WAFLW R6 wrap: Claremont claims top in statement win

ANY DOUBTS over whether Claremont was the team to beat this WAFL Women’s season were put to bed on Friday night as the Tigers dismantled fellow unbeaten side West Perth by 40 points. Make no mistake, the Falcons came to play and booted the opening goal of the game, but it was all one way traffic after that with Claremont kicking nine of the last 10 goals to win 9.4 (58) to 2.6 (18).

The contest was fitting of a top-of-the-table clash with neither team’s defence willing to give in. Often ping-ponging from end to end, it took until a clean dish off from Falcons forward Erin O’Brien inside 50 to the clever Emily Bennett to get her side on the board. The Falcons would continue to hold field advantage early with a couple of near misses and lead by eight points before the Tigers got on the board.

Claremont eventually found its range with Tazma Hutson converting a quick snap under pressure in the 17th minute. Two minutes later, it was Charlotte Tompkin setting up debutant Savannah Muir who made no mistake with the set shot. At quarter time, the visitors held a narrow lead and would take that momentum into the second term.

Not enabling West Perth to score, the game was entirely on Claremont’s terms in the second quarter, as the teenage trio of Bec Anderson, Eva O’Donnell and Anjelique Raison set up Adele Arnup who kicked the first of three goals in the term. Debutant Ella Gilbey joined Muir in kicking a major with a brilliant snap from 40m, before O’Donnell kicked a ripping running goal from just inside 50.

West Perth’s experience of Bennett, Taylor Ferguson and Imahra Cameron were working hard, while the injection of Kaitlyn Roper into the midfield for her first game of the League season added a different look. Though Liliana Grassenis was working hard in defence, the Tigers had too many scoring options and it showed throughout the game.

The Falcons managed to keep the reigning grand finalists to just one major – a set shot to Raison – in the third term, but squandered a few opportunities themselves with an O’Brien shot going out on the full and Elissa Price‘s attempt on goal hitting the post. West Perth had the ascendancy for the last five minutes heading into the final break but only added two more points and found themselves trailing by 28 points at three quarter time.

West Perth almost got a sniff early through a Brooke Hongell shot but it went wide, and then Claremont did as it has done all year and last season, and punished the Falcons by going up the other end and Emily Bonser dished off to O’Donnell for a major. The play rubbed salt in the wounds for the Falcons with Claremont running the game out strongly as Arnup kicked her second goal of the game to seal the game with a 40-point margin midway through the quarter.

O’Brien kicked a consolation goal late in the term, and bottom-ager Mia Russo had a flying shot that just missed with 40 seconds left. Holding a 34-point lead with 34 seconds on the clock, Claremont could have been forgiven for icing the game from there. However it is not in the Tigers’ nature and instead of going the safe kick to the pocket and along the boundary, Claremont rolled the dice straight down the middle of the ground as if they needed a goal to win the game.

Incredibly with the final moment of the game, Arnup won a free kick as the siren sounded and the forward went back and duly delivered from 35m to make it a square 40-point win at Pentanet Stadium. The last play was symbolic of everything the Tigers stand for with their precision, ball movement and focus, and there is little doubt now that Claremont is well and truly the benchmark of the competition.

Arnup finished the game with 17 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three goals while O’Donnell booted two majors from 21 touches and five marks. Claire Ortlepp was enormous in defence, while Jayme Harken, Eva Campo and Kobi Nichols were prominent through the middle of the ground.

For the Falcons, Bennett and Ferguson stood out in the loss, while Cameron and Hongell showed their experience in trying to lift the side. Grassenis worked hard all game, while young midfielders in Russo and Roper also did their best against some quality opposition.

WEST PERTH 1.2 | 1.2 | 1.4 | 2.6 (18)
CLAREMONT 2.0 | 5.0 | 6.2 | 9.4 (58)

West Perth:
E. O’Brien, E. Bennett
Claremont: A. Arnup 3, E. O’Donnell 2, T. Hutzon, E. Gilbey, A. Raison, S. Muir

West Perth:
E. Bennett, T. Ferguson. I. Cameron. B. Hongell, L. Grassenis
Claremont: A. Arnup, E. O’Donnell, J. Harken. E. Campo, C. Ortlepp


South Fremantle bounced back to move to 2-3 for the season with a strong victory over East Perth. The Bulldogs were inaccurate at times, but did enough to keep the Royals winless, booting 7.12 (54) to 3.1 (19) with a massive 44-15 inside 50 differential.

Liusaidh Gilchrist was influential through the middle with 20 disposals, three marks, six tackles and nine inside 50s, while Tahleah Mulder kicked two late to add to her 19 touches. Forward Poppy Stockwell was sensational once again kicking two goals, while her partner-in-crime Shannyn Pomersbach returned to the team to kick 2.3 from 12 disposals and eight marks.

Chloe Sauzier was busy for the Royals with 21 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and three inside 50s, with the 22-year-old deserving a goal to her name but missed a sitter from close range. Defender Sarah Madden worked hard all match, while midfielders Jess Verbrugge – against her former side – and Layla Firns were among the best.

East Fremantle added to Peel Thunder’s woes with a commanding 10-goal win over the winless side. The Sharks kept in control of a top three spot with the slightly inaccurate 9.12 (66) to 0.6 (6) victory, but dominated possession with a plus-90 differential. The Sharks kicked 3.9 in the first half before finding their kicking boots to turn it around with a 6.3 second half, though never looked in danger of losing.

On the goals front it was Chloe Reilly and former Dhara Kerr Medallist Sharon Wong who score multiple goals kicking three and two respectively, while the work of skipper Ashleigh Gomes (27 disposals) back on-ball was important. Amber Kinnane, