WAFLW Preliminary Final wrap: Tigers earn Grand Final chance
A THRILLING come-from-behind victory has spurred Claremont into the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final, as the Tigers defeated Swan Districts by 18 points in yesterday’s preliminary final. The Swans started the stronger of the teams and led by as much as 17 points late in the second term, before the Tigers stormed home 5.6 to 0.1 and run over the top of the gallant Swans, 6.9 (45) to 4.3 (27).
Claremont has booked its place in the 2022 WAFL Women’s Grand Final after defeating a plucky Swan Districts outfit by 18 points at Revo Fitness Stadium. Running out in front of home fans, Claremont started uncharacteristically slowly, as the visitors took control, particularly by half-time. It was not until the Tigers started to click through the third term to draw level at the final break, then kick away in the last quarter. Despite the final three-goal margin, the sides were neck-and-neck right up until the final few minutes.
The first quarter was as even as it came and it looked like neither team was going to score for a long period of time as respective full-backs Emily McGuire and Paige Hamilton-Smith were doing terrifically well on the last line. Then out of nowhere, three goals came in the space of two and a half minutes, with Taylah Edwards converting the first 40m out with a perfect set shot, before off the very net clearance, Rachel Ortlepp got it to Katherine Bennett who snapped truly. The same thing happened off the next centre clearance, except for the Swans, as Edwards gave it off to the running Tara Stribley who launched from long-range and it sailed home for the Swans to lead by four points at the first break.
There were danger signs for the Tigers through the second term as Courtney Zappara marked in the pocket and converted the set shot from 20m out in the fifth minute after a few earlier forward thrusts. Swan Districts had another golden chance through Jorgina Kean on the overlap, but the youngster just pushed her kick to the right running into to goal. Up the other end, McGuire and Isabella Edgley were saving the day, with both Sarah Garstone and Jorja Elisseou having shots on goal, but were saved by Eliza Gelmi and McGuire on the line respectively. With Hope Ugle-Hayward slamming home a major just a minute earlier, the lead at half-time was 15 points.
Ugle-Hayward almost made it two in a row two minutes into the third term as she snapped for goal, but was marked on the line just in time by Katherine Orme. The speedy Mikayla Western had a running shot on goal but just missed, as Edgley was marking everything in her vicinity. Soon Bennett got on the board with a clever snap after getting free, and then things got heated with Mel Hardy sent off for what was deemed a dangerous tackle. Meanwhile a lovely weighted Ortlepp pass to Brooke Whyte have the tall forward an easy set sot, and she made goof from 20m to level the scores at the final term.
With all the momentum going Claremont’s way it looked like they might run over the top of the Swans, and everything was going right as Garstone laid a ripping tackle on McGuire in the goalsquare to earn a free kick and convert the goal. They had the majority of the forward touches, and eventually weight of numbers won out, with youngster Slocombe – who had a couple of earlier chances – roved the ball well up forward, received the handball from Western and slammed home the goal in the 13th minute to seal the game. Swan Districts kept attacking to the end, but several defensive plays from the Claremont backs ensured the Swans could only add a behind to their score. The final play of the day saw a great tackle from Western on Abbygail Bushby, and the Fremantle train-on player slotted the goal from 40m in a brilliant last kick of the day scenario to send her side into the grand final.
Orme (19 disposals, four marks, two tackles and five inside 50s) was superb all day, providing plenty of run and carry alongside Jasmin Stewart (20 disposals, two marks, five tackles and four inside 50s) and Madeleine Scanlon (17 disposals, two marks, five tackles and six inside 50s). Mhicca Carter was a dangerous threat on the defensive end, racking up 15 disposals herself and applying pressure, while Slocombe and Western were able to hit the scoreboard and set up teammates, and Bennett nailed two goals from 12 touches and two marks.
For Swan Districts, it was hard to look past the terrific performance from Edgley who took three marks and had 15 disposals – as well as countless rebound 50s – working hard with McGuire deep in defence. Ruby Mahony controlled the midfield with 18 disposals, four marks and four tackles, as Jaime Henry, Natalie House and Demi Liddle were all lively in there.
Claremont will now take on East Fremantle again next week, the side the Tigers lost to by five points last week, to decide the 2022 WAFL Women’s premiership.
CLAREMONT 1.2 | 1.5 | 3.8 | 6.9 (45)
SWAN DISTRICTS 2.0 | 4.2 | 4.2 | 4.3 (27)
Claremont: K. Bennett 2, S. Garstone, E. Slocombe, M. Western, B. Whyte
Swan Districts: T. Edwards, T. Stribley, H. Ugle-Hayward, C. Zappara
Claremont: K. Orme, E. Slocombe, M. Carter, J. Stewart, M. Western
Swan Districts: I. Edgley, R. Mahony, J. Henry, D. Liddle, E. McGuire