Select grade below


Tuesday, March 2, 2021 - 11:03 AM


Much-admired and loved Claremont stalwart Tom Lee has been struck down by an attack of Ross River virus, a debilitating sickness which has forced him to retire from football.

Lee, who celebrated his 30TH birthday in January, will be a significant loss. He has been an enthusiastic worker at pre-season training and was looking forward keenly to continuing his decorated league career.

A tall, high-marking key forward, Lee was Claremont’s leading goalkicker in 2012 (60 goals), 2018 (41) and 2019 (33) and he finished second to Kane Mitchell in the count for the E. B. Cook Medal as the league sides’ fairest-and-best player in 2012 when he was also named in the WAFL Team of the Year.

An emotional Lee informed the club and his teammates of his decision, saying that the virus had sapped his energy and had left him with no alternative but to hang up his boots.

He is a proud member of Claremont’s 2011 and 2012 league premiership sides, and in 2012 he was the star of the show with six goals in Claremont’s winning grand final side over Werribee in the Foxtel Cup at Subiaco Oval. In WAFL matches that year Lee booted seven goals in a round-16 match against Swan Districts and four bags of six goals.

Born in Dowerin and educated at Scotch College, Lee, affectionately known as Tet, retires after 91 league appearances and 169 goals for the Tigers.

In recent years he has been a wonderful leader at the club and has been an inspirational mentor to young players.

A variety of injuries has blighted much of his wonderful career. He has suffered from loose joints and has undergone two operations on each shoulder (two reconstructions and two clean-outs) in 2013 and 2014, as well as reconstructions of both ankles in 2015., He also had surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right hand.

He was drafted at the age of 17, taken at pick No. 60 by the Adelaide Crows in the 2008 AFL draft after having played only a couple of matches the Claremont colts side. With his young, slim and immature body struggling against bigger and far more experienced players, he was delisted by the Crows after one year at the club.

He returned to Claremont and made only four league appearances for the Tigers in 2010 before quickly developing into a star and playing in league premiership sides in the following two years.

After Claremont’s 2012 premiership triumph, Lee was recruited by St Kilda and spent four seasons with the Saints before returning to Tigerland for the 2017 season.

Sadly, he was beset by injuries and managed just 17 AFL matches for St Kilda (ten in 2013, three in 2014, none in 2015 when he was laid low by a serious ankle injury, and four in 2016. As well as that, Lee played 42 VFL matches for Sandringham.

An outstanding clubman, the ever-cheerful Tom Lee leaves a big hole at Claremont as well as many unforgettable memories.