West Australian weekly wrap: Tigers book grand final date with Peel after hard-earned victory

FAMILIAR foes met on Sunday in the 2019 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts Preliminary final, as Claremont and West Perth looked to book a place in the decider against Peel next Sunday. Their encounter two weeks ago was a thrilling affair with the Tigers holding on for a five-point victory against a charging opponent. The Falcons got back to winning ways when they defeated East Perth in the first semi, while the Tigers went down to minor premiers. With a season of hard work on the line, it would be a test of both sides’ mettle to see who could handle the pressure the best.

WAFL Colts: Preliminary Final

The top two teams of the home the home and away season will decide the 2019 WAFL Colts Grand Final after Claremont overcame a stubborn West Perth outfit to prevail by 21 points at Fremantle Oval on Sunday morning.

The teams could not ask for better conditions with temperatures around 18 degrees and beautiful sunshine at bounce down. West Perth had the better of the first term with five scoring shots to two and taking a eight point lead into the first break. Just like he did in the the semi final, midfielder Tyron Hindmarsh started the game with real purpose collecting 11 disposals.

Kade Lines gave Claremont their first lead of the contest early in the second with two quick-fire goals. Anthony Davis then pushed the lead to double figures but Koopah Todd kicked West Perth’s first goal of the quarter to narrow the gap to four points. There was nothing between the two teams and that was emphasised with Lachlan Rewell gave the Falcons back the lead on the stroke of half-time.

The Falcons key running fleet of Callum Johnson, Tyron Hindmarsh and Koopah Todd were all having big games with each having 17 disposals in the first half. One of Claremont’s key movers Jye Clark was very solid with 11 disposals, four inside 50s and two tackles.

The third quarter is often seen as the pivotal period of the game and that certainly rung true in this contest with so little separating the two teams. Jacob Blight kicked truly for his first of the game as the Tigers reclaimed the lead in this engrossing affair. There was no quarter asked for and none given as each team was looking to break the game open. Once again the Tigers looked to open up a mini break through a major to Davis, but yet again they were pegged back when Ewan Brazier kicked truly. The biggest margin of the day had been 11 points with consecutive goals being hard to come by. It was basically anyone’s guess regarding who would prevail in the final 25 minutes.

After a cagey first few minutes of the term where both teams missed opportunities, it was the figure of Tigers key forward Charlie Malone who converted and gave Claremont a 12-point buffer. There had been 13 goals kicked to the 15 minute mark but it was undeniably the major by Cameron Anderson which was the biggest moment of the game. It pushed the lead out to 18 points and with under ten minutes remaining the task seemed a very steep one for the Falcons. Brazier gave West Perth a glimmer when he kicked his second, but the Tigers steadied and returned to the grand final stage for the fourth time in five seasons, a fine achievement in anyone’s language.

Despite the defeat, it has been a major step in the right direction for West Perth who returned to finals footy in 2019 after missing out on September action for the previous three seasons. They will certainly be among the contenders for next season. Meanwhile, while it may be a new group, this bunch of Claremont youngsters have carried on the fine September tradition of this club. They will be looking to go one further than their disappointing 2017 effort where they lost to East Fremantle by 54 points.

Nothing separated the teams in terms of disposals West Perth (283-277) and inside 50s (Claremont 40-39) but Tigers got more value for their entries conjuring up six more scoring shots (21-15) which in a tight game proved a big difference.

It was a measured performance by the Tigers with no true standout but every player playing a role which is key at this time of the season. Jack Cooley topped the disposals tally with 21, to go along with five inside 50s, four marks and three tackles. Ronin O’ Connor was tough and disciplined inside the defensive 50 with 17 disposals and six tackles. The in-form Callum Jamieson did not have quite the dominant game against these same opponents two weeks ago but was still impactful with 18 hit-outs along with 11 disposals, and four tackles.

For the Falcons, Tyron Hindmarsh put in a tireless effort with 31 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s. He was well supported by Koopah Todd with 25 disposals, eight marks, seven inside 50s and a goal while Callum Johnson had 27 disposals, nine tackles, five tackles, five marks along with a goal.

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