THE Clarence Roos proved too good for the Launceston Blues in the Tasmanian State League grand final, taking down the reigning premiers to the tune of 14 points at the University of Tasmania Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Blues entered the match in search of back-to-back flags, but Clarence showed that they were the superior side, storming home in the final term to put the nail in the coffin and hop on the bus back to Hobart with premiership cup in hand.
The Blues had control of the game early, generating plenty of scoring opportunities in the first half of the first quarter, but couldn’t convert their hard work into scoreboard pressure, and it was their opponents who made them pay. The Roos booted the first major of the game through Jacob Young, with the goal set up by a blistering run from Jacques Barwick. Clarence shortly followed this up with another goal through Bryce Alomes and suddenly, the Blues found themselves on the back foot. It took some composure from the Blues backline to steady the ship, as speedy defender Jake Rice find teammate Jett Moloney to put Launceston on the board. Clarence entered the second term with a two-point advantage, and this looked to extend with a miraculous major from Wade Wall, but it was deemed touched. The Roos looked to break away again, with Alomes booting his second, but Blue Grant Holt brought his side back into the contest. The Blues finally hit the front with Moloney converting his second, and tempers began to flare. Launceston extended their lead with another major, but Alomes took control of the game, kicking his side’s next two (which was also four in a row for him), and the sides went into the main break all square.
The third term saw Alomes boot his fifth of the contest and the Roos start to build and hold a two-goal lead. Things looked to be one-way traffic, but Blue Colby McKercher booted a goal late in the term for his side, to bring the margin back down, and give Launceston a chance at consecutive flags. The fourth quarter saw scoring dry up, as the Blues missed their chance to reduce the margin to less than a goal, and neither side could gain an advantage. A strong contested mark from Roo Oliver Preshaw, who saw plenty of experience at senior level this year, thwarted a Launceston attack, and then it was Barwick who booted two goals in a minute to hand his side a match-winning lead, and the 2021 premiership cup.
For the victors, Luke Swinton claimed the medal for the player judged best afield, with his excellent work both at stoppages and on the open wing catching the eye of voters. Five-goal forward Alomes was also dominant, with the Blues backline seemingly having no answers for his play at times, while Barwick was also extremely damaging. For the Blues, McKercher’s third term was electric and kept his side right in the hunt.
Photo credit: Craig George