Webberley is convinced Clarence can play themselves back into imposing form soon enough by being honest with where they went wrong.
“We had a bad day, and we’ll move on, but it’s important for the (playing) group to take ownership of that and they will,” he said.
“I’m sure we’ll come out hunting the Tigers next week and bounce back.”
In a stark contrast, Kennedy was all smiles post-match, saying the win was the result of consistency and discipline.
“You have to enjoy days like that, where you take on really good opposition and play really good footy on both sides of the ball,” he said.
“For us to really take them on in the physical side of them game and beat them was really pleasing for me.
“Our defensive side, our pressure and our contest work (were all great).
“We feel that when we do that well we’re as good as anybody.”
Kennedy said he believed earlier losses in the season have helped to shape the work ethic and determination of the youngest Glenorchy senior side in years
“It was probably good that that happened to us early in the season and we could identify it,” he said.
“Today is just one game; and the areas that we’ve needed to improve on are fundamental to being a really good footy team.
“We can’t afford to take a step back in those areas.”
While Bowden finished with four goals and ruckman Cameron Duffy dominated the air, Kennedy singled out the performances of teenage defensive quartet Stevenson, Harrison Gunther, Aaron Brennan and Joel Millhouse as highlights.
Daniel Joseph and Rhys Mott saw a lot of the ball as they have all season, with Ryan Banks-Smith and Callen Daly also providing dash on the outside.
The Magpies face Launceston next week, who defeated them by a solitary point when they met earlier in the season sans Bowden.
Kennedy says his side will leave nothing to chance this time around, with the potential to secure a double-chance come September wide open..
“We don’t want to get to the end of the season and have everyone go, they were a young team and that’s why they didn’t quite make it.
“We want to be a really good team and the guys have an appetite for that.
“Really good footy teams play with hunger and vigour each week.”
Glenorchy 3.2, 10.5, 11.6, 12.9 (81)
Clarence 0.2, 3.3, 3.5, 3.10 (28)
Glenorchy: J. Bowden 4, M. Joseph 3, B. Kamaric , C. Daly , B. Bester , J. Bearman , R. Banks-Smith
Clarence: T. Cunliffe, T. Castle, J. Brenner
Glenorchy: C. Duffy, J. Bowden, D. Joseph, J. Stevenson, R. Banks-Smith, A. Roberts
Clarence: B. Jones, J. Brenner, R. Bailey, F. Seymour