By Olivia Clayton
Clarence defied all odds on the biggest day of them all, defeating the previously undefeated Blues by three points to claim the 2019 Wrest Point TSLW premiership flag.
Clarence pulled the biggest upset of the season, overcoming the highly-fancied Blues in a heart-stopping contest.
The Blues went into the Grand Final with 15 wins out of 15 matches placing them on top of the ladder. They only had to play one final round to secure a place on the main stage, and that was in the second semi-final which saw them defeat 2018 Premiers Glenorchy by 16 points.
Clarence finished third on the ladder with eight wins and seven losses. Prior to the Grand Final the closest they came to Launceston was in round eight where they lost by 13 points.
The ‘Roos had a long finals journey, first they defeated North Launceston by 34 points in the first semi-final. They then defeated Glenorchy, for the first time this season, by 18 points in the preliminary final.
The first ten minutes of the match were high-scoring and neck and neck, but Launceston took charge and finished the opening term with a 19-point lead.
Grace Mitchell kicked two for the ‘Roos this quarter and Maddy Smith scored one major for the side as well. The Blues had six different goal scorers with Chole Haines, Daria Bannister, Kelsie Hill, Brie Rattray, Meg Sinclair and Camila Taylor booting one apiece.
Bannister continued her good form and was the only Launceston player to get a major in the second term. Maddy Smith notched another two and Mel Wise got her first of the game to shorten the margin to just ten points at half time.
Smith booted her fourth goal for the game in the third quarter and the competition’s leading goal kicker, Rattray, kicked her second for the Blues to keep Launceston at a 10-point lead going into the final quarter.
The final term was unpredictable and kept the strong crowd on the edge of their seats.
Clarence turned the game on its head when Megan Harper booted a goal for the side three minutes in.
The game took another twist, when six minutes into the final term, the rain started to pour sending spectators scrambling and seeing the wind pick-up to favour Clarence’s scoring end.
With nine minutes left in the quarter Maddy Smith scored a behind for the ‘Roos, shortening the gap to three points.
The ‘Roos then found another way to hit the scoreboard, with Jessie Williams awarded a free kick for being held without the ball.
With the rain bucketing down and with the wind to contend with, Williams kicked truly from 30 metres out to sensationally put the ‘Roos in front.
A desperate finish followed, with the Roos holding strong in defensive 50 against the Blues to hold on and claim a famous victory
Daria Bannister was the Blues best on ground and leading goal kicker with three, while Chloe Haines was also a standout.
Maddy Smith notched the most majors for the ‘Roos with four and was rewarded as best on ground for Clarence and overall in the Grand Final. The desperate efforts of Nicole Bresnehan, Bronte Scott, Natalie Pearce and Grace Mitchell also proved vital.
Launceston Football Club 6.2, 7.5, 8.6, 8.6 (54)
Clarence Football Club 3.1, 6.1, 7.2, 9.3 (57)
Launceston : D. Bannister 3, C. Haines 2, B. Rattray 2, K. Hill 1
Clarence : M. Smith 4, G. Mitchell 2, M. Wise 1, J. Williams 1, M. Harper 1
Launceston : D. Bannister, L. Haines, C. Haines, K. Hill, D. Taylor, A. Dickson
Clarence : M. Smith, N. Bresnehan, B. Scott, G. Alomes, N. Pearce, K. Johnson