Select grade below

Near Enough Not Good Enough for Frustrated Tigers

Monday, May 27, 2024 - 9:24 AM

by John Townsend


Claremont’s frustrating season of near wins and lost opportunities has continued.

Tardy starts and sloppy finishes have told the tale of a galling year in which the Tigers have been in all but one match yet got over the line in only two of them.

And so it was again against West Coast in the early morning match at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday.

Down by 38 points just before half-time, the Tigers fought back valiantly to trail by just four points approaching time-on in the last term.

But they couldn’t maintain their surge in the dying moments and gave up the last three goals of the match to succumb by 21 points, 13.10 (88) to 9.13 (67).

The loss continued a streak that included tight losses to West Perth (two points), South Fremantle (one), Swan Districts (17) and now the Eagles.

The Tigers were within striking distance towards the end of each of those contests but were unable to find the formula required to secure victory.

The remarkably even season means that Claremont are only one game and minimal percentage from the top five but face substantial challenges in the next two weeks with clashes against top two teams Peel and East Perth.

Winning both those matches would set up a strong case for Claremont to qualify for finals; losses in both would make it exceptionally difficult to be part of September action.

There was little sign of the decline to come on Saturday when Alec Waterman and Bailey Rogers struck early blows to give Claremont a slender lead.

Claremont coach Ashley Prescott has been searching for ways for his team to generate 50 inside 50s a match and kick at least 100 points.

It happened in their recent win over Perth but in no other match this season.

Ruckman Ollie Eastland maintained his standing as the league’s pre-eminent big man with a strong start against the returning Matt Flynn who knocked out team-mate Luke Edwards at the first ball-up and was eventually worn down by the State big man.

But West Coast soon found their range and kicked the next eight goals to appear to have the game in their keeping at half-time.

Enter the two compass points in Joel Western and Eastland.

The former found the ball 11 times in the third term as Claremont produced their most vibrant quarter of the season while the latter, with five contested possessions and 15 hit-outs, ensured there were sufficient scoring opportunities.

Five unanswered goals was the result as the ball was camped at Claremont’s scoring end, with Waterman landing another couple of majors and fellow forwards Alex Manuel and Talon Delacey taking their chances.

But it didn’t last.

The Eagles held on for much of the last term and while Claremont sought opportunities to go forward, they were unable to do better than halve the eight-point deficit at the last break.

Ben Elliott (14 of his 25 touches in contests) was a highly effective midfielders, Jye Bolton (27 disposals) and Callan England (26) maintained the levels of excellence they have displayed all season and Martin Frederick (22) continued to improve as a player of influence and impact.

It was not enough. The effort required to erase the margin proved too much of a burden and West Coast came home strongly to record their second win over the Tigers.


CLAREMONT 2.3 2.8 7.10 9.13 67

WEST COAST 6.1 9.2 9.6 13.10 88

GOALS – CLAREMONT: Waterman 3; Rogers, Bolton, Elliott, Manuel, Delacey, Davis.

WEST COAST: Lucassen 3; Rawlinson, Ruscoe Sambo 2; Reid, Brockman, Burgiel, Culley.

BEST – CLAREMONT: Eastland, Elliott, England, Bolton, Frederick, Waterman.

WEST COAST: Trew, Gaff, Lucassen, Brockman, H Edwards, Culley.