Glenorchy have claimed outright second spot on the TSL ladder after defeating arch-rivals Clarence by 31 points at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon, writes Alex FitzGerald.
The Magpies trailed by 25 points early in the second quarter after a slow start, but lifted their work rate across the ground from that point onwards to run out ecstatic 13.11 (89) to 9.4 (58) winners, retaining the Bingley-Linton Cup in the process.
Clarence controlled the opening term on their home ground, playing a possession game as they repeatedly hit targets by foot, starving their opponents of the ball in the process. Jaye Bowden managed to slot the opener for the ‘Pies against the run of play with a collected set shot, but the ‘Roos then piled on four unanswered majors to take a commanding 19-point lead into the first change.
Glenorchy lifted in the second quarter, with defensive trio of Josh Grant, James Webb and Daniel Joseph repelling a number of forward forays in the early minutes. Jaye Bowden showed his class across half-forward, racking up a dozen telling touches as the ‘Pies booted four goals to one to head into the main break just seven points in arrears.
The second half saw the Magpies continue their momentum, embracing the physicality of the contest to kick eight goals to three as they outmuscled the ‘Roos at the stoppages to clearly outperform the hosts in claiming the four points.
Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy was impressed with how his charges worked hard and applied constant pressure to turn their afternoon around.
“My game plan is a lot about trusting the players to make the right decision in the right moment.
“Today after quarter time they excelled in that area, and allowed us to control a large chunk of the game after that.”
Describing the build-up to the game as similar to that of a final, he praised the resilience of leaders Bowden and Brayden Webb late in the match, as well as the outstanding efforts of James Webb in the second half.
Up forward, the goals were shared between veteran Clinton French (three majors) and the inexperienced duo of Callen Daly and Bayley Bester (two apiece), a contrast that wasn’t lost on Kennedy.
“We’ve had an interesting mix of players (all season).
“Today we fielded nine premiership players and eleven players with less than 20 games experience coming into this year.”
The blooding of the new crop of Magpies has proven fruitful, with Kennedy’s younger charges proving they can match it with the best in big game situations.
While pleased with how the second-placed ‘Pies are playing, the coach is well aware of what lies ahead.
“Today was a really good test, and the guys passed it well.
“Next week we have an even bigger test in Launceston up at Windsor Park.
“That’s a really good preparation for finals.”
Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley was disappointed following the loss, especially given his side’s impressive start.
“We don’t really have anyone else to blame but ourselves.
“We were rapt with our first half, we controlled the ball in the first quarter and made them defend for long periods of time and were able to hit the scoreboard on our terms.”
Webberley attributed the swing in momentum primarily to the work rate of the Magpies’ midfield group, refusing to highlight injuries late in the game to Mitch Williamson (dislocated shoulder) and 100-game midfielder Gabby Chambers (foot).
“Going into the last quarter I thought it was a 50-50 game, but they just smashed us around the ball.”
With finals just a fortnight away, he believes Clarence can recapture the early-season form that had many touting the ‘Roos as premiership contenders.
“I’m still confident, it’s about getting momentum, and we had that across nine weeks earlier in the year.
“It’s about buying in now as a group and continuing to work on what makes us a good team and also our deficiencies.”
Clarence 4.1, 6.3, 7.4, 9.4 (58)
Glenorchy 1.0, 5.2, 8.6, 13.11 (89)
Clarence: A. Dickenson 2, J. Cox 2, J. Bailey, D. Reimers, G. Chambers, B. Jones, J. Harper
Glenorchy: C. French 3, J. Bowden 2, C. Daly 2, B. Bester 2, B. Kamaric, R. Banks-Smith, C. Salter, M. Walker
Clarence: B. Jones, T. Birchall, R. Edmondson, O. Paprotny, F. Seymour, J. Bailey
Glenorchy: J. Grant, J. Webb, D. Joseph, C. Duffy, J. Bowden, C. Daly