Reserves Semi Final: Tigers Reach Grand Final

Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 11:11 AM

By Dan Scamozzi 

Claremont’s Reserves roared into the Grand Final after thumping West Perth by 77 points in sublime conditions in the second semifinal at Revo Fitness Stadium.

The dominant Tigers proved far too good for the overwhelmed Falcons in the 17.11 (113) to 5.6 (36) demolition and are now just one win away from a premiership.

A positive mindset, fierce intent, application, ferocious pressure and tackling and repeat efforts were all hallmarks of the Tigers’ onslaught, which also featured scintillating ball movement and an even spread of contributors.

113 more disposals, 33 more marks, six more tackles, 13 more inside 50s and 17 more scoring shots reflected the Tigers’ dominance, but just as impressive was the team’s attack on the contest and unselfishness.

Powerful and straight-leading full-forward Corey Hitchcock (equal game-high eight marks) kicked a game-high seven goals as he tore West Perth’s defence to shreds, with the Tiger winning best player and the players’ player award for his best-afield performance, which resulted from brilliant supply from teammates further up the ground.

Defenders Lewis Davis and Jalen McGee (seven marks) were brilliant down back and helped repel the Falcons, while the tenacious Bailey Bennett (22 disposals, seven tackles, one goal) starred with his ferocious attack on the contest.

Imposing ruckman Jordon Reid (seven tackles, 33 hit-outs, seven inside 50s) gave the Tigers great service and drove them forward with his repeat efforts, while the smooth-moving Jake Stergiou (three goals) shone with his immaculate foot skills and finishing.

West Perth drew first blood when Alec Johnson kicked truly for the visitors, before a ferocious tackle from Alex Manuel earned the forward a free kick and was an early sign of the Tigers’ appetite for the contest.

A kick to the hot spot from Ben Edwards allowed Hitchcock to kick the Tigers’ first goal, before an intercept mark from midfielder Rylie Morgan (game-high 12 tackles) on the wing and a pinpoint pass from Stergiou set up Hitchcock for his second.

Back-pocket Tom Baldwin then put his body on the line at full-back to deny the Falcons, before a strong mark and kick inside 50m from Reid set up Hitchcock for his third major.

Outstanding repeat efforts from hardworking forward Isaac Barton then set up Stergiou for the Tigers’ fourth goal and a 23-point lead at quarter-time, with the hosts +10 in contested disposals and +9 in inside 50s.

Coach Brayden Duckworth praised the team for sharing the load and their unselfishness, before an errant kick from the Falcons across the ground resulted in Hitchcock kicking his fourth goal early in the second term.

The Falcons replied through a goal to Mitchell Antonio before terrific forward pressure allowed wingman Callan England (equal game-high eight marks) to kick the Tigers’ sixth major.

Ryan Murphy then kicked his first goal of the season after winning a holding-the-ball free kick, before B. Bennett was rewarded for his attack on the contest and kicked the Tigers’ eighth major.

Repeat efforts from Davis at half-back to keep the ball in front of him resulted in Stergiou kicking his second goal and extended the Tigers lead to 51 points at half-time, before R. Murphy cleverly gathered the ball and set up forward Kaiden Gilbert for his first major in the opening minute of the second half.

Midfielder Tom Curren (eight tackles) then snapped the Tigers’ 11th goal, before the Falcons kicked consecutive majors for the first time.

However, wingman Ben Rushforth then split the middle after being set up by Hitchcock as the Tigers took a 54-point lead at the final change.

With Duckworth imploring the team to win the next 28 minutes of football, the Tigers pounced in the final term through goals to Barton, Hitchcock (fifth) and Stergiou (third) to take a 72-point lead, before Hitchcock added his sixth major.

West Perth’s Tom Boyes grabbed a late consolation for the visitors before Baldwin hauled in a high-flying mark and, fittingly, Hitchcock had the final say of the game when he kicked his seventh goal to cap off an emphatic victory.

The Tigers now have another bye before they face either the Falcons or East Fremantle in the Grand Final at Optus Stadium.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Colts suffered a 34-point defeat against Peel Thunder, 8.15 (63) to 4.5 (29), and will face West Perth in the preliminary final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

CLAREMONT 4.5 9.9 12.9 17.11 (113)

WEST PERTH 1.0 2.0 4.3 5.6 (36)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 7 C. Hitchcock, 3 J. Stergiou, 1 T. Curren, R. Murphy, C. England, B. Bennett, K. Gilbert, B. Rushforth, I. Barton.

WEST PERTH: 1 M. Antonio, A. Johnson, T. Boyes, J. Burke, T. McKenzie.

BEST

CLAREMONT: C. Hitchcock, L. Davis, J. McGee, B. Bennett, J. Reid.

WEST PERTH: D. Blurton, L. Tedesco, T. McKenzie, T. Yukich.