TIGERS REACH GRAND FINAL

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 11:42 AM

BY DAN SCAMOZZI

Claremont’s Reserves roared into the grand final after crushing rivals Subiaco by 52 points in the preliminary final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

In a ferocious and commanding performance, featuring mateship, fierce pressure and an appetite for the contest, the Tigers held the timid Lions scoreless in the second term and goalless in the final term as they dominated and prevailed 12.5 (77) to 3.7 (25).

The Tigers, who have recorded five consecutive wins, now have their sights set on East Perth, who they face in the grand final at the same venue on Sunday.

Unflappable defender Dylan Smallwood made a timely return from a hamstring injury as he repelled the Lions and won best player, while powerful forward Corey Hitchcock (three goals) continued his brilliant form as he worked up and down the ground. 

Prolific midfielder Tom Curren (players’ player award) starred in the contest as he repeatedly won clearances and sent the Tigers forward, while creative forward Ed McGinty (two goals) continued his brilliant form as he terrorised Subiaco at ground level and set up several goals.

Robust defender Isaac Wallace denied the Lions at the other end of the ground, while dominant forward Tom Lee kicked a game-high four goals and set up both of McGinty’s majors in a commanding performance.

Meanwhile, ruckman Jeremy Goddard dominated the hit-outs and gave Claremont’s midfield first use, while also providing a physical presence around the ground.

The Tigers kicked to the northern end of the ground in the opening term but the Lions kicked the first goal through Wil Hickmott, before emerging Claremont defender Marc Boyatzis hauled in multiple marks. 

McGinty then sprinted into an open goal after terrific efforts from Jack Buller in defence and Lee in midfield, before Hitchcock hauled in a strong pack mark and delivered a spearing finish to give the Tigers a four-point lead at quarter-time.

Coach Ryan Mackenzie implored the Tigers to be more composed with the ball, before a brilliant squaring pass from McGinty set up fellow hardworking forward Isaac Barton for Claremont’s third goal in the opening minute of the second term.

With Jye Clark producing a great smother in midfield, Curren winning clearances and sending the ball inside 50, and Barton winning a free kick for a desperate chase and tackle inside 50, the Tigers were now all over the Lions and inserting a physical presence on the contest.

A kick-to-advantage from midfielder Ben Rushforth set up Lee for his first goal before a ferocious tackle inside 50 from forward Matt Spoors allowed Hitchcock to kick his second goal, before Lee marked and converted a kick inside 50 from Jake Anderson to extend the Tigers’ lead to 30 points at half-time on the back of a brilliant second term.

Lee kicked his third goal at the eight-minute mark of the third term to give the Tigers seven in a row, before the Lions kicked consecutive goals to trim the margin to 23 points at the final change.

A passionate Mackenzie urged the Tigers to be brave with the ball and win the game, before the team went coast to coast in the final term and Lee kicked his fourth goal to put the contest beyond doubt.

With defenders Lewis Daisley and Smallwood now hauling in marks and the Tigers smelling a quick kill, goals to Clark, Hitchcock and McGinty left the Lions on their knees, before captain Tom Ledger snapped truly just before the final siren to cap off a dominant performance.

CLAREMONT 2.1 6.3 7.4 12.5 (77)

SUBIACO 1.3 1.3 3.5 3.7 (25)

GOALS

CLAREMONT: 4 T. Lee, 3 C. Hitchcock, 2 E. McGinty, 1 T. Ledger, I. Barton, J. Clark.

SUBIACO: 1 W. Hickmott, M. Hughes, J. Adams.

BEST

CLAREMONT: D. Smallwood, C. Hitchcock, T. Curren, E. McGinty, I. Wallace.

SUBIACO: B. Golding, M. Lawrence, J. Borchet, J. Robbins.