Pre-Season CFC v SFC Report: Tough trio set the trend
By Ken Casellas
What do Jake Murphy, Ian Richardson and Matt Davies have in common? Yes, they’re left-footers. But more importantly, they are setting the standard for toughness and their fierce attack on the ball.
This trio of experienced Claremont players were shining lights in the pre-season scratch match against Subiaco at Leederville Oval on Saturday morning when the Tigers revealed a new-found overall ferocity and a relentless attitude.
The Lions won the hard-fought contest by eight points, but the Tigers issued a stern warning to opposing sides this season that they will not be easy-beats. There is now more of a blue-collar approach from the Claremont men who revealed a heartening brand of hard-nosed application and never-say-die disposition.
Davies, a powerfully-built half-back flanker, came under notice in the opening minutes of the contest when he performed a great smother off the boot of dangerous Subiaco forward Liam Ryan.
Further examples of Claremont’s desperation came in the third quarter when on the grandstand wing at the ten-minute mark Murphy smothered a kick off the boot of Subiaco’s Leigh Kitchin and was able to gain possession. Four minutes later Richardson applied a great tackle to dispossess Daniel Perkins. And Richardson followed up two minutes later with another wholehearted tackle on Chris Bryan.
Half-forward flanker Alex Manuel impressed with his strong defensive work in attack and finished the match with seven tackles. Emerging midfielder Bailey Banfield also weighed in with seven tackles and he and Manuel were followed in the tackle count by Ryan Lim, Zac Langdon and Jeremy Goddard (six) and Gerrick Weedon and Dylan Ross (five).
The match provided Claremont with a good, solid hit-out before the club’s final practice match against South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval next Saturday. The downside was injuries to centre-half-forward Tom Lee and half-forward flanker Aaron Holt.
Lee, back at Claremont after four years with St Kilda, damaged a shoulder late in the opening quarter and moments later Holt received a nasty blow to his right cheekbone. These injuries kept Lee and Holt out of action for the rest of the contest.
The good news is that scans revealed no serious damage to either player. Lee could miss the side’s first-round match against East Fremantle, but Holt should be fit to play. Holt received a stinging blow to the face from an opponent’s head as he bent down to gather the ball. There is no fracture of the cheekbone, but he has a badly swollen cheekbone and a black eye.
After an even first quarter which ended with the Lions leading 3.4 to 2.4, Subiaco raced away to a 23-point lead before a late Claremont goal in the second quarter saw the home side in front, 7.5 to 4.4 at half-time. The Tigers had trouble in containing the hard-running Subiaco captain Kyal Horsley, who booted three first-half goals, and Kitchin and Justin Joyce were also damaging players for the home side.
The Tigers lifted their intensity after half-time and stifled the Maroons in the third quarter, which saw the home side add three behinds to a solitary Tigers goal. Claremont outscored Subiaco 3.3 to 2.1 in the final term which saw the Maroons scramble home by eight points, 9.9 to 8.7.
Claremont used 27 players in the match played in hot conditions. Haydn Busher was in magnificent form at centre-half-back and led an uncompromising defence in which Matt Davies, Jess Laurie, Harry McCracken, close-checking full-back Anton Hamp, Dylan Ross, Aden Wilkins, John Williams and Ryan Murphy all performed strongly.
Rover Ryan Neates was a driving force for the Tigers. He had 14 contested possessions and finished with five marks, 15 kicks and 16 effective handpasses. He also had nine clearances from stoppages and got the ball inside his side’s attacking 50m zone on eight occasions.
He was outstanding in the final quarter during which Claremont drew to within four points of Subiaco. In this term Neates took four marks, had seven kicks (including a goal), made four effective handpasses, gained five clearances from stoppages and got the ball inside the 50m zone four times.
Goddard, who starred in Claremont’s colts grand final victory last September, was the dominant ruckman in the match and he looks set to develop into a fine senior player.
Lim maintained his good pre-season form, with six clearances from stoppages and Weedon continues to impress with the pressure he applies in tight situations. Tom Ledger, Tom Shanahan and Morgan Davies also were strong contributors in the midfield.
Subiaco 9.9 (63) beat Claremont 8.7 (55)
SUBIACO: K. Horsley, L. Ryan 3.0; J. Joyce, C. Wheeler 1.1; R. Polak 1.0; R. Vermeersch 0.2; L. Delahunty, J. Garcia, D. Nelson, D. Perkins 0.1; 1pt forced.
CLAREMONT: I. Richardson 2.1; T. Ledger 2.0; B. Higgs 1.1; A. Manuel, R. Neates, G. Weedon 1.0; J. Richardson 0.2; H. Busher, T. Lee, B. Maister 0.1.
SUBIACO: K. Horsley, L. Kitchin, J. Joyce, J. Latham, D. Perkins, C. Hoskins, L. Ryan, A. Litherland, M. Bogensperger. CLAREMONT: R. Neates, H. Busher, Matt Davies, J. Murphy, I. Richardson, B. Banfield, T. Ledger, T. Shanahan, R. Lim, H. McCracken, Morgan Davies.
Read Development Team Report HERE.