By Simon Andrews
Some of the 2021 season’s most entertaining games have involved Clarence and Kingborough, and now, these two will meet again in a do or die match up Blundstone Arena on Sunday.
The tightly contested nature of their previous meetings makes for a mouth-watering prospect, with the two sides battling it out for a chance to move on to a preliminary final in a weeks’ time.
Throughout their matchups this year both teams have experienced success. In round five, the Roos came out on top by three goals, and in round 12, the Tigers were victorious by 31 points.
The final meeting between the Roos and the Tigers was arguably the most entertaining game of the TSL season. It certainly had the wildest ending, with Luke Graham snagging a scrappy goal on the siren to give the Tigers a five-point win. This serves as an exciting setup, as it’s only been four weeks since this dramatic game and it will be fresh in the mind of both teams heading into week one of finals.
Players to Watch
Clarence managed to take down ladder leaders Launceston in round 20 but suffered a significant loss along the way, Ethan Jackson breaking his collarbone during the match. In their previous meetings there was a clear effort from the Tigers to diminish the impact of the Roos’ star midfielder, who averaged 26 disposals per game at the round 12 mark.
Other midfielders that will need to step up in Jackson’s absence include Baxter Norton, Jarrod Harper, and Jack Preshaw. All of which have had their moments throughout the season.
New arrival Ole Angerstien has been an asset in the ruck for the Roos despite only playing 10 games. The former Port Melbourne player is ranked #2 in average hit outs this year with 41.2.
Co-captain Zac Buechner and player/coach Jeromey Webberley command a strong back line, with Buechner leading the total spoils charts with 95.
For the Tigers, Edward Cole’s pressure has been a highlight of the 2021 season, averaging 9.1 Tackles per game and even reaching 15+ on some occasions. The rest of the Tigers midfield has been remarkably consistent throughout the year with players such as William Campbell, Lachlan Clifford, Zachary Adams and Lochie Griggs.
Elijah Reardon is a versatile and entertaining asset for the Tigers, seemingly most at home down back where he can reinforce and elevate the roles of Brady Rees and Blake McCulloch. However, given the chance, Reardon can produce some magic moments in front of goal with his aerial ability
The head-to-head battle will begin in the middle. As mentioned, Ole Angerstein has had an impressive season in the ruck. However, his opposition in Marcus Gardner has enjoyed a dominant year. He ranks 2nd in total hit outs with 623, his best performance being 85 against Glenorchy in Rd 11.
In defense Kingborough will have their hands full with Colin Garland and Josh Green. Garland has hit some form late in the season with 3 games of 5-plus goals. Tigers backs Lachlan Gadomski and Micah Reynolds have both racked up over 60 spoils this year, they will need to keep up these numbers to hold off the Clarence attack.
When reviewing both teams’ seasons the key aspect that stands out is pressure. The Tigers and Roos top the leader boards in both average hard ball gets and pressure acts. Both teams take pride in coming out on top in 50/50 situations. Winning the ball will be key in what is sure to be a highly contested game.
Schedule of matches: