“I’ve been dominant as a ruckman.” Music to any coaches’ ears.
Josh Clarke, the round six Syd Guildford nominee, was instrumental in Labrador’s victory over Morningside.
Clarke’s play allowed Labrador to control the footy and have first use of the ball all day, beating a side that hadn’t lost since 2013.
“I thought for myself and our onballers our midfield aggression was excellent, we were just hunting the ball all day, we were pretty relentless. I think that sort of helped us get a good handle on the game from the start,” he said.
“In all honesty I was just happy to have the win. To beat Morningside at our home ground in front of a good crowd, they obviously haven’t lost one in a while, that was sort of the biggest reward. How everyone reacted, I was able to help out and do my part for the win.”
His battle against the opposing ruckman played a huge part in their victory, something he puts down to career best form.
“I felt really strong. I was getting my hands on most of the taps and I was jumping really well too. I definitely felt like I had both the ruckman covered,” he said.
“I finished off last year very well, played very strongly through the finals series. That forms carries on just based on feedback from coaches and even teammates. Everyone is saying I’ve had a really good start to the season.”
“I put it down to a few things. I’ve started doing Olympic weight lifting and my footy brain, I feel a lot more mature as a footballer. I’m 25 now so I feel like I’ve grown into my body, I’m feeling really strong now and really fit. “
Though playing at the top of his game, Clarke feels he still has plenty to work on as the season progresses.
“Sort of being used more offensively, I’m good at running back and helping out but I want to become more reactive, attack a bit more. Get myself into more dangerous positions when we’re on offense. Probably the biggest thing I could work on,” he said.
“Also getting a few more marks around the ground, something a tall can do, getting into a good position and get the grab.”
Clarke said their victory over Morningside showed how well the team was working together at the moment.
“We are absolutely starting to click and tick over nicely at the moment. Everyone knows their role, all the gears are oiled and running really well. That was really evident on the weekend and I thought everyone came together as a team,” he said.
The victory, though, has not created any sense of entitlement within the club and they are under no illusions about winning a grand final.
“In all honesty, no that hasn’t been mentioned. How it sort of operates is it gets broken down to portions. Our goal is to make top three and then we’ll worry about finals when they come. At the moment it’s just getting through the season,” he said.
By Danny McCarthy