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Winning feeling returns to Tigerland

Thursday, May 16, 2024 - 11:35 AM

By John Townsend

 

Sometimes you just have to win.

After four losses in the first five rounds of the season, two of them desperate defeats by a combined total of three points, Claremont needed a victory to both validate the work done over the past few months and to stay in touch with the top five teams.

Both things were achieved against Perth on Saturday when the 57-point win, 15.13 (103) to 6.10 (46), gained a couple of places on the ladder, recovered 15 points of lost percentage and, most importantly, reinforced the way forward.

And there were excellent signs in the imposing six-goal last quarter and the ability to keep the Demons goalless during a 75-minute stretch from midway through the second term to the last minute of the match.

Claremont certainly like playing at Mineral Resources Park.

The Tigers have won 22 of their 26 visits to the ground this century, including a 13-game winning streak over a decade, and have often used matches there to build momentum.

Stung by the team’s need to lift after a disappointing opening month or so, a group of senior players responded with their best displays of the season while the return of skilful midfielder Ben Elliott after a mandatory three-week concussion lay-off and the break-out performance of prime recruit Martin Frederick were two of the most pleasing features of the win.

In an indication that coach Ashley Prescott and his match committee were losing patience with a group of senior players, Frederick, spearhead Alex Manuel and 100-gamer and WA defender Lachy Martinis were named in the 35-man reserves squad released to the Football Budget.

But faith was shown in each of those players and their response was as pleasing as it was effective.

Frederick has been building steadily in his first five games after shifting from the SANFL but changed gears on Saturday to underline his value with a vital contribution.

Using his pace to break lines from half-back, Frederick found the ball 26 times, rebounded from defensive 50 with a third of them and operated above 80% efficiency when he looked for a target. And he lifted his team-mates by opening the scoring five minutes into the game.

Elliott also had a profound say around the ball and was able to take advantage of Ollie Eastland’s impact in the ruck by producing game-high returns of eight clearances and six tackles amid his 26 disposals.

With Bailey Rogers stamping his considerable authority on the match, Anthony Davis proving an impassable figure in defence and Keiran Gowdie offering a strong target in attack, Claremont had winners on every line.

Jack Maibaum’s presence in defence relieved some of the pressure on Declan Hardisty while Davis took u

The success in the middle provided substantial scoring opportunities.

Manuel was a threat all day at the ground where he has a 7-0 winning record and filled two of his four five-goal hauls.

He kicked a goal in each term while Gowdie converted three of his chances and Zac Mainwaring bobbed up consistently with a brace at important times.

They were all involved while the game was an arm wrestle in the first quarter and a half and then imposed themselves when Claremont made their move from time-on in the second.

Claremont have never played consecutive matches at Lathlain but will do so after this week’s State match when they return to take on West Coast. And the need to win hasn’t changed.

 

CLAREMONT 3.1 7.4 9.9 15.13 103

PERTH 3.4 5.4 5.9 6.10 46

 

GOALS

CLAREMONT: Manuel 4; Gowdie 3; Mainwaring 2; Rogers, England, Davis, Frederick, Sheldrick, Jackman.

PERTH: Cachard, Quartermaine 2; Johnston, Philip.

 

BEST

CLAREMONT: Frederick, Rogers, Davis, Elliott, Manuel, Eastland, England.

PERTH: Thompson, Cooley, Clarke, Manzone.