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West Love Is On The Move

Friday, March 22, 2024 - 10:32 AM

By Ken Casellas

Burly ruckman-forward West Love took another significant step forward and enhanced his prospects of making his league debut for Claremont against West Perth at Joondalup next Thursday night with a spirited performance for the Tigers in the practice match against South Fremantle at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday.

The 21-year-old Love followed his impressive form in the reserves scratch match against Perth the previous Saturday with two goals and strong work in the ruck duels against South’s pair of Josh Branchi and Luke Polson.

He lined up at full-forward and was in the action in the opening minute when he took a strong contested mark and kicked a goal after handpasses from Joel Western and Anthony Treacy and a long kick forward from Ollie Eastland.

Love is certainly pressing his claims for a spot in the league side as a key forward and No. 2 ruckman in the absence of Kieran Gowdie, who is recovering from an ankle injury he received in the reserves scratch match against Perth.

The Tigers had another solid workout in the league scratch match against the Bulldogs and will travel to Joondalup on Thursday with considerable confidence.

The Tigers have beaten West Perth at Joondalup in round one fixtures in the past two seasons, winning by four points in 2022 and by 14 points last year. Claremont’s only loss in a round one fixture in the past eight years was on March 31, 2018, when West Perth won by 18 points at Joondalup, with Claremont’s only survivors from that match being Jye Bolton, Bailey Rogers, Lachie Martinis, Ollie Eastland, Alex Manuel and Corey Mitchell.

Rogers warmed up for next week’s opening match with an excellent performance against Souths on Saturday when he took three marks, had 15 kicks, four handpasses and three tackles.

Captain Declan Mountford also was in good form in the centre and on a wing for a period, finishing with four marks, 13 kicks, five handpasses and four tackles.

It was wonderful to see speedy midfielder Joel Western back in action with 18 disposals and a couple of tackles, while wingmen Sam Alvarez and Anthony Treacy, each with 15 disposals, were frequently under notice with their skilful play.

Callan England also enjoyed his work as a midfielder, finishing with five marks, 11 kicks, six handpasses and five tackles (a total exceeded only by Ben Elliott’s tally of six tackles).

Outstanding in defence was Dec Hardisty, with his tight checking and cool efficiency. Only two of his eight kicks did not go directly to a teammate who gained possession.

Zac Mainwaring maintained his excellent pre-season form with three goals in the second half. South Fremantle scored three goals in the first five minutes of the third quarter to lead 8.4 to 3.5 before Mainwaring took a mark and scored a goal and then took the advantage free-kick after Ollie Eastland was dealt with unfairly and booted his second major.


South Fremantle 12.6 (78) beat Claremont 9.12 (66).

Scorers---SOUTH FREMANTLE: L. Polson 4.1; N. Strom 2.0; P. McCarthy 1.2; I. Winder 1.1; C. Datsun, A. Ferreira, J. Florenca, H. Schloithe 1.0; G. Byron, D. Main 0.1. CLAREMONT: Z. Mainwaring 3.2; W. Love 2.0; C. England 1.2; O. Estland, A. Manuel 1.1; J. Western 1.0; T. Delacey, B. Elliott, R. O’Connor, B. Rogers, O. Sheldrick 0.1; 1pt forced.

Best---SOUTH FREMANTLE: M. Parker, L. Polson, C. Pearson, H. Schloithe, T. Blechynden, J. Branchi, J. Florenca, N. Strom, T. McQuilkin, A. Ferreira. CLAREMONT: D. Mountford, J. Western, C. England, D. Hardisty, B. Rogers, Z. Mainwaring, S. Alvarez, O. Eastland, B. Elliott, A. Treacy.