Inaccurate Tigers Fall Short Of Bulldogs

Monday, September 16, 2019 - 9:05 AM

By Dan Scamozzi

Claremont’s season came to a frustrating and disappointing end in the preliminary final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday afternoon, with the wasteful Tigers suffering a 30-point defeat against a sharper and fitter South Fremantle.

In a low-scoring scrap, the Tigers went goalless in the first term and scoreless in the third term as the Bulldogs prevailed 9.9 (63) to 4.9 (33) to set up a Grand Final meeting with Subiaco.

The defeat will sting the Tigers, who were again let down by poor skill execution, inefficiency going forward and wayward kicking for goal.

The dashing Harrison McCracken (game-high eight marks), who provided the Tigers with tremendous rebound in the first half before being moved forward, won best player for his terrific and energetic performance.

Tenacious defender Jack Lewsey (four marks) capped off his outstanding season by blanketing South’s Brandon Donaldson (zero marks, one behind), while forward Alec Waterman (five tackles, four inside 50s, one goal) battled manfully and was instrumental in the Tigers’ fightback in the second term.

Powerful midfielders Jared Hardisty (nine tackles) and Dec Mountford (equal game-high 12 tackles, one goal) were also strong performers, with the latter capping off his fine season by winning the players’ player award.

Souths were well served by midfielders Steven Verrier, Haiden Schloithe and Jacob Dragovich (equal game-high 12 tackles, game-high three goals).

The Tigers made one forced change to the team which defeated West Coast in the first semifinal, with midfielder Tom Ledger replacing inspirational co-captain Ian Richardson (broken collarbone), as captain Kane Mitchell elected to kick to the northern end of the ground in the opening term.

Forward Matt Palfrey had an early chance to kick truly but couldn’t convert from distance, before South’s Zachary Strom made the Tigers pay for a turnover in defence when he kicked the opening goal of the game.

Kade Stewart soon made it consecutive majors for the Bulldogs before a sore Palfrey left the field but soon returned, before an unmarked Mason Shaw kicked truly to make it three in a row for the hosts.

The Tigers pushed hard in time-on but could only register four behinds as they found themselves trailing the Bulldogs by 15 points at quarter-time despite winning six more clearances, with coach Darren Harris imploring the team to stay connected and improve in uncontested marks and on the spread.

The Tigers then dominated territory for 20 minutes in the second term before Jordan Law converted a pass from Mitchell, before Waterman snapped truly from the pocket as the visitors kicked consecutive goals to trim the deficit to just one point.

With the versatile and smart-leading Anton Hamp now forward, the No.26 converted a pass to the hot spot from Waterman to give the Tigers a five-point lead at half-time, with the visitors gaining momentum after keeping the Bulldogs goalless for the term.

However, a disappointing third term would prove costly for the Tigers, as the Bulldogs regained momentum and kicked the only three goals to take a 17-point lead at the final change.

With the Tigers’ season on the line, Harris gave a passionate but measured address to the team, before a rampaging Mountford burst through traffic and finished brilliantly with the outside of his boot to pull the Tigers to within 11 points early in the final term.

However, the Bulldogs replied with the final three goals of the game to run out comfortable winners.

The Tigers will be back bigger and better in 2020.

Meanwhile, Claremont’s Colts set up a Grand Final meeting with Peel Thunder after defeating West Perth by 21 points, 9.12 (66) to 6.9 (45), while Claremont defeated South Fremantle in the WAFLW Reserves Grand Final.

CLAREMONT 0.5 3.8 3.8 4.9 (33)

SOUTH FREMANTLE 3.2 3.3 6.7 9.9 (63)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 1 A. Waterman, D. Mountford, J. Law, A. Hamp.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: 3 J. Dragovich, 1 H. Schloithe, K. Russell, K. Stewart, Z. Strom, D. Main, M. Shaw.

BEST

CLAREMONT: H. McCracken, J. Lewsey, A. Waterman, J. Hardisty.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: S. Verrier, H. Schloithe, Z. Strom, J. Florenca, K. Russell, G. Byron