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Humble Tigers Have Appetite For Victory

Tuesday, June 4, 2024 - 9:13 AM

By John Townsend

Claremont’s ability to play with humility after a week of soul-searching has been identified as the key to their season-defining win over ladder leaders Peel.

The Tigers produced one of the best and most intense performances in coach Ash Prescott’s eight-year tenure to account for the potent Thunder by 29 points on Saturday.

Peel were kept to just two goals and were 50 points behind late in the last quarter at Revo Fitness Stadium in one of the most complete shutdown jobs in the club’s recent history.

It was a dramatic contrast to the previous week when Claremont succumbed to wooden-spooners West Coast only for the galling loss to ignite a groundswell of determination.

That was manifested in midfielder Callan England producing one of his most incisive displays in a league career approaching 100 games, defender Anthony Davis restricting Peel’s leading scorer Nathan Wilson to just two handballs, first-year player Josh Howard keeping Fremantle-listed forward Jack Delean to one kick and Kieran Gowdie emerging as a magnetic aerial target deep in attack.

“It is all about attitude,” Prescott said after the 10.12 (72) to 5.13 (43) result ensured that only percentage was keeping Claremont from the top five.

“They had a week of strong soul-searching and it meant we played with a lot more humility.

“I reckon we can be a little bit arrogant at times but what we did was play a really humble brand of footy.

“We narrowed things down, we had a narrow focus, and the boys listened this week, they stuck to the process, and they stayed really hungry.”

Three unanswered goals in the opening 10 minutes spoke of Claremont’s hunger but no one would have expected such an appetite for the contest that 11 players laid tackles in the same period.

The approach reflected Prescott’s plan to break each term into 6½ minute segments in which his players could concentrate on each period.

“It was about staying in the moment because I think this group has shown, unfortunately, that our first quarters can be shambolic,” he said.

“That’s through a lack of respect for the opposition at times and a lack of respect to the game. “Sometimes we freewheel too much so we had to change that dramatically.

“The thinking was to break the quarters down into small bite-sized chunks, and just remind ourselves to not get ahead of ourselves.

“The plan was to stick to the process and stick to our game plan because when we do this, we’re as good as anyone.”

The victory was built, as it has been for the past two seasons, on Ollie Eastland getting on top in the ruck where he shaded Peel’s giant Laim Reidy, and that aerial dominance being exploited by the strong midfield group.

England opened the scoring and won the ball 29 times, Bailey Rogers kicked an important goal, laid eight tackles and had 26 touches and Jye Bolton, after what appears to be a permanent move back into the centre after a period in defence, won the ball 29 times and kicked a superb goal from long range at an important stage in the third term.

The control in the midfield helped restrict Peel to just 30 forward 50 entries, many of them under considerable pressure, and assisted Claremont’s defensive unit blanket their opponents.

Davis, Dec Hardisty and Jack Maibaum produced 20 spoils between them to nullify Peel in the air while Hardisty kept Corey Tregenza scoreless and Maibaum had an intriguing battle with recent Fremantle debutant Pat Voss who kicked two goals but struggled to escape his opponent’s close attention.

“They defended with a lot more honesty and right on the body the way we wanted them to,” Prescott said.

“There was a bit of dirty ball coming in, too, which makes their job easier.

“Every team-mate and every line relies on each other, which is the process and the system we play. “Our backs took ownership for their opponents, and they beat their opponents, which makes things pretty simple.”


CLAREMONT 3.4 5.6 9.10 10.12 72

PEEL 1.5 2.7 2.9 5.13 43

GOALS – CLAREMONT: Gowdie 3; Musika 2; Rogers, Bolton, England, Mainwaring, Sheldrick.

PEEL: Voss 2; Wemm, Emmett, Wyburd.

BEST – CLAREMONT: England, Davis, Gowdie, Bolton, Howard, Eastland, Elliott, Hardisty, Rogers.

PEEL: Brodie, Erasmus, Worner, Hancock, Sellwood.