NITSCHKE SINKS SWANS

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 11:23 AM

BY DAN SCAMOZZI

An opportunistic goal from hardworking and skilful forward Cooper Nitschke in the second-last minute of the game saw Claremont’s Reserves record a thrilling five-point win against Swan Districts at Revo Fitness Stadium.

Nitschke, who has an ability of being in the right place at the right time due to his clever positioning and astute understanding of the game, gathered the crumbs off the pack and kicked the match-winning goal from inside the goal square as the Tigers prevailed 10.19 (79) to 11.8 (74).

In a seesawing contest which featured several momentum swings, the Tigers dominated the final term but were unable to convert their opportunities, before Nitschke stepped up in their hour of need.

Smooth-moving midfielder Tom Curren (one goal), who limped from the field with an injury to his left leg in the opening term which looked as if it would prematurely end his afternoon, returned to the field and starred with his ability to win the ball and drive the Tigers forward, and won best player for his superb performance.

Captain and full-forward Tom Lee, who won the players’ player award, kicked a game-high three goals and threatened to break the game open as he made a fine return to the forward line, while defender Anthony Davis responded to his League omission with aplomb as he read the game brilliantly and repelled Swans on several occasions.

Hardworking forward Max Minear (one goal) continued his brilliant form as he worked tirelessly and marked strongly, while small defender Marc Boyatzis also gave the Tigers great service.

Meanwhile, tough-as-nails defender Isaac Wallace made a fine return from injury, while the exciting and lively Ed McGinty was also among the inclusions. 

Prominent and feisty midfielder Jacob Sideris played a strong first game against his former team as he won plenty of the ball for Swans, however, the visitors were overrun by a more determined Tigers outfit.

The Tigers kicked to the northern end of the ground as Lee lined up at full-forward and regular forward Jack Buller lined up at full-back, before Swans kicked the opening two goals to take a 12-point lead.

Prominent ruckman Steve Miller then tapped the ball down midfielder Rylie Morgan’s throat, before exciting forward McGinty produced a dashing run and delivered the ball to Jordon Reid at full-forward, who kicked the Tigers’ first goal.

Swans replied with two more goals before Curren limped from the field and Minear split the middle after receiving a spearing pass from Reid.

Sebastian Bright then kicked his second goal for Swans before Lee converted from a tight angle after returning midfielder Jake Anderson won the centre clearance, and Nitschke and Reid delivered great passes respectively.

Lee then made Swans pay from a 50m penalty with his second goal, before the visitors replied with their sixth major to take a 13-point lead at quarter-time.

Claremont coach Ryan Mackenzie urged the Tigers to “win the one-on-ones” and “find a body”, as the hosts began the second term with Curren returning to the field and snapping the team’s fifth goal.

Lee then strongly marked a kick inside 50 from midfielder Max Spyvee and kicked his third goal to give Claremont the lead for the first time, with Curren now becoming more prominent by the minute.

Promising defender Will Reilly then produced a courageous and team-lifting spoil before a desperate smother from midfielder Bailey Bennett denied Swans and forced a throw-in.

A great kick to the hotspot from Boyatzis allowed Miller to extend the Tigers’ lead, before Ryan Letessier kicked his second goal for Swans to trim Claremont’s advantage to three points at half-time.

Swans kicked four consecutive behinds to start the second half before Ben Rushforth snapped Claremont’s eight goal, before the visitors kicked consecutive goals to reclaim the lead.

Davis then hauled in a high-flying pack mark before Swans extended their lead to 10 points at the final change, with the Tigers committing far too many turnovers in the third term.

A passionate Mackenzie urged the Tigers to press up, put Swans under pressure, and go at the game, however, the visitors kicked the opening goal of the final term to extend their lead to 15 points.

The Tigers dominated the next 15 minutes of play but could only manage a return of 0.5, before Bennett converted and trimmed the deficit to just four points.

Minear’s aerial prowess was now on full display as he hauled in several impressive marks, before Nitschke stepped up and the Tigers breathed a huge sigh of relief.

Meanwhile, a dominant and ruthless performance saw Claremont crush Swan Districts by 87 points in the Colts, 18.13 (121) to 5.4 (34), while Claremont defeated Swan Districts by 21 points in the WAFLW, 8.8 (56) to 5.5 (35).

The Tigers face South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in round three.

CLAREMONT 4.0 7.6 8.10 10.19 (79)

SWAN DISTRICTS 6.1 7.3 10.8 11.8 (74)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 3 T. Lee, 1 T. Curren, B. Bennett, S. Miller, J. Reid, B. Rushforth, C. Nitschke, M. Minear.

SWAN DISTRICTS: 2 T. Edwards, N. Blakely, S. Bright, R. Letessier, 1 K. Wallrodt, D. Melrose, A. Willcocks.

BEST

CLAREMONT: T. Curren, T. Lee, A. Davis, M. Minear, M. Boyatzis.

SWAN DISTRICTS: J. Allen, R. Letessier, N. Blakely, B. Spackman.