After a strong 2018 campaign featuring several emerging stars, Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley believes his young side is not far away from premiership success. Bupa TSL Digital Reporter Grant Jessup examines Clarence’s list changes, players lighting up the training track and the club’s pre-season focus.
TSL Inception: 2009
TSL Premierships: 2 (2009, 2010)
Head Coach: Jeromey Webberley
Captain: Brady Jones
Home Ground: Blundstone Arena
Biggest Rival: Lauderdale
2018 Ladder Position: 4th (Win: 11, Loss: 7, %: 110.85) – defeated by Lauderdale in the Elimination Final
Key 2019 Clashes:
Round 4 v Lauderdale at Blundstone Arena, April 20, 2:00pm – Elimination Final Rematch.
Round 7 v Tigers at Twin Ovals, May 11, 6:00pm – Saturday Night Footy.
Round 10 v Glenorchy at KGV, May 31, 7:30pm – Bingley/Linton Cup and Friday Night Footy.
Round 11 v Lauderdale at Lauderdale Oval, June 15, 2:00pm – Stay Chatty Cup.
Round 17 v Glenorchy at Blundstone Arena, July 27, 2:00pm – Bingley/Linton Cup.
Round 20 v Tigers at Twin Ovals, August 17, 2:00pm – Gadomski-Riewoldt Trophy.
For ‘Roos coach Jeromey Webberley, the goal of the Clarence Football Club is simple.
“We want to play in a Grand Final and win the Grand Final.”
Webberley believes it is only a matter of time before his side becomes a regular fixture in Bupa Tasmanian State League Grand Finals.
“Three years, four years’ time, we should be playing in Grand Finals consistently,” he said.
Nevertheless, in Webberley’s mind, winning the 2019 Bupa TSL Premiership is not out of the question for his young side.
“There’s no cap on what they can do in the next 12 months.”
The ‘Roos have, however, lost several key players in the off-season.
Midfielder Troy Cunliffe, key defender Taylor Williamson and young forward Harry Richmond have left the club.
Key midfielder Jackson O’Brien and star small forward Trent Standen have both retired while young gun Fraser Turner heads to the AFL after being drafted by Richmond.
“We have lost a few but we’ve probably replaced the guys we’ve lost,” Webberley said.
Webberley has confidence in his younger players to fill the void left by the departing players.
“We’ve replaced them with young talent so we’re pretty excited about the young guys coming through our club at the moment.”
2009 and 2010 Premiership hero Clint Riley returns to the club and will be a welcome addition to Clarence’s midfield.
Former ‘Roos Zac Buechner and Jordan Roberts return to the club after stints in the NEAFL and the SFL respectively.
Two other notable additions to the club this pre-season are emerging forward Blair Rubock and young midfielder Ethan Jackson. Both players have previous senior TSL experience and were members of the state under 18’s program.
Webberley concedes his side will take some time to adjust to the list changes.
“Are we going to be as good early as last year? Probably not, it’s going to take them a little bit of time to gel.”
State representative duties could also be a major factor for the ‘Roos this season
“We’ve got 18 guys in the state program at the moment, so if we can get access to some of those guys throughout the year and through the final series, we’re going to be a pretty good team,” Webberley said.
Several players have been impressing Webberley during the pre-season.
“We’ve got some unbelievable talent coming from our junior ranks,” said Webberley.
The coach is full of praise for emerging young gun Oscar Paprotny after a promising 2018.
“I think Oscar Paprotny has been super throughout the pre-season. I don’t know how he’s not in the [Next Generation] Academy program.”
“He’s been fantastic, worked really hard, got himself bigger in the gym as well.”
Defender Keegan Wylie has caught the attention of Webberley for his work ethic this pre-season after an injury-plagued 2018.
“He’s a player we didn’t see much of last year, he’s had a good pre-season.”
Webberley is also expecting a big season from emerging defender Ryan Edmondson.
“I think he’s going to step up and be a key pillar for us this year.”
A key focus for Clarence this pre-season has been improving the side’s attacking abilities.
Forward Chris Nield was the club’s leading goalkicker last year, joining the ‘Roos in 2018 after playing senior TSL football with Tigers for several years.
However, Clarence are looking for other avenues to hit the scoreboard.
“We tried to work on our scoring system a bit more through the pre-season,” Webberley said.
“We’ve tinkered with a few things, trying to score more this year and open up our game, be a little more offensive.”
The club is now confident in their defensive capabilities, which the team has been working on in previous seasons.
“We’ve got the defensive principles in place over the last couple of years.”
There is no doubt the ‘Roos can have a significant impact on the 2019 Bupa TSL season.
Clarence’s new recruits, emerging young talent and improved attacking capability should ensure the side is competitive and in finals contention.
Jeromey Webberley’s aim for the club to be consistent Grand Finalists in four years is ambitious, and not a goal many coaches would announce in public.
Only time will tell whether Webberley’s ‘Roos can live up to their coach’s high expectations.