Ben Kamaric gave a strong early indication he is back to his brilliant 2019 form with a Dusty Martin-like performance in the RSEA Magpies' season opener at KGV.
In a game that swung back and forth throughout, a string of late majors secured the win for Clarence, but there were certainly positive signs for the young Magpies, most noticeably Kamaric's form.
The 23-year-old claimed the Roy Cazaly Medal in 2019 after establishing himself as one of the best midfielders in the TSL, only to have his 2020 season almost completely written off by hamstring and ankle injuries.
On Saturday at KGV, he amassed 30 possessions and kicked 5 goals in a vintage display, with 4 of his majors in the third term as Glenorchy produced a dazzling display of football.
Third quarter brilliance
Trailing by 24 points at half-time after Clarence had made the better of their opportunities - both teams had 22 inside 50s and the Pies were +3 on clearances at the break - the home team needed a lift.
They got that from some outstanding forward pressure by Luke Nicholson, Matthew Joseph, Riley Oakley and Bayley Bester, with Kamaric swooping on the loose ball and finishing with the outside of his boot.
Next it was Kamaric's turn to apply the heat, converting from a holding the ball free kick, before cleverly marking a quality ball from Adam Roberts and sending it through from the goal line.
One minute later he snapped brilliantly from the pocket after John Geard surged the ball forward, then capped his creative quarter by feeding Roberts to finish off an end-to-end play that also involved Sam Rundle and Callum Thompson.
It left scores level at three-quarter-time, and the Magpies' dominance continued into the final half hour. However, three missed set shots early in the term let the Roos off the hook, and the visitors then made the most of their opportunities to run away with the win.
Tale of the tape
The game was a tight one around the ground, both teams having 11 marks inside 50 from 43 and 44 entries respectively.
Clarence had a +5 edge in contested ball, while the Magpies won clearances 45-41 despite the Roos having the advantage in hit-outs, with Geard topping that tally with 8 clearances.
A key area of improvement for Glenorchy was cleanness with the ball, a case of first-game fumbles resulting in 91 turnovers to 77, with the visitors kicking 8 goals from turnovers to the Pies 5.
Glenorchy's premier pressure players were debutante Chris Howard (13 pressure involvements, including 11 tackles), Cal Daly (11), Tom Cleary (10), Nicholson (9), and Harrison Gunther and Adam Roberts with 8-apiece.
Zac Webster collected 27 disposals down back, new recruit Darrean Wyatt had 23 and 6 marks, while Geard collected 22, joining Kamaric with 13 contested possessions, with Roberts having 10 in that category.
This Saturday a fierce modern rival comes to town, with the Magpies taking on Lauderdale at KGV at 1.30pm.
Glenorchy is a chance to regain skipper Brayden Webb – who was a withdrawal from the season-opener – vice-captain Daniel Joseph and ruckman James Deegan for the Round 3 clash.
Joseph played a half in the development league last Saturday in his first hit-out since follow-up surgery on his knee in the off-season, and seems certain to return to senior action.
Jude Saavedra, Riley Best, Cooper Hills, Tim Spotswood, Isaac Manson and Josh Whitford were named in the best players for the development team.
Glenorchy RSEA Magpies 8.7.55 def by Clarence 13.9.87
Best: Kamaric, Rundle, Nicholson, Wyatt, Howard, Roberts, Geard, Webster, Gunther
Goals: Kamaric 5, Daly, Goodsell, Roberts