League: Bolton Sinks Swans

Monday, August 27, 2018 - 12:42 PM

Photographer: Gary Day

Article by: Daniel Scamozzi

Brilliant midfielder Jye Bolton has made a habit of dominating the opposition at Steel Blue Oval during his nearly-completed three seasons as a Claremont Tiger.

So it was fitting that the ball was in his hands when the final siren sounded at the sunbathed venue on Saturday afternoon in the final round of the home-and-away season.

The Tigers were trailing by one point when Bolton marked a pass from Alex Manuel (eight marks, game-high five goals) at the eastern end of the ground about 40m from goal on a slight angle during the final stages of an enthralling contest.

Bolton, who works tirelessly and has nerves of steel, then split the middle to give the Tigers a pulsating five-point win, 13.13 (91) to 13.8 (86), sending the team and the travelling Tiger Army into raptures.

The result secured fourth position on the ladder and a home elimination final against East Perth at Claremont Oval on Sunday.

Bolton, who recorded a game-high 33 disposals and won the players’ player award for his hardworking performance, will now play in his first final for the club, along with several of his teammates when the Tigers aim to knock off the Royals for a third time this season.

The Tigers’ ninth win of the season was their third in succession and resulted from a will to never give in.

Despite trailing at every change, the Tigers refused to surrender and ran out the game much stronger than Swans, with Manuel putting the team on his shoulders during a herculean final term.

The hardworking No.27, who possesses brilliant foot skills on both sides of his body and regularly brings his teammates into the game, kicked three of his goals to provide the inspiration the Tigers needed to record the latest in a series of nail-biting wins.

Defender Lachlan Martinis (19 disposals, six marks) is also in terrific form and was another key contributor, while hard-running, joint vice-captain Kane Mitchell (31 disposals, nine tackles), who plays his 100th game next week, continues to get to contest after contest.

17-year-old defender Jordan Clark (19 disposals) continues to shine with his skill, composure and superb ability to read the play, and brilliantly denied Swans with an outstanding smother at the start of the final term, while Tyron Smallwood made a promising debut and kicked a vital goal after the quarter-time siren.

Meanwhile, the hard-leading and strong-marking Tom Lee (eight marks, two goals) provided a focal point in the forward line, while Oliver Eastland returned from illness in one of two changes to the team that defeated Peel Thunder in round 20.

Swans were best served by strong-marking forward Brayden Noble (10 marks, four goals), but were overrun by a determined Tigers outfit and suffered their third consecutive loss and 12th for the season.

The Tigers kicked to the western end of the ground in the opening term but found themselves trailing by 19 points just before time-on after Swans kicked the first three goals on the back of dominating contested disposal and inside 50s.

A strong mark and accurate finish from debutant T. Smallwood pulled the Tigers to within 12 points at quarter-time, despite 15 fewer contested disposals and 11 fewer inside 50s, with coach Darren Harris imploring the team to lift and run harder.

A 50m penalty allowed Swans veteran Tony Notte to extend the hosts’ lead to 18 points early in the second term, before Clark took a great mark in defence.

Lee then kicked truly following repeat efforts from Clark, before Noble, who was already proving a handful for the Tigers, kicked his third and fourth goals.

Tigers captain Ian Richardson replied after making the most of a spearing pass from joint vice-captain Ryan Lim, before Swans hit back through goals to Notte (second) and David Ellard.

Now trailing by a game-high 29 points, vital late goals from Manuel and Haydn Busher pulled the Tigers to within 16 at half-time, in a situation that had a familiar feel to the encounter with Peel seven days earlier.

A strong mark and second goal to Lee resulted from a clearance from midfielder Jared Hardisty and gave the Tigers a perfect start to the second half, before a crumbing Tom Ledger gave the team four consecutive goals and slashed Swans’ lead to just five points.

Albert Dean replied for the hosts, before a holding-the-ball free kick and brilliant finish from Keifer Yu pulled the Tigers to within three points.

Manuel then converted a spearing pass from Lee and gave the Tigers the lead, before Tobe Watson edged Swans in front by six points at the final change.

A composed address from Harris reiterated that a home final was on the line, as Clark’s brilliant smother denied Swans in the early stages of the final term.

What came next was quite breathtaking, as Manuel kicked consecutive goals to give the Tigers a five-point lead, before 17-year-old Swans debutant Mitchell Bain ran from half-back to full-forward to kick one of the goals of the season.

Enter Manuel.

A fifth goal, this time a brilliant left-footed snap while running towards the boundary line, reclaimed the lead for the Tigers in what was turning into an enthralling contest.

Goals to Notte and Matt Riggio then reclaimed the lead for Swans, before Kaiden Gilbert and Richardson both had the chance to put the Tigers back in front but couldn’t convert.

It was then up to Bolton, who brilliantly iced the game and broke Swans’ hearts.

CLAREMONT 1.2 5.5 9.7 13.13 (91)

SWAN DISTRICTS 3.2 8.3 10.7 13.8 (86)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 5 A. Manuel, 2 T. Lee, 1 K. Yu, I. Richardson, J. Bolton, T. Ledger, H. Busher, T. Smallwood.

SWAN DISTRICTS: 4 B. Noble, 3 T. Notte, 1 D. Ellard, T. Watson, M. Riggio, J. Turner, A. Dean, M. Bain.

BEST

CLAREMONT: A. Manuel, L. Martinis, J. Bolton, K. Mitchell, J. Clark.

SWAN DISTRICTS: B. Noble, A. Howard, C. Gault, M. Riggio.