League Report: Wounded Tigers suffer first loss
By Dan Scamozzi
An injury-ravaged Claremont suffered their first loss of the season after a 65-point defeat to South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Good Friday.
Jye Bolton (knee), Zac Langdon (concussion), Bailey Rogers (knee) and Tom Shanahan (concussion) were all casualties, as the Tigers finished the match with no fit players on the interchange bench in the 6.10 (46) to 17.9 (111) defeat.
A goalless first term proved to be Claremont’s downfall, and despite working their way back into the match and trailing by 21 points at the 15-minute mark of the final term, the Bulldogs slammed on the final seven goals as injuries took their toll on the Tigers.
Inferior skills, inside 50m entries and a lack of composure, mainly due to Souths’ pressure, were constant dilemmas for the Tigers, with the inability to take chances in front of goal and convert strong passages of play into scoreboard pressure some of the differences between the teams.
Slow starts are also an area for improvement, with the team winning just one of their first quarters in the opening four games.
Captain Jake Murphy continued his strong start to the season with 26 disposals and one goal, with Bailey Banfield (21 disposals, eight tackles) also performing strongly in the midfield.
Keifer Yu was another solid performer with his sweeping efforts from half-back, alongside small defender Ryan Murphy, who continues to get better with every game he plays.
Mitch Andrews, playing his 100th game for the club, put in another commanding performance with his tap-work and marking around the ground a sight to behold.
Meanwhile, Jesse Laurie took home the players’ player award for the second time in four games after another outstanding performance in defence.
John Williams, a late replacement for Haydn Busher (quad), lined up for his first League game since round 10, 2016 and restricted Ben Saunders to two goals, with Shanahan replacing the injured Jack Richardson (hamstring).
Souths were led by Haiden Schloithe (28 disposals, six tackles, one goal), Blayne Wilson, Blaine Johnson (eight marks, two goals) and captain Ryan Cook (seven inside 50s, two goals), as the hosts recorded their third consecutive win on the back of slick ball movement and 12 goal kickers.
Goals to Saunders, Cook, Brandon Donaldson and Brendan Verrier gave Souths a 25-point lead at the first change after a dominant opening quarter in which the Tigers failed to come to grips with the pace of the game through constant fumbling, as well as a lack of communication and intensity.
Johnson then gave Souths five consecutive goals with the first of the second term, before a goal to Alex Manuel got Claremont on the board after some neat work from R. Murphy.
However, the sight of Bolton leaving the ground after injuring his left knee was a cruel blow for the Sandover medallist and the team, and meant the Tigers were one man short on the interchange.
Despite the setback, a captain’s goal to J. Murphy gave the Tigers two in a row and cut the margin to 20 points, before Andrews continued his impressive start to the game with a strong mark in defence.
A late goal to Ashton Hams saw Souths take a 20-point lead at half-time, as the Tigers failed to make the most of their forward entries, adding 2.6 for the term.
After dominating the opening five minutes of the third term but failing to capitalise on the scoreboard, the Tigers were made to pay when Mason Shaw extended Souths’ lead to 26 points before Saunders grabbed his second major.
A goal to Jack Bradshaw following a great run and handball from Matt Guelfi saw Claremont respond, before Aaron Holt made it consecutive goals after a brilliant pass by Lee to see the Tigers close to within 21 points.
The sight of Langdon leaving the field after copping a knock to the head was another blow for the Tigers, as Schloithe made the team pay for a sloppy turnover in defence and gave Souths a 28-point lead at the final change.
A passionate address by coach Darren Harris had the Tigers still believing as the final term got underway, and when Bradshaw grabbed his second and the team’s fifth major, the margin was again back to 21 points.
A 50m penalty saw Cook kick his second and Souths respond, before Guelfi kicked what would turn out to be Claremont’s sixth and final goal.
Goals to Steven Edwards and Johnson (second) either side of Shanahan being stretchered off the ground left the Tigers with a 34-point deficit and mountain to climb, before Rogers was then also stretchered off the ground after going down in almost the same spot as Shanahan.
With the team now left with no fit players on the interchange and a heavy heart, Souths piled on five more goals to run out comfortable winners and leave the Tigers counting the costs of their defeat.
The Tigers will now regroup and look to return to winning ways when they host Subiaco at East Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
CLAREMONT 0.1 2.7 4.9 6.10 (46)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.2 6.3 9.7 17.9 (111)
CLAREMONT: 2 J. Bradshaw, 1 M. Guelfi, A. Manuel, A. Holt, J. Murphy.
SOUTH FREMANTLE: 2 B. Johnson, C. Dell-Olio, S. Edwards, R. Cook, B. Saunders, 1 H. Schloithe, D. Main, A. Hams, Z. Strom, B. Donaldson, B. Verrier, M. Shaw.
CLAREMONT: J. Murphy, B. Banfield, K. Yu, M. Andrews, R. Murphy.
SOUTH FREMANTLE: H. Schloithe, B. Wilson, B. Johnson, D. Main, R. Cook.
Development Report - HERE