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Tuesday, September 28, 2021 - 10:46 AM


The mighty Claremont Tigers’ misery against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval continued on Sunday afternoon, with the Bulldogs prevailing by 11 points in a low-scoring preliminary final.

After kicking just eight points to three-quarter time, the Tigers roared to life in the final term to kick four unanswered goals, however, they couldn’t pull off a miracle as the Bulldogs held on to win 6.7 (43) to 4.8 (32) to set up a grand final meeting with Subiaco.

The familiar result is a bitter pill for the Tigers to swallow, but they must learn from it and improve in order to go to another level and beat the benchmarks of the competition.

The Tigers, whose second half of the season was patchy at best, also need to be stronger for longer and find a way to convert their chances.

And they’ll need to do it without champion midfielder and leader Kane Mitchell, who played his final game and was chaired from the ground by co-captains Dec Mountford and Jared Hardisty.

Although Mitchell, a dual premiership player, dual fairest-and-best winner and Sandover medallist, departs his beloved Tigers after a brilliant and inspirational career, his legacy will continue and hold the team in good stead moving forward.

Speaking of champion midfielders, vice-captain Jye Bolton (27 disposals, game-high eight inside 50s, equal game-high two goals) won the ball at the coalface and sent the team forward in another best-on-ground performance, with prominent wingman Ryan Lim (game-high 29 disposals) also giving the Tigers terrific service.

However, Claremont, who recorded 51 more disposals, 13 more tackles and three more inside 50s than South Fremantle, couldn’t find a reliable way to score on a ground where they struggle to produce their best football and convert their chances.

And although they took four more marks than the Bulldogs, the hosts controlled the game with their strong hands in the air and outworked the Tigers at ground level.

After being forced wide in the opening term and managing just one behind, Claremont coach Ash Prescott urged the Tigers to use the corridor and surge the ball forward, however, little changed in the next two terms as the Bulldogs took a 35-point lead at the final break.

Then the Tigers came to life, using the corridor and taking the game on to leave the Bulldogs in their wake and trimming the margin to just 11 points through goals to Isaac Barton, Bolton, Cal England and Bolton again at the 13-minute mark of the final term.

Unfortunately, Bolton’s second goal – a thumping finish from just outside 50m – was the final score of the game as the tiring Bulldogs, despite a scoreless final term, held on to reach their third consecutive grand final.

CLAREMONT 0.1 0.3 0.8 4.8 (32)

SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.2 4.5 6.7 6.7 (43)


CLAREMONT: 2 J. Bolton, 1 C. England, I. Barton.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: 2 H. Schloithe, 1 C. Ninyette, M. Shaw, M. Kelly, J. Motlop.


CLAREMONT: J. Bolton, R. Lim, D. Mountford, J. Hardisty, J. Carter.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: B. Higgins, C. Pearson, T. Blechynden, T. McQuilkin, Z. Strom, N. Strom.