TIGERS SET FOR FINALS

Monday, September 7, 2020 - 9:52 AM

BY DAN SCAMOZZI 

Claremont’s Reserves secured a place in the finals after defeating West Perth by six points at Revo Fitness Stadium.

A five-goals-to-none second term set up the 11.4 (70) to 10.4 (64) win and saw the Tigers rise to third position on the ladder after their third consecutive victory.

10 goal kickers highlighted the Tigers’ evenness and many avenues to goal, while every player played their role and contributed to the team’s fourth win of the season.

The hardworking Ben Rushforth won best player for his prominent performance, while Ben Elliott continued his fine season and laid a desperate tackle at half-forward which created a goal for Cam Anderson in the third term.

Tough-as-nails defender Isaac Wallace won his duel with West Perth antagonist Mitchell Antonio and set up a terrific team goal with a brilliant kick out of defence in the opening term, while midfielder Tom Curren won the players’ player award and laid a desperate tackle in midfield when the Falcons were surging at the Tigers in the final term.

And solid midfielder Jamie Paul made a fine debut, which included a goal early in the second term and an inspirational smother at half-back to deny the Falcons late in the game.

Forward Isaac Barton (one goal) and defender Luke Knight joined Paul 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 with the breeze at their backs.

However, West Perth forward Zac Patterson gave the Falcons an early lead with the first of his three goals, before a 50m penalty and kick to full-forward from Matt Spoors (one goal) allowed wingman Corey Hitchcock to mark and kick truly to pull the Tigers level.

Wallace’s brilliant kick out of defence then saw the Tigers transition through the middle of the ground and allowed Charlie Malone to kick the team’s second goal, before the Falcons kicked consecutive goals to take a six-point lead at quarter-time.

First-year coach Ryan Mackenzie urged the Tigers to increase their physicality and improve their composure when going forward, before a desperate chase and tackle from the hardworking Spoors won the Tiger a free kick at half-forward in the early stages of the second term.

Paul then kicked his first goal and was mobbed by his jubilant teammates, before ruckman Jeremy Goddard won a centre clearance and kicked the ball to full-forward, where fellow ruckman Steve Miller marked strongly and kicked truly to re-establish a six-point lead for the Tigers.

Forward Alex Manuel then thumped through a goal from 50m after receiving a lace-out pass from acting captain Tom Ledger, before Barton snapped accurately out of congestion to give the Tigers four consecutive goals.

Miller then kicked his second goal after receiving a pinpoint pass from Hitchcock and being awarded a 50m penalty, before a great spoil from defender Bill Reilly at half-back capped off a dominant term from the Tigers and resulted in a 25-point lead at half-time.

Another 50m penalty against the Falcons allowed Knight to kick his first Reserves goal in the third term and extended the Tigers’ lead to 32 points, before the visitors replied with consecutive goals.

Elliott’s desperate tackle set up Anderson for the Tigers’ ninth goal, before midfielder Bailey Bennett applied great pressure and a fierce tackle of his own to win a free kick on the far side of the ground.

Half-back flanker Jye Clark then split the middle from 50m to extend the Tigers’ lead to 30 points at the final change, with a passionate Mackenzie urging his team to win the game in order to keep its season alive.

Despite the passionate plea, three consecutive goals from the Falcons trimmed the Tigers’ lead to 12 points at the 10-minute mark of the final term, before Curren laid his inspirational tackle in midfield.

Another goal from the Falcons saw them close to within six points, before Spoors laid a tackle inside 50 and applied a spearing finish from the resulting free kick to give the Tigers some breathing space.

A third goal from Patterson again reduced the margin to six points before Paul denied the visitors at half-back with a brilliant smother, as the Tigers prevailed and dented the Falcons’ finals chances in the process.

Meanwhile, Claremont recorded its seventh win of the season after defeating West Perth by 12 points in the Colts, 10.10 (70) to 8.10 (58).

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 2.1 7.3 10.4 11.4 (70)

WEST PERTH 3.1 3.2 5.4 10.4 (64)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 2 S. Miller, 1 A. Manuel, I. Barton, C. Malone, J. Clark, C. Anderson, C. Hitchcock, M. Spoors, L. Knight, J. Paul.

WEST PERTH: 3 Z. Patterson, 1 B. Antonio, M. Antonio, A. Johnson, R. Hudson, T. McKenzie, S. Kernutt, M. Lloyd.

BEST

CLAREMONT: B. Rushforth, B. Elliott, I. Wallace, T. Curren, J. Paul.

WEST PERTH: S. Kernutt, T. Boyes, N. Alexandre, Z. Patterson, L. Tedesco.