Preview | WAFLW Grand Final: Claremont vs. East Fremantle

TWELVE months ago, Claremont caused a boilover in the WAFL Women’s Grand Final, defeating a previously undefeated East Fremantle to snatch the 2022 premiership. Having lost a stack of players mid-season to injury and the AFLW Draft, coach Jack Schwarze and his players found a way to hunt and win against the odds.

Fast forward to tomorrow, and the hunters have become the hunted. Claremont, having enjoyed an undefeated season itself, meets a familiar foe in East Fremantle. The Sharks, having been the only team to take points off the Tigers – albeit in a draw – will now have a crack at redemption and causing an upset of their own at Mineral Resources Park tomorrow.

  • Team
  • Claremont
  • East Fremantle


It has been a hot minute since these sides faced off, which was way back in Round 9. The second of the grand final rematches for season 2023 saw the teams split the points at 2.4 (16) apiece. The conditions were challenging on the wide spaces of the WACA, and after East Fremantle raced out to an eight-point lead at half-time, Claremont caught the Sharks by the final break.

An behind to Brooke Whyte nudged Claremont ahead at the eight-minute mark, before repeated attempts from East Fremantle yielded an equaliser from Ashlee Atkins. The Sharks were unlucky not to finish the job off, but showed they could match it with the Tigers this year.

The season opener in Round 1 at Pentanet Stadium was just as tight, with Claremont coming away with a six-point win over the Sharks. East Fremantle led at quarter time and at the final break by two points, but a match-winning major to Adele Arnup carried the Tigers over the line.



The two respective midfields is where the battle will be won and lost, with the two most recent Dhara Kerr Medallists going head-to-head in Jayme Harken and Sharon Wong. The Tigers also have the likes of Sarah Viney, Matilda Sergeant and then Kate Orme on the outside, while the Sharks have the explosiveness of Zippy Fish and experience of Ashleigh Gomes and Beth Beckett.

Inside the Sharks’ forward 50 are the twin towers in Anjelique Raison and Georgie Cleaver with fellow State Academy member Mylee Leitch who is always dangerous. The Claremont defence is headlined by Mackenzie Webb, while Claire Ortlepp is an ever-settling presence there.

Up forward, the Tigers boast the competition’s leading goalkicker in Arnup, while Whyte, Jacinta Valentini and Rachel Ortlepp can all do some damage. It will be up to players such as Leanne Gubbins and Hayley O’Donnell to try and stop them.


In a game of inches, it will come down to the side that takes its chances. Both teams are good enough to have the game on their terms for periods, and have an array of quality players across the board. It would be brave to tip against Claremont, so the prediction lies with them, but it would be surprising to see it greater than single digits when it comes to margin.


In the earlier game prior to the League grand final, West Perth and South Fremantle go head-to-head in the Rogers Cup decider. West Perth has gone undefeated this season and will be heavily backed to win, but South Fremantle has brought in some quality players for the big game.

Among the Bulldogs ins are Renee Morgan who has starred at League level, with Jasmine Bazeley who also has plenty of talent coming off half-back. Also back there are the likes of Marie Polimeno and Alira Fotu, while in midfield, Rosie Anderson is the naturally gifted talent and standout top-ager in the ground. South Fremantle forward Nicole Taylor-Thorpe also won the goalkicking in the 2023 Rogers Cup season.

West Perth is the top side for a reason however, with Mia Russo the star player in the competition, coming off back-to-back Rogers Cup Best and Fairest wins. Her partner-in-crime in the midfield, Kaitlyn Roper also finished in the top five of the count and has enjoyed the freedom of the midfield after playing in defence for the Falcons’ League side last season. Isabella Hill, Sophie Fisher and Samara Sallie all played at the Under 16 Championships and loom as key players for the ladder leaders.

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