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League report: Flawless display by Busher

Monday, August 7, 2017 - 2:36 PM
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By Ken Casellas

Perfection in any walk of life is extremely difficult to achieve and it was heart-warming to witness Haydn Busher coming close to giving a flawless display at centre-half-back for Claremont in the match against Perth at Lathlain Park on Saturday.

His virtuoso performance was just one of many highlights in Claremont’s resounding 99-point thrashing of the overwhelmed Demons.

There was much to like about the day in which captain Jake Murphy and star midfielder Ryan Neates returned to league action after lengthy stints on the sidelines, recovering from injury.

Towering teenager ruckman Jeremy Goddard made a solid league debut and fellow teenage ruckman-forward Oliver Eastland excelled in his second league appearance and earned plaudits for his football nous and willingness to conform to team-oriented standards.

And there was yet another masterful display by powerful midfielder Jye Bolton, who shrugged off the close attention he was subjected to and finished the contest with 14 marks, 23 kicks and 16 effective handpasses as well as 15 clearances at stoppages, seven inside 50s and six tackles.

I still marvel at the outstanding attitude, the skill and the fearlessness of veteran half-forward Ian Richardson. The dashing left-footer personifies, along with the inspirational Murphy, the true Tiger spirit of total commitment. Richardson shone with 12 marks, 18 kicks, six effective handpasses and nine inside 50s.

Teenager Bailey Banfield continues to impress with his uncanny ability to win the ball at stoppages and again he set the standard for tackling. He finished with an equal match-high tally of nine tackles along with co-midfielder Jared Hardisty.

Claremont’s Superman, the gnarled 31-year-old veteran Beau Maister gladdened the hearts of Tigers supporters with a magnificent display at full-forward where he kicked 5.6. An intimidating mountain of a man, Maister led astutely and took ten marks. It was a case of Maister the Master as he proved too strong for Nelson Ansey and Clayton Giblett.

There was not a passenger in the side which functioned smoothly and efficiently and chalked up a tally of 20.13 while keeping Perth to a miserable 5.4. Great credit is due to the side’s defensive unit, led by Busher and Matt Davies and assisted in grand style by Anton Hamp, Harry McCracken, Keifer Yu, Bailey Rogers and Charlie Le Fanu.

In a match played in still, fine conditions the Tigers defenders were superb as they consistently thwarted the Demons when they mounted attacks. In one 76-minute period of the contest, from the 24-minute mark of the first quarter to 14 minutes and 34 seconds into the final term, Perth did not manage to score a goal. The Demons added three behinds in this period, two of which were forced.

This was Claremont’s seventh victory from 17 matches this season and the side is in seventh spot on the premiership table. The Tigers can move into fifth place and qualify for the finals, edging out either West Perth or East Perth, sides that have won eight matches. Claremont’s final three qualifying-round matches are against South Fremantle (Claremont Oval), Swan Districts (Bassendean Oval) and West Perth (Claremont Oval).    

Perth got away to a flying start to Saturday’s contest, with a goal to Anton Scotney 65 seconds after the opening siren, following a free-kick to Clint Jones at the opening bounce. The Tigers replied within a minute, with Eastland snapping truly after receiving from CJ Oakley.

However, Perth hit back with a goal to Kurtis Chester. Maister was imposing himself and he held a tumbling mark in the right pocket before his shot crashed high up into the right goal post. Then Perth’s Gordon Narrier looked set to boot a goal as he was running into an open goal. But a great chase and tackle by Goddard foiled Narrier and only a point resulted.

Following a grand saving mark by Busher, Neates and the hard-working Zac Langdon combined to get the ball to Maister, who took a mark in the right pocket and then slotted home his first major.

A dubious free-kick resulted in a goal to Perth’s Taran Etto. Langdon was working strongly in defence and Rogers came under notice with a tremendous tackle on Kristian Cary.

