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Rogers Goes Back as Claremont Go Forward

Monday, April 22, 2024 - 9:17 AM

by John Townsend


Bailey Rogers has had three distinct phases during a 10-year career that has made him a modern-day WAFL great.

There was the sweeping defender of his early seasons at Claremont, the back pocket who would regularly run up the ground to set up attacks.

Then he was given extra responsibility as a primary midfielder, a challenge he accepted with such relish that he won the 2021 Sandover Medal and became a State regular.

Finally, and by combining his ability as a strong aerial target and excellent finisher from long range, he added forward line impact to his CV.

Rogers revealed another strength during Claremont’s breakthrough win over Subiaco on Saturday.

The Tigers had responded to their 0-3 start with a powerful and desperate three-quarter display against their great rivals at Revo Fitness Stadium.

But Subiaco charged hard at the start of the last term and soon halved the 38-point margin at the final break on the back of big forward Jack Mayo’s efforts.

Enter Rogers. Sent back to the last line of defence, Rogers produced one of the great quarters of his 140-game career to ensure Claremont defied the Lions and set up the 21-point win, 11.12 (78) to 8.9 (57).

His stats tell a significant part of the tale.

Rogers won the ball 12 times in the last term, five of them in contests and another four as direct intercept marks, he rebounded the defensive 50 five times and got the ball inside Claremont’s 50 twice.

Claremont’s defensive unit held up well with Decland Hardisty and Anthony Davis standing tall in the final 30 minutes but the margin may have been significantly smaller, and the result different without Rogers’ contribution.

Claremont’s senior players continue to lead the way for the young team.

Star centreman Jye Bolton underlined the defensive aspects of his game seemingly ignored by the state selectors by laying seven tackles – his highest number in five seasons – to complement

26 disposals that countered the impact of Subiaco’s strong midfield brigade.

But the best story remains the rise of ruckman Ollie Eastland who is in career-best form and could join his two main midfielders by adding a Sandover Medal to his record.

It is more than 20 years since Claremont product Ryan Turnbull was the last ruckman to win the medal but Eastland’s influential tap work, prolific ball-winning and physical presence make him a genuine candidate to join the list.

And he added two goals to arrest Subiaco’s momentum at critical times in the low-scoring match.

The first stretched the lead to 13 points in the second term as Claremont overcame another slow start while the second, from long distance after a powerful pack mark, was one of the most important of his career as it sucked the air from Subiaco’s late charge.

Eastland finished with the remarkable return of 44 hit outs, 22 disposals, a game-high nine tackles and the two crucial strikes.

Forwards Alec Waterman and Alex Manuel are building into the season and each landed three goals to be important contributors, Callan England maintained his bright start with 23 touches and the cohort of youngsters introduced this season popped up at times to help spread the load.

Zac Mainwaring departed early after a heavy clash but the return of his joint leading goalkicker in Talon Delacey, and Tyron Smallwood’s handy effort in the reserves, indicates that other options exist.

Given that big men Zane Sumich and Jack Maibaum are biding their time in the reserves, and Ronin O’Connor and Anthony Treacy are building at the lower level, the dark start to the season appears to be giving way to brighter days.


CLAREMONT 2.5 6.10 10.12 11.12 78

SUBIACO 2.1 4.2 5.4 8.9 57

GOALS - CLAREMONT: Manuel, Waterman 3; Eastland, Gowdie 2; Musika.

SUBIACO: Borchet, Mayo 2; Corbett, Franceschini, Morgan, Robbins.

BEST - CLAREMONT: Eastland, Rogers, Bolton, England, Waterman, Manuel, Davis.

SUBIACO: L Hickmott, Clark, Foley, Mayo, Savigni.