2022 WAFLW Grand Final preview: East Fremantle vs. Claremont

JUST 72 minutes remain in the 2022 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s season. The second last state league women’s competition to conclude, one of East Fremantle and Claremont will be crowned premiers for 2022. The Sharks and Tigers are worthy grand finalists, with the former one win away from completing an unbeaten season, while the latter has pushed the top of the table Sharks on a number of occasions, and only had one loss outside their defeats to the Sharks.

Saturday, July 2 @ 2:45pm
Revo Fitness Stadium

In the WAFL Women’s the grand final host ground is decided prior to the day, with Revo Fitness Stadium actually Claremont’s home venue, despite East Fremantle finishing on top in all three grades – League, Reserves and Rogers Cup – and subsequently reaching the trio of grand finals. It means the Tigers will have plenty of motivation to cause an upset in front of home fans, whilst also looking to play party pooper to the Sharks who could do what no other side has done in the WAFL Women’s, and complete a season undefeated.

The result will also end Peel Thunder’s time as back-to-back reigning premiers, with the Thunder losing in the first week of finals to Swan Districts. Claremont took it up to the Sharks on the same day, but went down by five points after not being able to make the most of the Tigers’ opportunities in the first half. They bounced back against Swan Districts in an almost opposite fashion, looking down and in trouble early, but fought their way back into the game to secure and 18-point victory at Revo Fitness Stadium.

Claremont had some good news during the week, with three more players becoming AFL Women’s draftees. Madeleine Scanlon was drafted with Fremantle’s first selection, and looms as a key player for the Tigers running off half-back and through the middle in the match. Fellow runner Mikayla Western was drafted by West Coast, and initially looked like being unable to play due to West Coast’s policy with AFLW draftees – such as prelistings Ella Smith and Sasha Goranova – but that was soon overturned for Western given the magnitude of the game and the fact there was just the one match left. Fellow Claremont talent Emily Elkington also headed to the Eagles, but is nursing an ankle injury and will miss the grand final.

East Fremantle had the one draftee on Wednesday night, with former Eagle Ashlee Atkins landing at the Gold Coast Suns. She follows key forward Julia Teakle – who went to Port Adelaide last month – as Sharks draftees. Overall, East Fremantle has a well-balanced list, headlined by a strong onball group including captain Ashleigh Gomes and Dhara Kerr Medallist Sharon Wong. Amber Kinnane and Beth Beckett provide great support there, whilst Abbey Amaranti and future star Zippy Fish have the run off the wings.

Up forward, even without Teakle the Sharks are a threat, with bottom-age AFLW Draft prospect Anjelique Raison a target inside 50, alongside Larissa Versaci and Atkins. With the reliable Alex Williams in defence, the Sharks are well covered across the ground. They will look to contain the likes of Brooke Whyte and Ella Slocombe up forward, with the latter still an Under 16s prospect, whilst the former has years under her belt as a marking target both inside 50 and up the ground. Though the Tigers have lost Smith and Doumanis from the midfield group, they do have Jasmin Stewart and Katherine Orme providing good run, whilst Rachel Ortlepp and Claire Ortlepp have the penetrating kicks from the back half of the ground.

East Fremantle should be favourites in this game, having not lost all season. It looked early in the semi-final like Claremont might cause that boilover, but the Sharks will be ready for it this time, and should get up. The Tigers looked like the only team capable of rolling the Sharks all season, so if Claremont can make the most of its opportunities, then the Tigers can certainly be a huge threat. East Fremantle by 17 points.

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