Qualifying Final: Tigers Suffer Frustrating Defeat

Monday, September 2, 2019 - 9:36 AM

By Dan Scamozzi

Claremont suffered a frustrating seven-point defeat against South Fremantle in the qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in week one of the 2019 Optus WAFL Finals Series.

Despite recording three more scoring shots, the Tigers were let down by poor skill execution, turnovers and missed shots at goal, as the efficient and slick Bulldogs prevailed 11.5 (71) to 9.10 (64).

The defeat leaves the Tigers with plenty of room for improvement as they prepare to host West Coast in the first semifinal at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday.

Robust and dashing defender Bailey Rogers (21 disposals) shone with his superb reading of the play and attack on the ball as he repelled the Bulldogs and drove the Tigers forward, with the No.18 winning best player and the players’ player award.

The versatile Haydn Busher (game-high six marks, one goal), who started the game on a wing before moving into defence, gave the Tigers tremendous service and was instrumental in the third term, while ruckman Jeremy Goddard (equal team-high eight tackles, 33 hit-outs) won his duel with South’s Brock Higgins and impressed with his repeat efforts.

Meanwhile, midfielders Jye Bolton (29 disposals, equal team-high eight tackles) and Dec Mountford (equal team-high eight tackles, one goal) were solid contributors, while forwards Ian Richardson and Jack Bradshaw both kicked two goals.

Wingman Tom Ledger and forward Tyron Smallwood came into the team for Alec Waterman (hamstring) and Callan England, as the Tigers kicked to the northern end of the ground in the opening term.

The Tigers made a positive start to the game and drew first blood when Busher strongly marked and converted a high kick inside 50m from the recalled Ledger, before the Bulldogs replied with the next five goals to take a 21-point lead at quarter-time.

With the Tigers +4 in contested disposals but -4 in tackles and -7 in inside 50s, coach Darren Harris implored the team to improve the former, before Bradshaw gave the visitors a perfect start to the second term when he kicked truly in the opening minute after receiving a pass from co-captain Kane Mitchell.

However, the next two goals to the Bulldogs gave the hosts a 27-point lead at half-time after a disappointing first half from the Tigers.

With the Tigers needing a spark, the versatile Anton Hamp was sent to full-forward and T. Smallwood was moved to a wing for the second half, however, two more goals to the Bulldogs gave the hosts a game-high 39-point lead before the prominent and powerful Mountford finished with aplomb from 50m.

Matt Palfrey then gave the Tigers consecutive goals for the first time, before Brandon Donaldson replied for the Bulldogs.

A great kick to full-forward from Ledger was marked and converted by Hamp, who straightened up the Tigers and had three shots at goal in the third term but could only convert one, as the visitors closed to within 25 points at the final change after marginally winning the quarter.

A passionate Harris lauded the team for taking risks and using the corridor, and also praised Busher for his outstanding term, which included several marks, before urging them to give everything they have in the final quarter.

A second goal to Bradshaw trimmed the margin to 18 points before Josh Collard kicked his second for the Bulldogs.

Ledger then made the Bulldogs pay for a turnover in defence when he wobbled through the Tigers’ seventh goal, before consecutive majors from Richardson, including a trademark 50m bomb, trimmed the margin to just seven points at the 25-minute mark of the final term.

However, there would be no fairytale comeback from the Tigers, as repeat stoppages wasted time and the Bulldogs booked a date with Subiaco in the second semifinal at Leederville Oval.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Colts will face Peel Thunder in the second semifinal at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday after defeating an inaccurate West Perth by five points at Joondalup Arena, 7.4 (46) to 5.11 (41).

CLAREMONT 1.3 2.4 5.8 9.10 (64)

SOUTH FREMANTLE 5.0 7.1 10.3 11.5 (71)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 2 I. Richardson, J. Bradshaw, 1 D. Mountford, T. Ledger, H. Busher, M. Palfrey, A. Hamp.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: 2 K. Stewart, M. Shaw, J. Collard, 1 H. Schloithe, S. Bewick, B. Donaldson, D. Main, M. Ward.

BEST

CLAREMONT: B. Rogers, H. Busher, J. Goddard, J. Bolton, D. Mountford.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: D. Main, S. Verrier, S. Thompson, C. Pearson, B. Donaldson, B. Wilson