Twenty-four minutes into the quarter Curtis booted his second goal and the electronic scoreboard showed the Demons leading 4.1 to 2.2. Little did the spectators know that Perth would add only one more goal for the afternoon while Claremont piled on 18 goals.

Claremont steadied and goal in red time to Matt Guelfi (after a mark) reduced Perth’s margin to five points at quarter-time. The Tigers started the second quarter with a flourish, with goals to Murphy (after a free-kick 50m out) and Maister (after marking a Tom Ledger pass) saw the Tigers in front by seven points.

A delightful passage of play involving Busher, Hardisty, Ryan Lim and Langdon ended with a spearing pass from Richardson to Maister for the veteran’s third goal. Bolton gained the clearance at the centre bounce and Langdon booted the ball forward where Maister pounced on the loose ball for another major. Then a centre clearance by Eastland resulted in a goal to Alex Manuel.

Richardson, Langdon and Manuel worked the ball forward where Maister, surrounded by Demons, cleverly soccered the ball gently to the elusive Oakley, who burst clear, took two bounces and notched the first of his three goals. It was vintage Maister and we were all thrilled.

Another grand defensive mark by Busher resulted in Manuel booting the ball forward where Maister pulled down a grand contested mark. But only a point resulted. A low pass by Lim to Bolton saw the Tigers add another behind and at half-time Claremont led by 33 points.

It took only 24 seconds in the third term before Neates, performing splendidly in his return, snapped truly. And then it was Oakley handballing to Guelfi, whose pass was marked by Maister for a behind.

Claremont then added another behind and Oakley chipped in to mark the Perth kick-in 20 metres out for his second goal. Banfield, Richardson and McCracken got the ball to Maister for yet another behind and soon after that Maister snapped and his shot hit high up on the right goal post for his second poster.

 Banfield joined the party with a goal from long range and Oakley handpassed to Ledger, who booted the ball forward where Neates flew skywards to take a fine chest mark before kicking a behind. Soon after that Langdon received from Le Fanu and after taking two bounces he scored a goal from long range. A short Richardson pass to Manuel resulted in the latter scoring a behind as the siren sounded for three-quarter time with the Tigers in charge by 63 points.

It took Bolton only 55 seconds into the final term to boot Claremont’s 14th goal, followed three minutes later by Oakley’s third goal, courtesy of a free-kick and a 50m penalty. Richardson was still moving at top pace and he played an important part in Claremont’s next two majors, to Maister and Manuel. Finally, the Demons got their fifth and final goal, to Chester 14min. 34sec. into the quarter.

Lim became Claremont’s 11th goalscorer after he received a free-kick at the 20min. mark and a couple of minutes later the busy Langdon left the field, nursing an injured left elbow.

Maister marked an Oakley kick two metres out, in between the right goal post and right point post. Unselfishly, he handballed over his head to Manuel for his third goal. Some untidy play late in the quarter ended with the busy Ledger using his left boot to slam home Claremont’s 20th goal.

It was a grand all-round performance from the Tigers, who will be full of confidence for next Saturday’s important clash with South Fremantle at Claremont Oval.


Claremont 20.13 (133) beat Perth 5.4 (34)

Scorers---CLAREMONT: B. Maister 5.6; A. Manuel, CJ Oakley 3.1; T. Ledger 1.2; J. Bolton, Z. Langdon, R. Neates 1.1; B. Banfield, O. Eastland, M. Guelfi, R. Lim, J. Murphy 1.0. PERTH: K. Chester 3.0; T. Etto, A. Scotney 1.0; K. Cary, M. Henderson, G. Narrier 0.1; 2pts forced.

Best---CLAREMONT: J. Bolton, H. Busher, B. Maister, I. Richardson, R. Neates, Z. Langdon, T. Ledger, B. Banfield, A. Manuel. PERTH: M. Sinclair, B. Colledge, K. Chester, C. Jones, J. Burke, K. Cary, C. Byrne.