Tigers Tamed by Royals
By Dan Scamozzi
Claremont’s Reserves face East Fremantle in the preliminary final after a second-half capitulation saw the Tigers suffer a 41-point defeat to East Perth in the second semifinal at HBF Arena last Sunday.
Despite leading by eight points at half-time, Claremont was smashed in the clearances, outworked, had no answers to East Perth’s spread and kept to one goal in the second half of their 6.9 (45) to 12.14 (86) defeat, and needs to regroup to keep their season alive.
Gerrick Weedon took home Claremont’s players’ player award for his grunt work which resulted in 19 disposals and eight inside 50s, while Tom Shanahan (22 disposals, one goal) ensured that East Perth’s Steven Payne had limited impact on the game after blanketing the dangerous Royal.
John Williams and Francis Watson marshalled Claremont’s defence, while Ben Higgs kicked two goals, Zac Langdon did a mountain of work to finish with 10 tackles, five inside 50s and one goal and Justin Speed (eight) and Matthew Palfrey (seven) combined for 15 tackles.
Claremont’s loss was compounded by Morgan Davies suffering a wrist injury in the opening term, which added to the absence of the experienced Ian Rowe (hamstring).
East Perth was led by Tom Omodei (33 disposals, 10 marks, six inside 50s, one goal), Tom Gorter (20 disposals, 10 marks), Daniel Perkins (23 disposals, one goal) and Shayne Hille (three goals), as the Royals booked their place in the grand final.
A massive mark by East Perth’s Asher Samelko lit up the early stages of the contest, before Julian Ameduri kicked the opening goal of the game.
Langdon replied for Claremont from the tightest of angles after being found by Alex Manuel, before Ben Musitano kicked the Tigers’ second after a great attack on the ball by Palfrey, contested mark by Higgs and some good work by Weedon.
Hille then grabbed the reply for East Perth, before a goal to Shanahan moments before the quarter-time siren resulted from some outstanding work by Higgs and gave Claremont a nine-point lead at the first change.
Claremont coach Kepler Bradley lauded the team for their great start and implored them to keep it going, however, the Tigers were a man down with the injury to Davies.
The opening half of the second term saw neither team able to gain the ascendancy, before East Perth ruckman Scott Jones made Claremont pay from a 50m penalty.
A desperate smother by Weedon reaffirmed Claremont’s appetite for the contest, however, Matthew Allen then gave East Perth consecutive goals and the lead, with the Tigers needing to regain their composure.
A goal to Higgs did just that after the forward was found by Palfrey, before a major to Jack Richardson and strong pack mark by Cameron Palmer resulted in an eight-point lead to Claremont at the long break.
Lewis Wilson gave East Perth a quick start to the second half, before Weedon briefly left the field.
Another 50m penalty allowed Jordan Snadden to kick East Perth’s sixth goal and give the Royals the lead, before Weedon returned to the field.
However, four more goals, including two more to Hille, saw East Perth take complete control of the game and a 31-point lead at the final change, courtesy of getting on top in midfield and keeping the Tigers scoreless for the term.
Bradley demanded Claremont go man-on-man all over the field, and when Higgs kicked his second goal to start the final term after being found by Matthew Ehlers, it gave the Tigers their first major since the 25-minute mark of the second term.
However, there would be no comeback by Claremont, as goals to Wilson (second) and Perkins capped off an eight-goal-to-one second-half blitz by East Perth.
The Tigers will look to get another crack at the Royals with victory over the Sharks at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday.
CLAREMONT 3.3 5.6 5.6 6.9 (45)
EAST PERTH 2.0 4.4 10.7 12.14 (86)
CLAREMONT: 2 B. HIGGS, 1 J. RICHARDSON, T. SHANAHAN, Z. LANGDON, B. MUSITANO.
EAST PERTH: 3 S. HILLE, 2 M. ALLEN, L. WILSON, 1 S. JONES, D. PERKINS, T. OMODEI, J. AMEDURI, J. SNADDEN.
CLAREMONT: G. WEEDON, T. SHANAHAN, Z. LANGDON, J. WILLIAMS, F. WATSON, B. HIGGS.
EAST PERTH: T. OMODEI, T. GORTER, D. PERKINS, T. HODGSON, S. HILLE, S. JONES.