Preliminary Final Preview Subiaco vs. Claremont

Friday, September 14, 2018 - 11:03 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi

Claremont’s Reserves face Subiaco in the preliminary final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday, with the winner to face East Perth in the grand final at Optus Stadium seven days later.

The Tigers thumped Swan Districts in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena last week, while the Lions surrendered a 44-point quarter-time lead in their loss to the Royals.

Just one win separated the Lions and Tigers on the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season, and a fierce contest is set to unfold as both teams aim to keep their seasons alive.

The club encourages the Tiger Army to attend the game and support the mighty Tigers.


Fremantle Community Bank Oval, Sunday, September 16, 11.50am.


Tune in to Footy Radio (WAFL App) for LIVE coverage.

League: Falcons Swoop On Tigers

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 9:08 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi

A disappointing performance saw Claremont suffer a 53-point loss against West Perth in glorious conditions in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena.

A slow start resulted in a 29-point deficit at quarter-time, and despite the Tigers winning the third term, the Falcons were always in control as they prevailed 19.9 (123) to 10.10 (70) to advance to the preliminary final against South Fremantle.

The Falcons’ spread, ability to hit targets and efficiency in front of goal proved too much for the Tigers, who saw their season come to an end but will be back bigger and better in 2019.

The tenacious Keifer Yu (one goal) was applauded from the ground by both teams after his 100th and final League game for the club, with the inspirational Tiger among the visitor’s best players.

Co-vice-captain and midfielder Ryan Lim (27 disposals, one goal) was Claremont’s best player and won the players’ player award, while spearhead Tom Lee (six marks) kicked a team-high four goals.

Rebounding defender Lachlan Martinis (20 disposals) and utility Haydn Busher (team-high six inside 50s) battled manfully, while co-vice-captain and tireless midfielder Kane Mitchell laid a game-high 11 tackles.

Meanwhile, hardworking forward Alex Manuel (six marks) kicked three goals.

Spearhead Tyler Keitel kicked a team-high four goals for the Falcons, who were well served by captain Aaron Black (31 disposals, three goals) and former Tiger Keegan Knott (three goals).

CLAREMONT 2.3 3.5 7.9 10.10 (70)

WEST PERTH 7.2 11.3 13.5 19.9 (123)


CLAREMONT: 4 T. Lee, 3 A. Manuel, 1 K. Yu, I. Richardson, R. Lim.

WEST PERTH: 4 T. Keitel, 3 A. Black, K. Knott, 2 A. Strijk, C. Chalmers, S, Nelson, 1 J. van Berlo, K. Shannon, M. Peirce.


CLAREMONT: R. Lim, K. Yu, T. Lee, L. Martinis, H. Busher.

WEST PERTH: A. Black, S. Nelson, D. Munns, L. Meadows, K. Knott.

Reserves: Tigers Bury Swans

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - 9:06 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi

A ruthless, dominant and clinical performance from Claremont’s Reserves saw the Tigers crush Swan Districts by 68 points in glorious conditions in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena.

The 22.3 (135) to 10.7 (67) mauling is the Tigers’ highest score of the season and sets up a preliminary final showdown with Subiaco at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

A blistering, 13-goals-to-two first half set up an enormous 67-point lead at half-time, and despite Swans responding in the third term, the Tigers slammed on six more goals in the final term to record an emphatic victory.

The Tigers took 18 more marks, laid 19 more tackles and recorded eight more scoring shots than their beaten opponents, and kicked 16.0 after quarter-time.

11 goal-kickers also highlighted the team’s evenness and many avenues to goal.

Tough-as-nails defender Isaac Wallace set the tone with his unwavering attack on the ball and blanketed Swans’ Taryce Stewart (two disposals, one goal) to finish as Claremont’s best player and deservedly win the players’ player award, while Shaquille Morton laid six tackles and kicked two goals in a starring role across the half-forward line.

The high-leaping Matt Palfrey returned from concussion to kick a game-high five goals, including four in the Tigers’ first-half blitz, while ruckman Jeremy Goddard (37 hit-outs) continued his great form and regularly gave the midfield first use.

Midfielder Tom Curren (28 disposals) laid six tackles for the second week running, while Alec Waterman and Brett Wilson each kicked three goals.

Meanwhile, clearance and tackling machine Rylie Morgan laid a game-high nine tackles.

Steven Wityk kicked a team-high four goals for Swans, however, the black-and-whites had no answers to the Tigers’ early onslaught and saw their season come to an end.

Ryan Murphy, Palfrey, Cameron Quenby and James Egan came into the team as the Tigers kicked to the southern end of the ground in the opening term, with a booming pass from Waterman setting up Palfrey for the opening goal of the game.

The dangerous forward quickly doubled his and the team’s tally after some outstanding composure from Jacob Orr at full-back, before goals from Morgan Davies and Morgan saw the Tigers race to a 24-point lead at the midway point of the opening term.

Chad Daniels then kicked Swans’ first major before Egan added the Tigers’ fifth.

A smother from Josh Bennett and a great tackle and pass from Morton set up Waterman for the Tigers’ sixth goal and a 32-point lead at quarter-time, with the team recording seven more contested disposals, four more clearances and 14 more handball receives than Swans.

Coach Steven Armstrong paid tribute to the fantastic work from the midfield and lauded the team’s spread and pressing, before a ferocious tackle from Wilson at half-back earned the Tiger a free kick in the early stages of the second term and reiterated the team’s appetite for the contest.

Ben Rushforth then extended the lead to 38 points after kicking the Tigers’ seventh goal, before big man Eddie Simpson made Swans pay from a 50m penalty.

A third goal to Palfrey gave the Tigers five consecutive goals and stretched the advantage to 50 points, before Wityk kicked the first of his four majors for Swans.

However, a second goal from Waterman and major to Wilson, with the latter resulting from repeat efforts from Murphy in midfield, regained control for the Tigers, before Waterman added his third and Palfrey his fourth after some sweeping play from defence.

The result was a 67-point lead to the Tigers at half-time following a breathtaking first half that included eight goal-kickers.

Goals from Freddie Clutterbuck and Josh Cipro gave Swans consecutive goals for the first time and trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 53 points early in the second half, before a penetrating finish from 50m gave Wilson his second goal.

The previously unsighted Stewart then kicked Swans’ fifth goal, before the dashing Nic Bucknall and Wilson (third) replied for the Tigers.

A second to Wityk saw Swans win the term and trim the Tigers’ lead to 58 points at the final change, with Armstrong imploring the team to kick the ball long to the forwards.

A third to Wityk gave Swans the first goal of the final term, before Palfrey kicked his fifth and Bucknall his second.

Wityk then hit back with his fourth for Swans, before a strong tackle from Rushforth resulted in a free kick and Morton kicking the Tigers’ 19th major.

Nicholas Allan was next to get in on the act after splitting the middle from a tight angle, before Morton wobbled through his second goal from a similar position to his first.

Two of the last three goals, either side of a second to Davies, from Swans proved little more than consolation on a day that belonged to the Tigers and saw the team move one step closer to the grand final.

CLAREMONT 6.3 13.3 16.3 22.3 (135)

SWAN DISTRICTS 1.1 2.2 6.5 10.7 (67)


CLAREMONT: 5 M. Palfrey, 3 A. Waterman, B. Wilson, 2 M. Davies, S. Morton, N. Bucknall, 1 E. Simpson, B. Rushforth, R. Morgan, N. Allan, J. Egan.

SWAN DISTRICTS: 4 S. Wityk, 2 F. Clutterbuck, 1 T. Stewart, J. Cipro, B. Erceg, C. Daniels.


CLAREMONT: I. Wallace, S. Morton, M. Palfrey, J. Goddard, T. Curren.

SWAN DISTRICTS: J. Cipro, J. O'Sullivan, S. Wityk, F. Clutterbuck.

Semifinal Preview West Perth vs. Claremont

Friday, September 7, 2018 - 9:17 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi

Claremont face West Perth in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena in week two of the 2018 TABtouch WAFL Finals Series on Sunday afternoon, with the Tigers aiming to continue their strong momentum and secure a place in the preliminary final.

