After a disappointing loss to Glenorchy the week prior, Clarence jumped back onto the winners list with a 47-point win over the Tigers at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon.
After a hot streak that included wins over Launceston and North Launceston, Clarence’s big loss to Glenorchy in round 13 shocked many, but the ‘Roos position as a competition heavyweight was reaffirmed this week, with a mature 15.12 (102) to 8.7 (55) win over the plucky Tigers.
The Tigers, fresh off a stirring upset win over the Blues last weekend, entered the match full of confidence and played like it in the first term, going goal for goal with the heavily fancied ‘Roos in a free-flowing and entertaining opening stanza.
With nine goals and over half a dozen lead changes in the opening quarter alone, both the ‘Roos and Tigers appeared willing to risk being scored against for swift ball movement.
Clarence arrested some control over the match in the second term to take a 20-point lead into the main break, with this lead growing to 38 points heading into the final term.
The final stanza proved to be a stark contrast to the opening term, with both sides stuck in a goalless deadlock for the first 20 minutes before three late goals between the two sides.
Clarence assistant coach Mitchell Swan was pleased with the result after going down to the Magpies last weekend.
“The first quarter was really even but from there we managed to control most of the second quarter and second half.
“We are reasonably happy with that result after a disappointing loss last weekend. The Tigers have been up and about and if we were asked before the game whether we would win by 50 points, we would have taken it.”
As has so often been the case in 2018, Clarence were well serviced by an even spread of contributors, with few players standing head and shoulders above the rest.
Fletcher Seymour, Brady Jones and Troy Cunliffe all continued their impressive campaigns, while James Brenner also stood tall in one of his best senior performances.
This even spread of contributors across the field was also reflected on the scoreboard, with Clarence’s 15 goals coming from 11 different players.
“We have a really good even spread of goal kickers this year. We have an even mix of midfielders and forwards on top of our defenders playing their roles. We need these players being able to play multiple roles and that is what we are getting at the moment,” Swan said.
Clarence were dealt a major blow pre-game, with Jackson O’Brien dropped to the Mercury Cup for disciplinary reasons, however this also allowed the hosts an opportunity to give exciting ruck prospect Conner Berry more exposure to senior football.
“‘Jacko’ will be fine to go for next week. As has been reported in the media he just didn’t do what we needed last weekend and it was an easy decision for us with where we are heading as a group and the professionalism of the TSL.
“We were looking to give Conner an opportunity, he has been playing well in the Mercury Cup and playing him also lightens Ryan Bailey’s load as a sole ruckman – we think he can be our best forward when he is up there.
“This gave us a good opportunity to look at Conner and he has given us every reason to keep him next week with a good performance,” Swan said.
The Tigers were also dealt a major blow pre-game, with skipper Samael Rice withdrawn late.
“Sam had some tightness in his calves during the week but got through training and seemed pk. This morning he pulled up ordinarily though and we didn’t want to take any risk. We gave him today off and hope to have him back fully fit for the rest of the year. We still have a lot of games to go,” Tigers coach Trent Baumeler said post game.
Although buoyed by certain aspects of the game Tigers coach Trent Baumeler conceded the side’s defensive focus lapsed at times.
“There were definitely some positives to take out of the game. The first 40 minutes was very free-flowing with good ball movement and both teams scoring.
“But in the second term our defensive actions let us down a little bit and Clarence put that scoreboard pressure on us leading into half time and we were left chasing tail there in the third and fourth quarters.
“It looked like it was going to be a bit of a shoot out. Over the last month our defensive stuff has been really good and keeping us in games. It was good to see our ball movement back and being able to hit the scoreboard as well, but we just needed to keep that defensive pressure up for a bit longer than we did,” Baumeler said.
Will Campbell has certainly found a midfield ally in Blake Grant while Ryan Matthews is out injured, with the two combining well through the middle, while Mitch Carter also provided a key target inside 50 in another strong display.
Tigers will face North Hobart in a highly anticipated encounter next weekend at North Hobart Oval, while the ‘Roos will clash with Eastern Shore rival Lauderdale for the Stay ChatTY Cup.
Clarence 5.1, 9.5, 13.8, 15.12 (102)
Tigers 4.0, 6.3, 7.6, 8.7 (55)
Clarence : C. Nield 3, R. Bailey 2, J. Cox 2, T. Cunliffe , T. Castle, J. Brenner, A. Dickenson, T. Birchall, G. Chambers, J. Webberley, J. Harper
Tigers : M. Carter 3, H. Thompson, L. Graham, J. Lister, L. Watt, E. Burrows-Cheng
Clarence : F. Seymour, B. Jones, T. Cunliffe, J. Brenner, J. Cox, M. Ling
Tigers : B. Grant, M. Carter, W. Campbell, H. Johnston, L. Watt, H. Thompson