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Friday, May 21, 2021 - 1:13 PM


Claremont, rapidly approaching its centenary year in the WAFL competition, is maintaining its record of being the league’s leading club in promoting home-grown talent.

The Tigers again stand alone on the top this year with only one league player --- Jye Bolton --- who has not graduated to senior football from the club’s development programs, the colts or country zones of the Great Southern and the Kimberley. 

None of the other nine league clubs can approach such an outstanding achievement.

Already this season Claremont has welcomed six WAFL league debutants (Jake Patmore, Jacob Van Rooyen, Jack Buller, Jason Carter, Kalin Lane and Max Minear) who have graduated from the club’s colts teams.

No other WAFL club can equal Claremont’s presence in AFL ranks with the Tigers providing 24 players in that competition --- Bailey Banfield, Travis Colyer, Nat Fyfe, Joel Hamling, Liam Henry, Leno Thomas and Joel Western (Fremantle Dockers), Tom Barrass, Callum Jamieson, Zac Langdon, Jeremy McGovern and Jake Waterman (West Coast Eagles), Jack Martin, Mitch McGovern and Sam Petrevski-Seton (Carlton), Darcy Cameron (Collingwood), Jordan Clark (Geelong), Shane McAdam (Adelaide), Matt Guelfi and Alec Waterman (Essendon), Wil Powell (Gold Coast), Matt de Boer and Jesse Hogan (GWS) and Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn).

Indeed, those 24 players would prove to be a formidable team both in AFL and WAFL competitions.

It is also extremely interesting to note that there are 19 former Claremont players who are now on WAFL senior lists --- Morgan Davies and Nick Kommer (East Fremantle), Jack Cooley and Ed Simpson (East Perth), Angus Litherland, Rowen Powell and Josh Robbins (Subiaco), Jye Clark, Corey Hitchcock, Jack Richardson and Jordan Reid (Perth), Steven Edwards (South Fremantle), Jacob Sideris (Swan Districts), Ben Delaporte and Keegan Knott (West Perth) and Chaz Flint, Jalen McGee, Cooper Nitschke and Harry Sinclair (West Coast).

The Claremont Football Club is proud of its accomplishment of showing the way among the WA clubs of having the greatest number of players (138) selected in the AFL draft. 

Seven West Australian players have been chosen at No. 1 in the AFL draft --- with the Tigers and Subiaco showing the way with two each (with Claremont’s John Hutton going to the Brisbane Bears in the 1991 draft and Michael Gardiner being selected by the West Coast Eagles five years later). Subiaco’s No. 1 picks have been Drew Banfield (to the Eagles in 1992) and Des Headland (to Brisbane in 1998).

Claremont has the distinction of having developed Western Australia’s first Brownlow medallist in champion ruckman Graham Moss (playing for Essendon in 1976) and Claremont has produced more Brownlow Medal winners than any other WA club. Fremantle Dockers captain Nat Fyfe (2015 and 2019) and Tom Mitchell (Hawthorn, 2018) began their illustrious careers in colts football with the Tigers.

Thirty years ago, Claremont enjoyed the amazing feat of having ten players taken in the AFL draft, and it was in that 1991 draft that the Tigers set a record of having six players taken in the top ten --- John Hutton (No. 1), Darren Kowal (three), Andrew McGovern (four), Jason Norrish (five), Paul Burton (six) and Jeremy Guard (seven). The other Claremont players selected in that draft were Rob Malone (12), Phil Gilbert (19), Kevin Mitchell (48) and Brendan Barrows (81). 

The Claremont club, then known as Claremont-Cottesloe, was admitted to the league in 1926. However, football flourished in the district long before. A team called Cottesloe, for instance, was formed in 2005 and in the following year the side finished fourth after the qualifying rounds in the Junior Football Association and went on to cause an upset by winning the premiership by beating East Fremantle, 3.9 to 3.6 in the grand final.

Cottesloe were the premiers for the next four years before being runners-up to Midland Junction in 2011. 

Only limited football was played during the 1914-18 World War, and in 1921 Claremont-Cottesloe joined the WAFL’s B grade competition along with East Fremantle, South Fremantle, Subiaco, Leederville, Perth, East Perth, C. Y. M. S. and Midland Junction. Teachers College joined the competition in 1922.

Claremont-Cottesloe was finally admitted to the WAFL league competition in 1926, and the club’s only victory in 18 matches that year was against South Fremantle, 7.11 to 7.10, at Fremantle Oval on August 14.

After being beaten by East Perth in the 1936 grand final and by East Fremantle the following year, the Tigers notched their first league premiership when they beat East Fremantle in the 1938 grand final. That was followed by grand final victories over East Fremantle and South Fremantle in the following two years. 

Claremont now has won the flag 12 times, and in the same period from the club’s initial triumph, West Perth and South Fremantle have won 12 premierships, East Fremantle and Subiaco 11, East Perth nine, Swan Districts eight, Perth six and Peel two.

Claremont celebrated the club’s Golden Jubilee in 1976 and its 60TH anniversary in 1986. The Tigers will chalk up their 100THseason in WAFL ranks in 2025 and are looking forward keenly to enjoying the club’s centenary year in 2026.