League Report: Langdon leads Tigers’ rout
An inspired performance from Zac Langdon helped Claremont destroy a woeful East Fremantle by 62 points at East Fremantle Oval in the opening round of the 2017 McDonald's WAFL Premiership Season.
Despite trailing by 19 points at quarter-time after an early onslaught by the Sharks, the Tigers slammed on 18 goals to five after quarter-time in the 19.9 (123) to 9.7 (61) demolition to give the team and new coach Darren Harris an outstanding start to the season.
Six and eight goals to one in the second and final terms respectively saw the Tigers blow the Sharks out of the water, as the tireless Langdon led the way with 21 disposals, six marks, five tackles, three goals and a hand in several others.
Sandover medallist Jye Bolton broke free from a number of opponents to finish with 26 disposals and one goal, while Harrison McCracken provided his trademark dash from the half-back line and helped curtail East Fremantle’s Brett Peake.
Tom Lee dismissed any concerns over a shoulder injury to finish with seven marks and five goals in his first game for the club since 2012, while Jesse Laurie took home the players’ player award for his outstanding defensive efforts.
Beau Maister, who was instrumental with his grunt work and ability to bring other forwards into the game by crashing several packs, kicked three goals in the final term, while Ryan Murphy, rewarded for his outstanding pre-season, made a promising debut and Haydn Busher led Claremont’s defence.
The hard working Ryan Neates (24 disposals, two goals) and Alex Manuel (two goals) were two of the Tigers’ five multiple goal kickers, while Ryan Lim (28 disposals, one goal) performed strongly and Mitch Andrews, after recently returning from his honeymoon, led the way in the ruck.
On a sour note, forward Jack Richardson had his game ended by a shoulder injury.
East Fremantle were best served by Jesse Adamini (27 disposals, one goal), Sam Read, Jonathon Marsh (20 disposals, one goal) and Matthew Watson (three goals), but missed midfielder Liam Anthony, who was a late withdrawal due to illness, and offered no resistance to the Tigers’ onslaught after quarter-time.
Claremont were quickly on the back foot after early goals to Marsh, Peake, Watson and Cameron Symonds gave the Sharks a 23-point lead inside the opening 14 minutes with the breeze at their backs.
Neates responded with the Tigers’ first major to trim the Sharks’ lead to 19 points at the first change, as Harris lauded Langdon and Keifer Yu and encouraged the team to maintain their effort.
Jake Murphy gingerly left the field early in the second term in what looked like a concern for the Tigers, before the inspirational skipper soon returned and kicked a team-lifting goal.
A second to Neates quickly followed before Langdon snapped truly to give the Tigers four in a row and trim the deficit to just one point.
A golden few minutes included three shots and two goals for the popular Tiger as the team put their foot down with the ball virtually camped in their forward half, before Manuel made the Sharks pay for an errant kick in defence.
That gave the Tigers seven consecutive goals and a 13-point lead at half-time despite a second goal to Peake late in the term, with the team now purring and converting their dominance into scoreboard pressure.
A match-ending shoulder injury to Richardson wasn’t the start to the second half Claremont were hoping for, however, Langdon making a spoil in defence showed that the Tigers were in no mood to take the foot off the accelerator despite kicking into the breeze.
East Fremantle briefly halted the carnage through goals to Watson (second) and Adamini, before Bolton perfectly judged the tricky breeze by kicking truly from the forward pocket.
Manuel then added his second following a kick forward by Ian Richardson after some great efforts by Busher, before Langdon got on the end of a pass from Neates to give the Tigers a 23-point lead with his second goal.
A third major to Lee resulted from a brilliant pass by I. Richardson, before a goal on the siren to Watson (third) trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 21 points at the final change.
A fourth goal to Lee following efforts from Aaron Holt and Lim provided the perfect start to the final term, before Maister added his name to the goal kicking list after some more fine work by Holt.
A third goal to Langdon quickly followed after a handball from Matt Davies and great contest from Maister, before the evergreen forward kicked his second and vice-captain I. Richardson got in on the act.
A third to Maister followed a searing pass from Manuel after a coast-to-coast team transition, before Jack Perham broke a run of six consecutive goals to the Tigers.
Some great courage by R. Murphy highlighted the Tigers’ appetite for the contest and desire to run out the match, before Lim capped off his stellar game with a major.
A fifth goal to Lee, after the siren, put the full stop on an emphatic performance and gave the Tigers their fourth straight win at the venue.
Claremont will now cool its heels with a bye in round two, before facing Perth at Lathlain Park a week later.
CLAREMONT 1.1 7.3 11.8 19.9 (123)
EAST FREMANTLE 4.2 5.2 8.5 9.7 (61)
CLAREMONT: 5 T. Lee, 3 B. Maister, Z. Langdon, 2 A. Manuel, R. Neates, 1 R. Lim, J. Bolton, J. Murphy, I. Richardson.
EAST FREMANTLE: 3 M. Watson, 2 B. Peake, 1 J. Perham, C. Symonds, J. Marsh, J. Adamini.
CLAREMONT: Z. Langdon, J. Bolton, H. McCracken, T. Lee, J. Laurie.
EAST FREMANTLE: J. Adamini, S. Read, J. Marsh, M. Watson.
ROUND 1 LEAGUE HIGHLIGHTS
Development report: Rogers shines in Tiger's loss - Read here.