The Tigers defeated East Perth in the elimination final, while the Falcons were comprehensively beaten by South Fremantle in the qualifying final.

Fan favourite Jack Beeck will play his 50th game as the Tigers aim for their fifth consecutive win.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Reserves face Swan Districts in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena.

The club encourages the Tiger Army to attend both games and support the mighty Tigers.



Joondalup Arena, Sunday, September 9, 2.15pm.

Reserves: 11.25am.


Tune in to SportFM (91.3) from 1.45pm, or Footy Radio for LIVE coverage.


Played: 268.

West Perth: 157.

Claremont: 110.

Draws: 1.

League: Ferocious Tigers Roar Past Royals

Monday, September 3, 2018 - 10:59 AM

Photo by Gary Day

Article by Daniel Scamozzi

An outstanding team performance from Claremont resulted in a commanding 28-point win against East Perth in glorious conditions in the elimination final at a packed Claremont Oval in week one of the 2018 TABtouch WAFL Finals Series.

A determined mindset, terrific intensity, fierce and relentless pressure, ferocious tackling and a buy-in from the whole team epitomised the 12.11 (83) to 8.7 (55) triumph, with the Tigers now set to face West Perth in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena on Sunday.

The Tigers’ fourth consecutive win, third against the Royals this season and first in the finals since 2012 was built on the back of a dominant three-goals-to-nil opening term, including 15 more contested disposals, 17 more inside 50s and eight more scoring shots.

Despite momentum changing several times after quarter-time, the Tigers were always in control of the contest and ended up recording 57 more disposals, 22 more marks, 12 more tackles, 23 more inside 50s and eight more scoring shots as they ended the Royals’ season.

Co-vice-captain and outstanding midfielder Kane Mitchell (25 disposals) celebrated his 100th game with a typically inspirational performance, shrugging off a shoulder concern to lay a game-high 13 tackles and finish as Claremont’s best player and deservedly win the players’ player award.

The tireless Tiger was then chaired from the ground by captain Ian Richardson and the dashing Jack Beeck before the Tigers belted out the club song with him in the middle.

Forward Tom Lee provided an imposing focal point and hauled in eight marks and kicked a game-high five goals as he tore the Royals’ defence to shreds, while teenager Jordan Clark took a game-high 10 marks in a typically composed and brilliant performance across half-back.

Ruckman Oliver Eastland (18 disposals, 31 hit-outs) gave the Tigers tremendous service and won a game-high six free kicks, while utility Haydn Busher (22 disposals, two goals) was prominent and kicked the goal of the day in the third term.

The Royals were well served by former Tigers Pat McGinnity and Francis Watson, but couldn’t match the hosts’ endeavour and commitment.

Hardworking forward Jordan Law replaced midfielder Tom Curren (omitted) in the team that defeated Swan Districts in round 21, as the Tigers elected to kick to the southern end of the ground in the opening term.

The first of five goals to Lee came in the eighth minute and was the result of the Tigers locking the ball in their front half through relentless pressing and pressure, before repeat efforts at half-back from Clark epitomised the team’s appetite for the contest.

Tyron Smallwood then bounced through a miraculous snap from the pocket, before more fierce tackling and pressure suffocated the Royals.

Co-vice-captain Ryan Lim then banged through the Tigers’ third major, giving the hosts a 23-point lead at quarter-time.

3.6 to 0.1 was an indication that the Tigers should have been further ahead, though the significant advantage in contested disposals and inside 50s delighted coach Darren Harris.

A spearing pass from midfielder Jye Bolton resulted in a second goal to Lee and gave the Tigers a great start to the second term and extended the lead to 29 points, before West Coast’s Oscar Allen got the Royals on the board.

A 50m penalty then allowed ruckman Ajang Ajang to give the Royals consecutive majors and trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 16 points at half-time, with the hosts now +20 in inside 50s.

Goals to Nathan Blee and Ajang (second) gave the Royals four in a row and pulled them to within four points early in the second half, before forward Alex Manuel kicked a timely major for the Tigers after a courageous mark and great pass from Keifer Yu.

