CLAREMONT staked its claim as a WAFL Colts premiership threat in 2021, upsetting the formerly first-placed East Perth by 48 points on Saturday morning. Conditions were trying at Revo Fitness stadium, but the rain and soaked deck worked to the favour of Claremont’s midfield as they got on top where it mattered most. Benefitting from quick and repeat entries, the Tigers’ host of dangerous small forwards took full toll in the 12.9 (81) to 5.3 (33) victory.
With 21 total scoring shots to eight from 61 inside 50s to 33, the hosts absolutely dominated possession and territory for long periods of time. After the Royals’ second term fightback, Claremont flexed its muscle once again to pull away with four goals to nil in the third quarter, effectively putting the game to bed. The result sees East Perth relinquish top spot to Swan Districts, while Claremont holds onto fourth spot on the same amount of wins (four), albeit with an extra game played.
#12 Talon Delacey
On a day where hard-nosed types thrived and precision was largely thrown out the window, Delacey still managed to show enormous class through midfield. He was a constant in the engine room for Claremont, proving a point of difference with his clean hands and refined ball use going forward. While he did not have as much of the ball as others, Delacey made his kicks count with good decision making and finessed passes going inside 50. He broke to the outside well having taken the ball cleanly, which proved no mean feat in the soggy conditions. The 18-year-old was not afraid to get stuck in at the contest too, laying nine tackles in a well-balanced performance for the winners.
#27 Angus Sheldrick
Far and away the best player afield, particularly during the first half, Sheldrick dominated in the wet with his strength over the ball and work-rate leading to a wealth of possessions. He brought great presence to contested situations, but also worked up and back to chase, tackle, and find the ball in other areas. He racked up 22 of his game-high 31 disposals by the main break, as well as two goals, before seeming to spend a little more time resting forward. The hard work had already been done though, as Sheldrick set the tone beautifully and was unstoppable at his best.
#32 Jacob Van Rooyen
The first round draft prospect built on his steady return to the Colts grade with a big outing this time around, finishing with 24 disposals, six marks, and three goals. He did so in unideal conditions for a key forward and on managed gametime, having been diagnosed with glandular fever this year. Van Rooyen presented well up the ground as a marking option, but also worked hard back towards goal, getting involved in handball chains with some run-and-carry on the counter. Two of his three goals came in the opening term, with one a well-struck set shot and the other a handy snap from close range. His third goal proved the cherry on top – a handball receive on the attacking arc and booming finish from range. In a promising sign for his recovery, Van Rooyen seemed to run out the game well and even earned a spell in midfield during the final quarter.
#34 Dallas McAdam
Another talent out of the prosperous Halls Creek region, McAdam also boasts good footballing pedigree as the brother of Adelaide Crows high-flyer, Shane. The bottom-aged small forward was electric on his Colts debut, starting on the right foot with a classy snap goal from the pocket in term one. He showed a good smarts in the front half and snared a second goal in the third quarter, again finishing with aplomb on the run. He produced a genuine highlight-reel moment too, rising above the pack to take a screamer in the final term, before handing off to Van Rooyen for a goal assist.
The Tigers were served well by a bunch of solid contributors on each line, starting with Dylan Mulligan in the ruck. He racked up 23 touches and won 13 hit-outs, also rotating forward and finding the ball between the arcs. Eye-catching midfielder Kendyll Blurton had his moments, and zippy small forward Henrick Alforque provided plenty of spark in the forward half for Claremont. Elsewhere, bottom-aged key defender Hugh Davies was resolute as ever, while Rohan Macniell put in a good shift from the wing.
#7 Jye Amiss
The East Perth spearhead was essentially his side’s sole form of resistance in attack, booting three of the Royals’ five goals in trying conditions. Two of his majors were already on the board early into the second term, with his prominent work on the lead and fluent set shot action leading to such impact. Unfortunately, Amiss didn’t see too much desirable delivery when stationed one-out, and was made to work a little further afield to get his hands on the ball at times. He showcased strong hands in those instances and his sharp radar was observed in the final term after marking at the top of attacking 50, turning quickly and slotting a beautiful goal from range on his cannon-like left foot.
#33 Sokaa Soka
The West Coast Next Generation Academy (NGA) member returned his best hit-out numbers by far for 2021, winning 34 in a promising showing. Soka used his raw athleticism and sizeable leap to do so, while also proving mobile in his work around the ground to finish with 12 disposals and three marks. He thrived aerially and was a handy kick-in target for the Royals, but also worked out of tight spaces at the contest to help get his side moving to the outer. While the Claremont midfield was largely on top, Soka was able to showcase his development in a tough losing effort.
James Tunstill worked hard in midfield as the Royals’ most prominent player in there, with Kade Dittmar kept quiet early before coming into the game later on. Luke Lombardi was kept busy in defence and finished with a team-high 26 disposals, 25 of which were kicks. Wingman Jake Littleton also saw a good amount of ball, as did Jason Kissack while Ethan Regan displayed some of his explosiveness around the contest.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Peel Thunder got the better of Subiaco in a low-scoring slog on Saturday morning, managing 19 scoring shots to 11 from just five more inside 50s. First round draft prospect Matthew Johnson returned to Colts level for the Lions, winning 21 touches and seven inside 50s while also laying nine tackles. Jed Kemp finished with a game-high 30 disposals for Subi, as Blake Morris clunked eight marks in defence and Koltyn Tholstrup bagged two goals. Cooper Osbourne swung forward again for Peel to also claim a pair of goals, as standout prospect Luke Polson impressed with 18 touches, five marks, and one major. Brady Hough and Clay Philpott also had it 18 times each, while Josh Edwards won 26 hitouts in the ruck.
West Perth thumped the winless Perth by 75 points, with the Demons kept to just two goals as the Falcons jumped into the top five. Deklyn Grocott (29 disposals, six inside 50s) proved a bright spot in the Demons’ loss, supported well by Menno Inverarity (26 disposals) in midfield. West Perth skipper Luke Reilly was his side’s top ball winner on 25, as the likes of Harrison Baxter and Lochlan Paton snared two majors apiece while also getting their hands on the ball.
Swan Districts swooped on top spot with a seven-point win over East Fremantle in Sunday’s sole fixture, holding out for its fifth win of the season. It was no surprise to see hard-running accumulator Max Chipper win 33 touches for the Swans, including 12 marks and two goals. Tyrell Metcalf also notched two majors, as Joshua Middleton snagged three in an even Swans performance. Josh Browne continued his dominant stretch of form for the Sharks, racking up 38 disposals and being supported by bottom-age gun Jed Hagan (34, 11 marks, nine tackles). Ed Curley finished with two goals from 26 touches, as rising WA draft prospect Jack Williams booted another three from 13 disposals and seven marks.
Image Credit: (Retrieved from) Claremont Football Club via Facebook