The rich rivalry shared between the Clarence and Glenorchy football clubs has long been recognised as one of the best in Tasmanian men’s football, and with both club’s women’s teams becoming powerhouses within the TSLW, this season’s Grand Final shapes as a big moment in the history of the two clubs, writes Olivia Clayton.
Clarence v Glenorchy – UTAS Stadium (Saturday 15 September 12:30pm)
Head to Head in 2018: Clarence – 2 | Glenorchy – 3
Round 3 – Clarence 3.7 (25) def. by Glenorchy 6.9 (45) at Blundstone Arena
Round 8 – Glenorchy 4.2 (26) def. Clarence 2.5 (17) at KGV Oval
Round 13 – Clarence 2.5 (17) def. by Glenorchy 4.6 (30) at Geilston Bay
Round 18 – Glenorchy 3.7 (25) def. by Clarence 6.8 (44) at KGV Oval
Semi Final – Glenorchy 1.5 (11) def. by Clarence 3.12 (30) at KGV Oval
2018 Wrest Point TSLW Grand Finalists Clarence and Glenorchy enter the biggest match of the year after a series of hard fought contests throughout the season, with Glenorchy’s early season advantage over the ‘Roos marred by two recent defeats heading into the business end of the season.
The ‘Roos and ‘Pies first faced off in round three at Blundstone Arena, with the visitors drawing first blood with a 6.9 (45) to 3.7 (25) victory.
Thomasa Corrie was immense across half back for the Magpies in the win, controlling the back half for the victors, while skipper Nietta Lynch proved to be a match-winner with three goals in a low-scoring contest.
The Magpies made it two from two against the ‘Roos in round eight, this time winning 4.2 (26) to 2.5 (17) at a very wet and windy KGV Oval.
Both sides were kept goalless in the first term, with the hosts just having the better of the ‘Roos across the next three quarters, kicking four goals to two and hold on to record a grinding nine-point win in Thomasa Corrie’s 50th game.
The Magpies did it again against the ‘Roos in round 13, this time running out 13-point winners at Geilston Bay in another hard-fought, low-scoring affair.
Glenorchy, getting the better of the contested, physical match, controlled the stoppages in one of the more absorbing contests seen this season, typical of the rich rivalry that has been developed over the years between these sides.
Clarence finally tasted success against the Magpies this season when the sides met in round 18, defeating the minor premiers by 19 points in the final home and away match of the season.
Both teams battled strong winds and rain on the day, with the Roos gaining the upper hand in a physical contest that would prove to be strong preparation for the heat and intensity of finals football.
The ‘Roos took confidence out of this performance and dished out a similar effort immediately the following week, defeating Glenorchy 3.12 (30) to 1.5 (11) in the Semi Final at KGV.
It was a typically physical opening half, with just the two goals kicked seeing Clarence take a three-point buffer into the main break.
Grace Mitchell extended this lead late in the third term with a clutch major to steady the ship for the ‘Roos, before a Natalie Pearce goal in the final term and another stellar defensive effort kept the Magpies out of the contest in the final term.
Both squads are rich in talent, as evidenced by Clarence spearhead Maddy Smith becoming the first Tasmanian open age signee for the North Melbourne Tasmania Kangaroos in the AFLW and Glenorchy trio Gemma Allan, Sandy Eaton and Nietta Lynch all reaching the 100-game milestone during the season.
The official TSLW Team of the Year reinforces this notion, with the team containing four Clarence stars and seven from Glenorchy, with Nietta Lynch named captain and Craig Grace named coach.
This final encounter booked Clarence a direct ticket to the Grand Final and the all-important week off, while Glenorchy, after finishing the season as minor premiers, were then forced to take on Launceston in last weekend’s Preliminary Final for a spot in the decider,
The Magpies were strong in that Preliminary Final, marking skipper Nietta Lynch’s 100th game in style with a resilient win after being challenged early in the final, eventually running out 6.10 (46) to 2.7 (25) winners.
Both teams house solid squads, and with such close encounters throughout the season, the Grand Final is anyone’s game.
Both sides have typically brought immense heat to the contest in opening quarters against each other, and if either side is able to get off to a fast start, it could go a long way to winning the match and securing the biggest prize.
The wide expanses of UTAS Stadium may favour the younger ‘Roos, particularly being fresh off the weekend off, but don’t be surprised if Glenorchy’s experience comes to the fore and the Magpies take the prize.
Players to watch:
Maddy Smith (Clarence)
A genuine star of the competition, Smith’s talents have seen her listed with North Melbourne for the upcoming AFLW season. Dangerous near goal or further afield, Glenorchy will be very busy trying to curtail Smith’s influence.
Nietta Lynch (Glenorchy)
The competition’s leading goalkicker has been a dominant force for years now. An inspiring leader of this team, expect Lynch to be at the forefront on the big stage.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Commentary also available via City Park Radio
Photos and vision on the official TSL Instagram account