Round 2 Reserves: Nitschke Denies Falcons

Monday, April 15, 2019 - 11:25 AM

By Dan Scamozzi

Claremont’s Reserves recorded another thrilling win after kicking a goal in the 27thminute of the final term for the second week running, with the Tigers defeating West Perth by three points in fine conditions at Joondalup Arena in round two.

The silky and skilful Cooper Nitschke bobbed up in the Tigers’ hour of need, miraculously kicking the ball off the ground from 25m and through the big sticks at the southern end of the ground to give the team a scrappy and patchy win, 8.11 (59) to 7.14 (56).

The performance was far from what the Tigers are capable of on their best day, but good teams find a way to win through competing and never giving in, and that’s exactly what served them well on this occasion.

Midfielder Tom Ledger (six inside 50s) epitomised both traits as he put in a gutsy performance that left him visibly exhausted, with the No.14 recording a game-high 29 disposals and being named Claremont’s best player and winning the players’ player award.

The speedy Isaac Barton (16 disposals, three tackles) made a fine debut, highlighted by an inspirational chase and tackle in the third term that earned the Tiger a free kick, while captain Jesse Laurie (four marks, four tackles) repelled the Falcons and hauled in brilliant marks on the last line of defence.

Ruckman Jordon Reid (seven tackles, 19 hit-outs) continues to endear himself to his teammates with his appetite for the contest and physicality, while the recalled Nick Winmar (four tackles) recorded a game-high eight inside 50s and kicked two long goals in the second term.

Winmar and debutants Max Grant and Barton came into the team for Alec Waterman and Jack Beeck (both League) and Isaac Wallace (foot), as the Tigers kicked to the northern end in the opening term and kicked the game’s first goal through centre half-forward Kaiden Gilbert.

The Falcons soon replied through Brayden Antonio before a searing run through midfield from Jake Stergiou and a nifty turn and pass from Nitschke set Corey Mitchell up for the Tigers’ second major.

However, two late goals from the Falcons gave the hosts an 11-point lead at quarter-time.

Acting coach Steven Armstrong, deputising for the absent Brayden Duckworth, implored the Tigers to tighten up structurally, with the team -6 in contested disposals and -15 in handball receives.

Winmar then bounced through a goal from 60m halfway through the second term after a scrappy period of play in which neither team was able to gain any ascendancy, before Gilbert kicked his second to reclaim the lead for the Tigers.

Antonio replied for the Falcons with his second, before Winmar converted after wingman Josh Bennett delivered a fine pass from a 50m penalty.

The result was a three-point lead to the Tigers at half-time before consecutive goals gave the Falcons a 10-point lead early in the third term.

Impressive midfielder Jake Anderson replied for the Tigers after a blistering clearance from Anthony Treacy, before Laurie hauled in two crucial marks in defence and Barton laid his inspirational tackle.

Full-forward Eddie Simpson then gave the Tigers a six-point lead at the final change after some fine work from Winmar, with Armstrong imploring the team to win territory and kick the ball long to Simpson.

Antonio had other ideas as he kicked his third to reclaim the lead for the Falcons in the final term, with the Tigers unable to clear the ball from defence and lacking composure as they attempted to switch the play.

With the Falcons ahead by three points and time slipping away, a foray forward saw the ball slip out the back to Nitschke, who instinctively and cleverly delivered for the Tigers.

The Tigers will aim for three consecutive wins when they face East Perth at Leederville Oval in round three.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Colts are searching for their first win after they suffered a 15-point loss against West Perth, 8.7 (55) to 5.10 (40).

CLAREMONT2.0 5.5 7.10 8.11 (59)

WEST PERTH 3.5 4.8 6.10 7.14 (56)

GOALS

CLAREMONT:2 N. Winmar, K. Gilbert, 1 E. Simpson, C. Mitchell, J. Anderson, C. Nitschke.

WEST PERTH: 3 B. Antonio, 2 C. Lynch, 1 M. Antonio, J. Mills.

BEST

CLAREMONT:T. Ledger, I. Barton, J. Laurie, J. Reid, N. Winmar.

WEST PERTH: D. Munns, M. Ashfield, Z. Guadagnin, C. Lynch, B. Antonio.