Few could have predicted what happened at Blundstone Arena in round 18.
With Lauderdale sitting pretty atop the Bupa TSL ladder with just two losses, the ‘Roos – languishing in last place and staring down the barrel of a senior wooden spoon for the first time since 1958 – went into the game as rank outsiders.
Sure, Eastern Shore derbies seem to bring the best out of both sides, but even so, the most died-in-the-wool Clarence fan would have been far from confident heading into this clash.
But the ‘Roos rose to the occasion, becoming the better side for almost the game’s entirety and recording a stirring 22-point win as a result.
The enormity of the result wasn’t lost on Clarence coach Jeromey Webberley.
“There’s no doubt that this one was a sweet victory,” he said.
“I said to the players after the game that it will be one that they’ll remember… and especially the younger players, maybe for the rest of their life.”
“To be bottom of the ladder and to knock over top is something they can be really proud of… but we understand that it’s Monday now and we need to move on.
Webberley knew his young side was building in confidence and form, and attributed this result to the hard work being put in on the track and learning from errors earlier in the year.
“The last three weeks we have been building. The two weeks after the bye, we played some pretty good footy, and we were probably a little bit unlucky last week (against Glenorchy). The most rewarding thing from a coaching point of view is that they were able to learn from their mistakes across the last two weeks and were able to execute for the whole game on the weekend which was really good.
“Before the bye we were probably down and out as a club and as a playing group. It could’ve been easy after being defeated by North Hobart and the Tigers to just pack it up and the year could’ve been done with and we could’ve fallen even further, but to their credit they have really bought into what we want to do and what they want to do.
Their training standard and the arousal levels at training have been really good, which has gone into games. We have been building for two-three weeks, so it was great for the group to get some reward for the work they’ve been putting in.”
Webberley also noted a change in attitude on the field in recent weeks, citing that the team is now enjoying football again.
“The players have stopped worrying about the result and have started celebrating the little wins during the game. You could see on the weekend that after we kicked two or three after Lauderdale kicked the first goal, they were celebrating all the little efforts, picking each other up.
“Younger groups need to celebrate those types of things.
“Earlier in the year we were kicking goals but they weren’t celebrating, everyone has really bought into that team ethos type of footy. As long as you can bring pressure and intent, you can beat anyone on any day.”
With the ‘Roos now having ‘two’ in the wins column, Webberley is adamant the focus for the remaining three rounds isn’t simply about chalking up victories.
“We want to get another three wins for the year, but does it matter if we get another three wins? No it doesn’t.
“The wins and losses don’t matter to us, it’s about celebrating the small achievements along the way, but it certainly would be nice to win the last three games. We know after the weekend that we are still on the right track (with younger players).”
Clarence will play host to Launceston in round 19 ahead of clashes with the Tigers and North Hobart to finish the season.