Richardson then made the most of a squaring pass from Bolton, before Busher evaded an opponent and brilliantly split the middle from a tight angle to give the Tigers three consecutive goals and a 23-point lead.

Lee soon made it 29 with his third major after a spearing left-footed pass from Tom Ledger, before late goals from Matt Allen and Brendon Ah Chee pulled the Royals to within 16 points at the final change.

Harris implored the Tigers to improve their efforts in contested disposal, before a second major from Oscar Allen gave the Royals three consecutive goals and pulled them to within nine points early in the final term.

A swift transition from defence ended with another strong mark from Lee, who selflessly handballed to Yu, allowing the tenacious Tiger to kick the team’s ninth goal before Busher made the Royals pay from a 50m penalty with his second major.

Lee then kicked his fourth and fifth goals to give the Tigers a game-high 34-point lead, before a goal from West Coast’s Jack Petruccelle after the siren mattered little to the result as the Tigers recorded a memorable win in front of an adoring Tiger Army.

CLAREMONT 3.6 4.7 8.8 12.11 (83)

EAST PERTH 0.1 2.3 6.4 8.7 (55)


CLAREMONT: 5 T. Lee, 2 H. Busher, 1 K. Yu, I. Richardson, R. Lim, A. Manuel, T. Smallwood.

EAST PERTH: 2 A. Ajang, O. Allen, 1 N. Blee, M. Allen, J. Petruccelle, B. Ah Chee.


CLAREMONT: K. Mitchell, T. Lee, J. Clark, O. Eastland, H. Busher.

EAST PERTH: P. McGinnity, B. Ah Chee, F. Watson, O. Allen.

CROWD: 3, 669 at Claremont Oval.

Reserves: Royals Edge Tigers

Monday, September 3, 2018 - 10:50 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi. 

Claremont’s Reserves suffered a 16-point defeat against East Perth in glorious conditions in the qualifying final at Claremont Oval.

Three late goals from the Royals saw them prevail 12.11 (83) to 10.7 (67), meaning the Tigers now face Swan Districts in the first semifinal at Joondalup Arena on Sunday.

Despite holding narrow leads at the first two changes and a one-point advantage in the 17th minute of the final term, the Tigers couldn’t hold off the speedy Royals, and will now regroup as they aim to keep their season alive.

Ruckman Jeremy Goddard (14 disposals, five marks, 39 hit-outs) starred with his tap work, efforts around the ground and strong marking to finish as Claremont’s best player and win the players’ player award, with fellow big man Eddie Simpson (10 marks, two goals) also giving the Tigers tremendous service.

Midfielder Tom Curren (29 disposals) laid a team-high six tackles in a strong response to his League omission, with fellow midfielder Rylie Morgan continuing his strong form and recording game-high totals of 32 disposals and nine inside 50s.

Brett Wilson kicked a team-high three goals, including two outstanding finishes from the right-forward pocket at the southern end of the ground in the final term, while Morgan Davies (27 disposals, 10 marks, five tackles, five inside 50s) was also influential.

Meanwhile, Braydn Furmark kicked a game-high four goals for the Royals as the visitors booked a date with co-tenants Subiaco in the second semifinal.

Curren, Isaac Wallace and Shaquille Morton came into the team that lost to Swans in round 21, as the Tigers kicked to the northern end of the ground in the opening term with defender Jesse Laurie captaining the team.

A smother from defender Jacob Orr at half-back, which hit him in the face, ended the Tiger’s game through concussion and was an early blow for the team, though the hosts did kick a goal from the team-lifting act after Alec Waterman converted a kick-to-advantage from Nic Bucknall.

Nick Winmar then split the middle from a tight angle to give the Tigers consecutive goals and a great start, before Stan Wright replied for the Royals.

A ferocious tackle from Goddard on East Perth’s Shayne Hille in midfield earned the Tiger a free kick and was a sign of his appetite for the contest, before the first of Furmark’s four goals levelled the scores in the 21st minute.

