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Gilbey Resumes in Fine Style

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 - 10:58 AM

By Ken Casellas

Claremont survived a spirited challenge from Swan Districts before coming from behind in the final few minutes to snatch a four-point victory in the reserves match at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday when the most heartening feature of the win was the wonderful return to action of the richly talented teenager Sam Gilbey.

Gilbey, who celebrates his 20th birthday next Tuesday, excited Tigers supporters with an enthralling exhibition of his sublime skills.

He shone on a half-back flank for the first three quarters before being switched to a wing for the final quarter when the Tigers were seriously undermanned, with Ronin O’Connor (pectoral muscle strain), Zane Sumich (hamstring injury), Ben Clarke (serious knee injury) and Lawrence Evans (strained ankle) all hors de combat.

The left-footed Gilbey, an athletic running defender who reads the play skilfully and delivers the ball with great precision, has emerged fit and healthy after a particularly frustrating couple of years during which he received a fractured lower left leg twice.

He now plays with an 18cm steel rod in his leg. This was inserted when he underwent surgery in the lower shin area after he damaged the leg when he fell awkwardly after leaping for a mark in a colts match against Perth in August 2022.

Gilbey recovered in time to play one colts match and nine with the reserves last year. But his left leg was fractured for the second time during a training session following the round 18 reserves match against Peel Thunder.

“I went to tackle Tyron Smallwood and his knee crashed into my shin,” explained Gilbey. “The fracture was in the same area but a little lower.”

Gilbey has impressed with his professionalism, his diligence and his cheerful countenance during his two lengthy periods of rehabilitation.

“I don’t even notice that the rod is still in my leg,” he said. “It doesn’t cause me any problems at all, and it gives me confidence. During my rehab I have enjoyed coming to the club when I’ve been able to have a chat, and this has helped to take my mind off the injury.”

Gilbey, who works a couple of days a week at his uncle’s conveyancing business, is in his final year at UWA studying for a commerce degree.

Barring any further injury problems, he should soon be able to progress into the league side.

The Tigers had only one fit player on the bench in the last quarter of Saturday’s match, and a much-needed goal to Gilbey from 40m out after he had received a 50m penalty got the Tigers to a few points behind Swan Districts.

Then goals to Kai Dehavilland and Dylan Mulligan in the closing minutes of the match gave Claremont a ten-point lead which was reduced to four points after Kristian Caporn booted his fourth goal for Swans to reduce the margin just before the final siren sounded.

The victory has left Claremont on top of the reserves premiership table as the only unbeaten club.

One of the highlights of Saturday’s match was the return of powerful midfielder Ben Elliott after he was forced out of action for three weeks following a concussion.

Elliott was a driving force throughout the match, finishing with five marks, 22 kicks, 15 handpasses, eight tackles and five inside 50s. The Tigers will welcome him back to the league side against Perth at Lathlain Park next Saturday.

Claremont began the match in flying fashion with goals to Clarke, Mitch Barron and Felix Rogers in the space of 12 minutes in the opening term while holding the opposition scoreless. Remarkably Swans scored the next five goals to go into the half-time break with a five-point lead, 5.2 to 3.9.

Swans led by 18 points at three-quarter time before coach Darren Harper’s charges rose to the occasion with a splendid final-quarter effort with four injured players on the bench.

Apart from Elliott, Gilbey, Dehavilland and Barron Claremont received great service from Ashton Bryant, Rogers, Max Rohr and Menno Inverarity.

Gilbey finished with eight marks, 13 kicks, six handpasses, three tackles and three inside 50s; midfielder Dehavilland took five marks, had 15 kicks, five handpasses, six tackles and a superb tally of nine deliveries inside the side’s 50m attacking zone; Barron took two marks, had ten kicks (including two goals), five handpasses and five tackles. Bryant’s figures were also impressive: five marks, 11 kicks, 14 handpasses and seven tackles.


Claremont 9.14 (68) beat Swan Districts 10.4 (64).

Scorers---CLAREMONT: M. Barron, K. Dehavilland 2.1; F. Rogers 1.2; D. Mulligan 1.1; B. Clarke, B. Elliott, S. Gilbey 1.0; Z. Sumich 0.2; K. Kantilla, M. Rohr, S. van Rooyen 0.1. SWAN DISTRICTS: K. Caporn 4.0; H. Alforque, E. Bolton, E. Smith, L. Zolnier-Owens 1.1; T. Bayok, E. Kane 1.0.

Best---CLAREMONT: B. Elliott, K. Dehavilland, S. Gilbey, M. Barron, A. Bryant, F. Rogers, M. Rohr, M. Inverarity. SWAN DISTRICTS: B. Fitzgerald, A. Cartwright, E. Smith, K. Caporn, L. Kelly, T. Bayok, B. Hilton, W. Collins.