With 2019 set to be a historic year for the club, Glenorchy coach Paul Kennedy is keen to acknowledge the past while firmly focusing on the now.
TSL Inception: 2009
TSL Premierships: 1
Head Coach: Paul Kennedy
Captain: Brayden Webb
Home Ground: KGV Oval
Biggest Rivals: Clarence, North Hobart, North Launceston
2018 Ladder Position: Second (11 Wins, 7 Losses, 140.57%) – lost Preliminary Final to Lauderdale
Ins: Sam Rundle, Sam Reeves, Aiden Grace, Tyler Bowden, Liam Smith
Outs: Bayley Bester (Claremont), Mitch Walker (Claremont), Harry Parker (South Australia)
Key 2019 Clashes:
Round 2 v North Hobart at KGV, April 6, 6:00pm – Heritage Game under lights
Round 5 v Tigers at KGV, April 25, 3:00pm – ANZAC Day
Round 10 v Clarence at KGV, May 31, 7:30pm – Centennial Game under lights, also part of the Bingley-Linton Cup
Round 21 v North Launceston at KGV, August 24, 5:30pm – Indigenous Recognition Match
2019, Glenorchy’s centenary season, offers an exciting opportunity for everyone involved with the club according to Kennedy.
“It has been a busy off season heading into our centennial year – there is a lot going on at the club.
“We have got to make sure that we honour the people who have come before us over these 100 years really well.
“People know names like Cazaly, Hudson, Sutton, Fletcher, Ling, Bowden – there are a lot of great names – but it is also about remembering the tradition this club continues in Hobart’s northern suburbs.”
This history is something the group is drawing from ahead of the 2019 campaign, especially with a host of new names and returning players.
“We have had a number of blokes come back into the club this season.
“Tim Butterworth and Clinton French have had full pre-seasons, Liam Smith and Tyler Bowden are back.
“They’re are some good quality players who are Glenorchy through-and-through are now back at the club which is really exciting – it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us (to be at the club in its centenary year).”
Kennedy’s first year at the helm at KGV was a promising one, with his youth-injected Magpies emerging as one of the competition’s leading outfits.
With arguably the best defensive quartet in the competition – Daniel Joseph, Josh Grant, Harrison Gunther and Josh Arnold (with the first three’s inclusion in the 2019 Team of the Year evidence of this), a strong midfield group led by Brayden Webb, Rhys Mott and emerging pair Ben Kamaric and James Webb, plus a dangerous forward line spearheaded by the evergreen Jaye Bowden, Glenorchy proved to be a difficult test throughout the season.
With this core contingent and the development of emerging talents Chris McKnight, Brodie Rowbottom, Will Atkin and Adam Roberts, Glenorchy had freshened up on the run to once again be a premiership threat after securing the flag in 2017.
Things didn’t quite finish the way the Magpies would’ve liked in 2018, however, with the side’s shortcomings emerging as another factor that has driven the club’s off-season preparation.
A mounting injury list faced the ‘Pies heading into the finals – with star Jaye Bowden’s ankle injury early in the Qualifying Final only making things more difficult.
These injuries, although dealt with in a stirring victory over the Blues in that Qualifying Final, did come back to hurt the ‘Pies, with Glenorchy then going down to eventual grand finalists North Launceston and Lauderdale to draw a close to the season.
When asked whether these losses had been a motivating force over the summer, Kennedy acknowledged that North Launceston and Lauderdale were clearly better prepared for the rigours of finals football.
“Something we have spoken about to the group is that the two teams that finished ahead of us were older and more experienced with bigger bodies.
“We have looked to get stronger over the off season, but then when you bring in players like Butterworth, Smith, Rundle, Grace and Reeves – that’s five pretty big bodies right there.
“There is a huge number of players who have bought in to what we are trying to achieve, and as we will again be relying on some of those younger players, they have all bought in a revamped gym program, which has been the biggest thing we have taken out of last season.
“We had to learn that lesson and hopefully we have.”
Despite Jaye Bowden’s availability under an injury cloud for the first part of the season, Glenorchy still looks to have the makings of a top tier side, with the inclusions of Launceston midfielder Sam Rundle, former Clarence (via Geelong VFL) forward Aiden Grace and former Hobart Tiger Sam Reeves bolstering the squad and adding some size and experience on top of the returning group of Butterworth, French, Smith and Tyler Bowden.
“Last year I was always confident in our group. The finals showed that we probably didn;’t have the depth of experience, but we weren’t far off.
“Bringing in those few bigger bodies, we have certainly added to our depth. We have gone from a list of 44 last year to 57 this year.”
With the last two deciders being battles of the Bombers, Kennedy says it is clear which teams will be the benchmark.
“The last two grand finals have both been played between North Launceston and Lauderdale, so to me it is pretty obvious as to who the teams to beat are until somebody else shows otherwise.
“They both have squads with really good experienced players who have played together for a long time. They have a good formula for success.
“North have lost some players, but I won’t buy into thinking that they won’t be somewhere near the top of the ladder again.”
With all clubs using the summer to improve, Kennedy is tipping the competition to be even tighter in 2019.
“Last year the top five were all very, very competitive.
“The Tigers had their moments where they were competitive and we have heard plenty from North Hobart that they are all set off field and are ready make strides on field, but it is always tough to say before round one.”
How Glenorchy balances its tall timber will be interesting, with the inclusions of Reeves and Tyler Bowden set to be of great assistance to number one ruck Cameron Duffy. The side’s midfield has been provided with extra grunt via the acquisition of Rundle, while Tyler Bowden inside 50, the retainment of the team’s defensive unit and the hopeful development of Webb, Kamaric, Roberts and the like should see the Magpies emerge as one of the teams to beat in a milestone campaign for the club.