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Monday, July 12, 2021 - 11:45 AM


The mighty Claremont Tigers suffered a frustrating one-point defeat against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in NAIDOC Round, with inaccuracy preventing the visitors from recording their ninth win of the season.

Despite recording 10 more inside 50s and nine more scoring shots than the Bulldogs, the Tigers were wasteful in front of goals in the 11.2 (68) to 9.13 (67) defeat and will need to rebound after suffering consecutive losses for the first time since 2019.

Champion midfielder and vice-captain Jye Bolton (game-high 37 disposals, five inside 50s, one goal) continued his brilliant form with another best-on-ground performance as he absorbed attention (six free kicks) from the opposition and won the ball at will, while the smooth-moving Jake Patmore (20 disposals, one goal) starred across half-forward with his pace and ability to weave through traffic.

Midfield bull and co-captain Jared Hardisty (23 disposals, game-high 11 tackles) led the way with his ferocious attack on the ball and appetite for the contest, while hardworking and speedy forward Isaac Barton (team-high three goals) won the players’ player award for his relentless work rate and hard running.

Hardworking wingman Ryan Lim (26 disposals, two goals) gave the Tigers terrific service and kicked a team-lifting goal to give Claremont the lead in the final term, while ruckman Oliver Eastland (10 tackles, game-high 46 hit-outs) had an absorbing duel with South Fremantle’s Hamish Free and sent the visitors inside 50 on two occasions late in the game.

And then there was emerging midfielder Ben Elliott (19 disposals, 10 tackles), who was rewarded for his brilliant form in the Reserves and made a solid and encouraging debut.

South Fremantle were well served by creative forward Ben Rioli (team-high three goals) and Zac Dent (team-high 26 disposals), with the hosts’ accuracy and spread of eight goalkickers the difference between the two teams.

Defender Lachlan Martinis and midfielder Max Spyvee joined Elliott as inclusions into the Claremont team as the visitors kicked to the southern end of the ground in the opening term, with defender Dylan Smallwood lining up in his 50th game and Ash Prescott coaching the Tigers for the 100th time.

Rioli kicked truly for the Bulldogs before Bolton replied for the Tigers, before Blake Schlensog and Rioli added further majors to give the hosts an 11-point lead halfway through the opening term.

The creative Cal England then dribbled his first goal through an unguarded goal square before defender Anthony Davis and Patmore produced team-lifting chases, before Lim kicked the Tigers’ third goal.

However, Haiden Schloithe, who was going head-to-head with Bolton in an absorbing duel, then kicked the Bulldogs’ fourth goal to give the hosts a two-point lead at quarter-time.

With the Tigers +4 in tackles and +7 in contested disposals, Prescott praised the team’s willingness to chase their opponents, before Elliott continued the deed when he won a holding-the-ball free kick in the second term.

Rioli then kicked his third goal as he threatened to be the match winner for the Bulldogs, before Bailey Rogers produced a dashing run through midfield and set up Barton for Claremont’s fourth goal.

Hardisty then produced a brilliant chase and tackle on Schloithe which earned him a free kick, with the Bulldogs retaining their two-point lead at half-time on the back of a term which yielded just two goals.

A second goal to Barton in the opening minute of the second half reclaimed the lead for the Tigers, however, despite dominating field play and territory in the opening 10 minutes of the third term, the visitors were unable to convert and were then punished by Schlensog for a turnover across half-back.

Eastland then produced an inspirational smother to force a boundary throw-in before Zac Strom gave the Bulldogs consecutive goals, before Barton soccered his third goal to edge the Tigers back in front.

Barton then set up England who kicked his second goal with an outstanding snap from the pocket, before Aiden Hall trimmed the Tigers’ lead to just one point at the final change.

Prescott challenged and urged the Tigers to “lift a gear” in the final term, before Manfred Kelly and Nick Suban kicked truly to give the Bulldogs a 10-point lead.

With the Tigers needing to dig deep, up stepped Patmore and Lim with brilliant running finishes to reclaim the lead, before the previously unsighted Cody Ninyette kicked what would turn out to be the final goal of the game.

However, the Tigers weren’t done, as defender Dec Hardisty denied his opponent Schlensog with a last-ditch tackle at full-back before the visitors pushed frantically for goal at the other end of the ground. 

However, despite repeated inside-50 entries and shots at goal, the Tigers couldn’t convert their chances and were left to rue their inaccuracy.

The Tigers will aim to return to winning ways when they face Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena in round 15.

CLAREMONT 3.4 4.5 7.8 9.13 (67)

SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.0 5.1 8.1 11.2 (68)


CLAREMONT: 3 I. Barton, 2 R. Lim, C. England, 1 J. Bolton, J. Patmore.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: 3 B Rioli, 2 B. Schlensog, 1 H. Schloithe, N. Suban, C. Ninyette, Z. Strom, A. Hall, M. Kelly.


CLAREMONT: J. Bolton, J. Patmore, J. Hardisty, I. Barton, R. Lim.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: Z. Dent, Z. Strom, H. Schloithe, M. Kelly, B. Rioli.