Wilson then made the most of some nifty work from the speedy Bailey Bennett to restore the Tigers’ lead, before a strong mark at full-back from Simpson denied the Royals and saw the hosts take a seven-point lead at quarter-time.

Coach Steven Armstrong praised the “great start”, though a goal to Dwayne Bolton in the third minute of the second term pulled the Royals to within one point.

A goal to Simpson resulted from a smother and handball from Cooper Nitschke, before the latter went from goal provider to scorer after a searching pass from Winmar and a 50m penalty.

The busy Davies then gave the Tigers three consecutive goals and a 14-point lead, with the Royals guilty of missing several gettable shots at goal.

However, late majors to Mitchell Dobson and Austin Watson gave the visitors a strong finish to the term and trimmed the Tigers’ lead to two points at half-time.

A second goal to Furmark gave the Royals three consecutive majors, a fast start to the second half and a five-point lead, before Simpson replied with his second after a squaring pass from Curren.

Nathan Arbon then made the Tigers pay for a turnover in defence, giving the Royals a five-point lead at the final change.

Armstrong implored the Tigers to win territory and relish the occasion, though a goal from Nathan Eaton gave the Royals a fast start to the final term and extended their lead to 11 points.

Second goals to Wilson and Nitschke restored the lead for the Tigers, before Furmark bobbed up with his third to reclaim it for the Royals.

Another outstanding finish from Wilson restored it for the Tigers, before the Royals kicked the last three goals of the game.

CLAREMONT 3.2 6.2 7.4 10.7 (67)

EAST PERTH 2.1 5.6 7.9 12.11 (83)


CLAREMONT: 3 B. Wilson, 2 E. Simpson, C. Nitschke, 1 M. Davies, N. Winmar, A. Waterman.

EAST PERTH: 4 B. Furmark, 2 C. England, 1 S. Wright, M. Dobson, N. Eaton, D. Bolton, N. Arbon, A. Watson.


CLAREMONT: J. Goddard, E. Simpson, T. Curren, R. Morgan, B. Wilson.

EAST PERTH: H. Stack, D. Bolton, B. Furmark, A. Redhead.

Elimination Final Preview Claremont vs. East Perth

Thursday, August 30, 2018 - 11:15 AM

By Daniel Scamozzi

Claremont host East Perth in the elimination final at Claremont Oval in week one of the 2018 TABtouch WAFL Finals Series on Sunday afternoon, with the Tigers aiming to continue their momentum and record their fourth consecutive win.

The Tigers secured fourth position on the ladder after wins against Perth, Peel Thunder and Swan Districts to finish the home-and-away season, and will be aiming to defeat the Royals for the third time in 2018.

Captain Ian Richardson will lead the team after his striking report in the win against Swans was dismissed, while co-vice-captain and champion midfielder Kane Mitchell will play his 100th game.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Reserves face East Perth in the qualifying final at Claremont Oval.

The club encourages the Tiger Army to attend both games and support the mighty Tigers.



Claremont Oval, Sunday, September 2, 2.40pm.

Reserves: 11.50am.


Channel 7 will be televising the game LIVE from 2.30pm, or you can tune in to SportFM (91.3) from 2.10pm or ABC Radio (720) for LIVE coverage. 


Played: 277.

Claremont: 122.

East Perth: 153.

Draws: 2.

Thank You, Graham

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 2:12 PM

Graham is an AFL Hall of Famer, Brownlow Medalist,  Claremont Premiership Captain, Player and Coach.  Mossy has pretty much achieved everything there is on the footy ground. When you meet the great man he is humble, quiet and polite. I have never heard him say a bad word against anyone.
The year was 1985, I was 17 when Graham gave me an opportunity to play against Carlton in a pre-season game. The game was memorable to me as I played on my boyhood hero Ken Hunter. I will be forever thankful to Mossy for believing in me and giving me my first league game.
Fast forward 30 years, I join the Claremont Board and Graham takes up the position of CEO. We are reacquainted and Graham has not changed a bit. Still competitive, focussed, organised.
On behalf of the Board, members, supporters, volunteers, sponsors, we thank you for your  hard work of transitioning the Club from the show grounds to our new facility. For keeping calm when all the stresses around you were mounting up. You had the ability to just get things done without making a big deal of any issues that arose.
The Club is extremely proud of the efforts that Graham has put into this magnificent club on and off the field. Graham is now stepping down as our CEO but I believe he still has plenty to offer in other areas and I look forward to Graham continuing to contribute on our special projects in the future.

