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Rising Tigers benefit from continuity and desperation

Monday, June 10, 2024 - 10:51 AM

John Townsend

Claremont have beaten the WAFL’s ladder leader for the second week in a row to underline their credentials as a genuine final contender.

The Tigers survived a gruelling East Perth challenge to survive by nine points in tough and heavy conditions at Leederville Oval on Sunday.

The 9.5 (59) to 6.14 (50) result improved their ladder position to sixth at the halfway point of the season – and just 10 percentage points from the top five – but more importantly reaffirmed the reward generated the previous week when their intensity overcame Peel.

The intensity was still there but it was allied with sheer grind, unconditional commitment and several moments of individual brilliance.

One of them came with two minutes to go when veteran centreman Jye Bolton, the oldest player on the ground, sprinted 100m to chase a loose ball fired from behind the middle, shovelled it to Tyron Smallwood who sealed the result with his goal-square conversion.

The desperate handball was Bolton’s 36th disposal on a day that his deep kicking, which often travelled 70 metres or more on the strong breeze and greasy surface, was one of Claremont’s major points of difference.

The others were the vital contribution made by key defenders Jack Maibaum and Anthony Davis, ruckman Ollie Eastland’s ability to blanket Scott Jones and the efficiency of forward Alec Waterman whose three goals came at critical moments and included two cool set shots to slow East Perth momentum.

Captain Declan Mountford, who returned after a frustrating two-month absence with a hamstring injury, said the quality displayed in the past two weeks was the standard Claremont should be expected to produce for the rest of the season.

And he identified the quality of those victories on players gaining continuity after nine matches together.

“We saw the combination of a couple weeks of hard work today,” he said.

“It’s a younger side and some of our young guys coming in have been impressive but it takes a while to get used to how we play.

“When the same team plays together you just develop that natural chemistry over time.

“It’s continual improvement which is what the coaching staff have been seeking and we have been working hard on.”

Mountford, who spent much of the match as a forward, said the endeavour demonstrated by the team’s 85 tackles, including 27 in the last term when Claremont had just 51 disposals but outscored the charging home team, was an unconditional feature.

“Effort in our team is non-negotiable,” he said.

“If you don’t have it, you’re not going to be playing.

“Once you come in and put on the guernsey, you give everything you have.”

Zac Mainwaring and his fellow small forwards epitomised that approach.

Mainwaring laid nine tackles while Talon Delacey had six and converted a spectacular mark 50m from goal to regain the lead early in the last term.

Callan England opened the scoring with a deep snap in the opening minute and used his pace to scythe through the East Perth midfield.

Alex Manuel had two goals in the opening 35 minutes but left the game to protect a tight hamstring while Waterman’s best display since rejoining the club this season rewarded the effort down the field.

The miserly Maibaum and Davis, whose 22 disposals were mostly long kicks, gave the East Perth forwards little room to move and underlined the continuity Mountford said had come with time spent together.


CLAREMONT 3.2 5.3 6.4 9.5 59

EAST PERTH 1.4 2.7 4.11 6.14 50

GOALS – CLAREMONT: Waterman 3; Manuel 2; England, Delacey, Elliott, Smallwood.

EAST PERTH: Crowden 2; Medhat, Tedesco, Raykos, Jones.

BEST – CLAREMONT: Bolton, Davis, Maibaum, England, Waterman, Eastland, Mainwaring.

EAST PERTH: Crowden, Randall, Raykos, Brayshaw, Macreadie.