TIGERS POUNCE ON FALCONS

Monday, September 7, 2020 - 9:51 AM

BY DAN SCAMOZZI 

Claremont rose to second position on the ladder and secured a place in the finals after outplaying and defeating West Perth by 31 points at a heaving Revo Fitness Stadium.

Greater endeavour, superior pressure, an appetite for the contest and a potent forward line were all key ingredients as the Tigers prevailed 10.12 (72) to 5.11 (41) and recorded consecutive wins in the process.

Senior coach Darren Harris and his coaching team also had a win in the box as they shuffled the magnets on the coaching board to great effect, with the positional changes paying dividends and helping deliver the Tigers their sixth win of the season.

86 more disposals and 40 more marks reflected the Tigers’ dominance across the field, while the hosts’ kicking inside 50 set them apart from the Falcons. 

And when it comes to kicking inside 50, look no further than hardworking and hard-running forward Cal England, whose exquisite delivery set up several goals and was a key difference between the teams.

Versatile utility Haydn Busher (three marks, five tackles) produced another defensive masterclass as he blanketed West Perth’s Tyler Keitel and held the Falcon scoreless, resulting in the No.15 winning best player and the players’ player award, while powerful forward Alec Waterman (equal game-high eight marks, game-high four goals) continued his brilliant season as he tore the visitors’ defence to shreds with his hard leading and accurate finishing.

Midfielder Jye Bolton’s five tackles and willingness to apply pressure on the opposition as the game wore on far outweighed the significance of his game-high 37 disposals, while the ever reliable Dec Hardisty produced his own defensive masterclass as he held West Perth’s Michael Lourey scoreless.

Ferocious midfielder Jared Hardisty (six tackles) applied his trademark attack on the contest and helped quell West Perth’s midfield, while swingman Ryan Nyhuis (eight marks, five tackles) starred in the absence of Anton Hamp (knee) in the forward line and kicked two goals.

And creative midfielder Max Spyvee (18 disposals, five marks), who has had a brilliant season at Reserves level, made a fine debut and sent the Tiger Army into a frenzy when he ran into and open goal in the final term.

On a sour note, inspirational captain Kane Mitchell (seven tackles, one goal) sustained an ankle injury late in the third term and took no further part in the game.

Emerging midfielders Connor West and Mitchell Peirce (two goals) were prominent for the Falcons, who were wasteful in front of goal and couldn’t match the Tigers’ endeavour and potency.

Hardworking forward Ty Smallwood (17 disposals, five marks, team-high eight tackles, one goal) and defender Anthony Davis joined Spyvee as inclusions to the Claremont team that defeated East Fremantle in round seven, as the Tigers kicked to the southern end of the ground in the opening term.

A spearing pass from key forward Tom Lee set up Waterman for the first goal of the game before Peirce replied with consecutive goals for the Falcons, before Smallwood kicked truly and then produced a great smother at half-back.

Repeat efforts and a kick inside 50 from Lee then set up Nyhuis for his first goal, before Mitchell – lining up in the forward line as one of Harris’ astute positional changes – made the Falcons pay from a 50m penalty.

Waterman then split the middle from the pocket after receiving a spearing pass from England, as the Tigers took a 20-point lead at quarter-time after winning every area of the contest in the opening term.

Harris praised his team’s calmness but encouraged them to stay the course, before West Perth’s Dylan Yem suffered a suspected broken leg in front of Claremont’s interchange early in the second term and was stretchered from the ground.

England then set up Nyhuis for his second goal as the Tigers extended their lead to 28 points on the back of five consecutive goals, before the Falcons kicked consecutive goals on the back of Claremont overusing the ball in defence.

The Tigers began the second half with an 11-point lead before Waterman kicked his third goal after gathering a kick-to-advantage from Spyvee.

Prominent wingman Ben Edwards then gathered a half-volley at half-forward before sprinting forward and kicking truly from 50m as the Tigers turned for home with a 26-point lead.

A passionate Harris praised the Tigers’ fightback but urged them to keep going at the game, before former Tiger Keegan Knott made Claremont pay for a turnover in midfield and pulled the Falcons to within 20 points in the final term.

Spyvee then kicked his first League goal before, fittingly, Waterman snapped his fourth goal from the boundary line to cap off a brilliant day for the Claremont Football Club.

The Tigers have a bye in the final round of the home-and-away season and will wait to see who their opponents will be in the first week of the finals.

CLAREMONT 5.4 6.6 8.10 10.12 (72)

WEST PERTH 2.2 4.7 4.8 5.11 (41)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 4 A. Waterman, 2 R. Nyhuis, 1 K. Mitchell, T. Smallwood, B. Edwards, M. Spyvee.

WEST PERTH: 2 M. Peirce, 1 K. Knott, C. Lynch, T. Hobley.

BEST

CLAREMONT: H. Busher, A. Waterman, J. Bolton, D. Hardisty, J. Hardisty, R. Nyhuis.

WEST PERTH: C. West, M. Peirce, A. Black, H. Chapman.