Grant Povey

CEO Announcement 

Wednesday, August 29, 2018 - 2:11 PM

Dear Members and Supporters,
It was a great win last Saturday which enabled the Club to secure a home Elimination final against East Perth this Sunday, the first final at our new club rooms.
This result provides me with an opportunity to make an announcement regarding my future at the Club, an issue I have been discussing with the Board for several months.
I have decided to step down as CEO of the Claremont Football Club at the conclusion of the playing season but will continue to be involved in a part time advisory capacity to assist initially with the annual financial audit and Annual General Meeting, carry out an end of season sponsors review and assist in the future with a number of special projects which the Club is considering including a major renovation of the oval playing surface and an upgrade of the oval lighting.
I was invited to take on the role of CEO in late 2015 primarily to assist the Club with the building project and the Club’s transition into the new building. The transition is now complete and with the transfer of the Liquor licence and catering operations back to the Club combined with the Club’s improved on field performance and the appointment of Darren Harris as Senior Coach for a further two years the time is right for me to handover the reigns to a new CEO.
I am pleased to advise that the Board has appointed Darcy Coffey as the new CEO and Darcy will commence in that role from the 8th October. Darcy is in my opinion the best Football Operations Manager in the WAFL and with youth and exuberance on his side is keen to broaden  his career in the football industry in the role as CEO.
The Claremont Football Club is very fortunate to have Board members who possess a broad range of commercial skills together with a deep understanding of the culture of a WAFL football Club and they will be of great assistance to Darcy as he transitions into the role of CEO.
Grant Povey has demonstrated in his short time as President that he has both the passion and skill set to guide this Club through the many challenges that WAFL Clubs are facing. Our main challenge is to maximise the financial opportunities which our new facilities provide whilst at the same time re-engaging with our members and the Tiger community and to continue the improvement of our on field performance so that a Premiership becomes reality in the very near future.
I have had an amazing journey with the Claremont Football Club as a player, a coach and a CEO. The Club has been a part of my life for over five decades and it will continue to be part of my life hopefully for many decades to come.

Graham Moss
Chief Executive Officer

Mitchell’s Milestone

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - 1:16 PM

By Ken Casellas

Kane Mitchell is the consummate professional and an inspiring team player who will celebrate his 100TH senior match with Claremont when the Tigers do battle with East Perth in the WAFL elimination final at Claremont Oval on Sunday.

Much water has flowed beneath the bridge since his first involvement with the Tigers as a member of the club’s 14’s side in the Claremont district junior competition in 2004.

This is his first year back after a five-year absence --- as an AFL player with Port Adelaide for four years and then enjoying a well-deserved respite from football as he and his fiancée Rachel spent 2017 travelling around Canada and north and south America.

The competitive edge still burns brightly and the super-fit, skilful and hard-running midfielder has developed into an outstanding leader who has played a significant role in the league side recovering from a tardy start to the season to finish in fourth place on the premiership table to earn the right to play host to the Royals on Sunday.

“I can see no reason why we can’t beat East Perth and go all the way and win the premiership,” Mitchell said. “We beat East Perth by 32 points in round 12 at Leederville Oval and beat them again by 24 points in the swamp here at Claremont in round 16.

“Our win at Leederville Oval was one of our better games of the year. We were on from the get-go, our pressure was good, our forwards kicked goals and our backs were unbelievable.”

Mitchell said that slow starts and giving the opposition big leads in the past two weeks before fighting back and beating Peel Thunder by eight points and Swan Districts by five points was far from ideal.

“You don’t want to do that in a final,” he said. “Five goals in a final is more like eight goals because of the extra pressure. However, we showed plenty of character to push through and win those two matches, and that was rather nice. But we don’t want to do that on Sunday. We want a big start; we want to fight and hunt.

