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Missing Mojo Provides Claremont with Black and White Challenge

Monday, May 6, 2024 - 11:53 AM

John Townsend


Things are starting to get desperate.

Four defeats in five matches, and the first home loss to Swan Districts in 11 years, suggests that the Tigers need to find their mojo quickly if they are going to play finals this season.

Second last on the ladder yet only a game and percentage from the top five, Claremont will continue to seek ways to improve their system and connection between players, lines and divisions.

The 17-point loss to Swans, a team that has caused considerable heartache to Claremont over the years, followed the pattern of the earlier defeats to West Perth and South Fremantle.

Those games saw Claremont’s opponent get off to a fast start before the contests evolved into tough low-scoring slogs with Tigers having late opportunities but faltering in the final minutes.

So it was again at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday.

Swans launched a blitzkrieg with three goals in the opening salvo, Claremont pegged them back effectively enough to have a lead late in the game only to be overrun in time-on before losing 9.9 (63) to 6.10 (46).

It was the third time this season that Claremont kicked just six goals with the lack of potency in attack probably providing coach Ashley Prescott with his biggest headache.

And Claremont’s major asset – the dynamic impact of ruckman Ollie Eastland – was used against the Tigers in galling fashion.

Claremont, mostly through Eastland, won 49 of the 70 ruck contests held across the match.

But the Tigers only won the clearances 33-32 with Swans kicking five goals directly from their stoppage work while Claremont managed just the solitary major.

The result was the first loss at home to Swans since 2013, an 11-game streak that included matches at the neighbouring Showground while Claremont Oval was redeveloped.

The run and link-up option provided by Callan England has been one of Claremont’s strong points this season.

England maintained his form as one of the main conduits from defence to attack.

He had 31 disposals, 12 of them won in contests and another 12 handball receives to underline his running prowess while the range of his activities was underlined by producing team-high returns of seven inside 50 entries and six defensive 50 exits.

Jye Bolton may be out of favour with the State selectors but he continued to do what he does best for the Tigers by winning the ball 28 times and operating at 89% efficiency with his disposals.

Lachy Martinis was unable to mark his 100th appearance with a team celebration but continued to offer an option with 20 disposals while Bailey Rogers and Sam Alvarez, with 19 disposals each, were resolute contributors.

A host of experienced players including Ronin O’Connor, Anthony Treacy, Zane Sumich and Ben Elliott, are biding their time in the reserves while key defender Jack Maibaum will be better for the run after his first league match of the season.

Claremont take on Perth on Saturday with the loser likely to find it almost impossible to qualify for the finals.

It is theoretically difficult to separate the teams given that both have the remarkable record of identical for (311 points) and against (400) scores after five matches.

In reality, Claremont have sufficient capacity to take care of the undermanned Demons. They just need to find their mojo.


CLAREMONT 3.5 4.7 5.8 6.10 46

SWAN DISTRICTS 3.0 4.5 5.8 9.9 63

GOALS - CLAREMONT: Jackman, Waterman 2; Manuel, Rogers.

SWAN DISTRICTS: Kohlmann 4; Glass-McCasker 2; Chipper, Clarke, Chalcraft.

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

SWAN DISTRICTS: Rokahr, Kohlmann, Cipro, Turner, Clarke.