Claremont’s Colts defeated East Perth by 18 points in the grand final at Domain Stadium last Sunday to secure back-to-back premierships.
Despite trailing by 20 points at quarter-time, the Tigers won the next three terms and slammed on 10 goals to five in the process to prevail 11.13 (79) to 9.7 (61).
The result gave Claremont its third premiership in four years and 15th overall, as the Tigers continued their recent dominance of the competition.
Congratulations to the team, coach Ross McQueen and all of the support staff.
Jake Waterman took home the Mel Whinnen Medal as best on ground following his 20 disposals, eight marks and four goals, while Bailey Banfield’s poise and class was on show with the Tiger finishing with 32 disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s.
Claremont’s defence stood tall, as it has done all year, and was led by players such as Dylan Smallwood, Lucas Baker, Declan Hardisty and Shaquille Morton, with the Tigers restricting their opposition to less than 10 goals for the 22nd time this season.
Jeremy Goddard dominated the ruck and worked hard around the ground to finish with 16 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and 44 hit outs, while Chris Oakley (15 disposals, four tackles, two goals) applied his trademark pressure in Claremont’s forward line.
Claremont’s pressure as a team and will to work for one another resulted in six more tackles, nine more inside 50s and eight more scoring shots, as the Tigers recorded a memorable victory.
East Perth was led by Sam Powell-Pepper, whose strength in and around the contest and ball-winning ability saw the Royal finish with 22 disposals, seven tackles and four goals, while Harley Stack and Ethan Christofis each chipped in with two goals.
With Claremont kicking to the city end of the ground in the opening term, a goal to Powell-Pepper gave East Perth first blood, before Oakley replied for the Tigers.
A miraculous snap from deep in the pocket saw Christofis kick East Perth’s second and one of the goals of the year, before Stack quickly added the Royals’ third major.
A great mark by Smallwood briefly halted East Perth’s momentum, however, an inability from Claremont to clear the ball from defence saw Matthew Young kick the Royals’ fourth major and give East Perth a 20-point lead at the opening change.
With Claremont yet to come to grips with the pace of the game and gain composure, a great tackle by Oakley provided a spark early in the second term, before Waterman kicked the Tigers’ second goal after a one-two with Jacob Sideris.
A goal to Jake Patmore quickly followed after a clearance and second effort by Jack Blaauw, as the Tigers recorded consecutive goals for the first time, before Powell-Pepper replied for East Perth with his second major.
A goal-saving tackle by Smallwood saved the Tigers deep in defence, before the ball was whisked up the other end for Waterman to kick his second goal.
Christofis then kicked his second to give the Royals some breathing space, before East Perth’s Stan Wright went into the umpire’s book for rough conduct on Shandley.
The result was a 12-point lead to East Perth at half-time, although Claremont had now worked their way into the game.
Powell-Pepper kicked his third goal at the start of the third term to extend the Royals’ lead to 18 points, before James Egan replied for Claremont.
Oakley then lit up the contest with a clever one-handed mark before adding his second goal three minutes later after being found by Banfield, before a goal to Shandley gave Claremont the lead for the first time.
Bailey Bennett then added his name to the goal kickers’ list to give the Tigers four in a row and an eight-point lead at the final change.
A quick kick forward by Blaauw allowed Waterman to take a strong mark and kick his third major to start the final term, before a second to Shandley had the Tigers out to a 22-point lead.
Waterman was again rewarded for playing in front when he marked an Oliver Eastland kick to convert his fourth goal and Claremont’s seventh in a row, with the Tigers now all over the Royals and out to a 28-point lead.
Goals to Stack (second) and Powell-Pepper (fourth) trimmed Claremont’s lead to 16 points and briefly got East Perth back in the game, however, the Tigers held on for their fourth straight win and confirmed their status as the best team.
CLAREMONT 1.1 4.6 8.8 11.13 (79)
EAST PERTH 4.3 6.6 7.6 9.7 (61)
CLAREMONT: 4 J. WATERMAN, 2 C. OAKLEY, K. SHANDLEY, 1 J. EGAN, J. PATMORE, B. BENNETT.
EAST PERTH: 4 S. POWELL-PEPPER, 2 H. STACK, E. CHRISTOFIS, 1 M. YOUNG.
CLAREMONT: J. WATERMAN, B. BANFIELD, D. SMALLWOOD, J. GODDARD, C. OAKLEY, J. SIDERIS.
EAST PERTH: S. POWELL-PEPPER, M. DOBSON, H. BLANCH, E. CHRISTOFIS.
MEL WHINNEN MEDAL: J. WATERMAN (C).