“Over the course of the year our second halves have been really good and if we start well in the finals it will set us up perfectly for the second halves. We’ve got a great balance, a few old heads and a lot of young guys and as long as we keep hunting, applying pressure and backing ourselves in the way we want to play, I can’t see why we can’t be successful.”

Typical of Mitchell’s play throughout his career has been his fierce determination and when asked how he developed such a strong work ethic he replied: “Being the youngest of four boys brought about a highly competitive nature. I always wanted to prove myself. It wasn’t to prove anyone wrong, per se, it was more to prove to myself that I could do things. And I was so lucky to have the mentors and the quality of players I had around me when I was young.

“I had so many to look up to. Ian Richardson, in particular, was someone I latched on to. Richo and I used to do extra sessions together, and then Tommy Lee joined in as well. People might think that at Claremont we are college kids. But we work as hard as anyone, if not harder.”

Mitchell, now a battle-hardened 28-year-old, has excelled in his comeback season with the Tigers and he continues to amaze football fans with his endurance and wholehearted tackling pressure.

He showed early promise and was the winner of the fairest-and-best award in the 14’s grade at Claremont before making his debut in the Tigers colts side as a 16-year-old in 2006.

He finished second in the fairest-and-best award in the reserves side in 2008 and was fifth the following year when he also chalked up eight league appearances.  He played in five losing grand final sides with the Tigers, with the colts in 2006 and 2007, the reserves in 2008, the league side in 2010 and in the Foxtel Cup in 2011 before enjoying league premiership triumphs in 2011 and 2012 as well as a Foxtel Cup victory in 2012.

The year 2012 was a breakout one for Mitchell, who won the club’s fairest-and-best award and the Sandover Medal with a record-equalling tally of 58 votes. And then he was drafted as a rookie by Port Adelaide, a club with which he made 35 AFL appearances, including only four in 2016 when he won the fairest-and-best award with the Port Adelaide Magpies in the SANFL competition and finished equal third in the Magarey Medal behind Sturt captain Zane Kirkwood.

“I enjoyed my time in Adelaide,” he said. “It was awesome to live the dream and be a professional footballer and play in the AFL. The friends I made remain the biggest memories.”

Mitchell said that before joining Port Adelaide he had learnt a lot at Claremont where his teammates included several with AFL experience, notably Andrew Browne, Luke Blackwell, Andrew Foster and Byron Schammer.

“It was a step up at Port Adelaide where I experienced how competitive their players were,” he said. “They never wanted to lose at anything. They were so diligent about everything and dotted every I and crossed every T.”

At times, Mitchell was employed as a tagger by Port Adelaide and he explained how he was prepared for his run-with roles by shadowing star players like Travis Boak, Robbie Gray and Kane Cornes at training. “It was just to see if I could run with them, stay with them and then work offensively off them,” he said.

Mitchell admitted he was saddened by Port’s decision to delist him at the end of 2016 after 35 AFL matches. “But you’ve got to be happy with what happened,” he said. ”You can’t really do much about selection. You have got to try to play as best as you possibly can. I would’ve loved to have played a hundred AFL games, but it wasn’t meant to be.

“In the end you’ve got to be at peace with it. If you don’t then you can become really resentful about the experience. I don’t want to be angry or upset. I’m more than happy with where my career has gone. How many people can actually say that they have played AFL, let alone 35 games?”

This year Mitchell is Claremont’s co-vice-captain with Ryan Lim and he says that he is loving the leadership role. “Richo is a fabulous captain and I’m just a bit of a sounding board for him,” he said.

“We have a rather large age gap, with a few of us older guys and a lot of 21 and 22-year-olds and some even younger. I’ve loved the way Jared Hardisty has gone about his football this year. He is as hard as they come and is super impressive. Limmy is a great leader and Haydn Busher, Tom Lee and Jess Laurie have a positive impact. Ollie Eastland has been a dominant ruckman. There are so many positives.

“There were times this season that you had doubts whether we were good enough. But we have stayed the course and are ready to show our best. Our coaching staff has been absolutely sensational the whole year, giving us a whack when we deserved it, but staying positive all the time.”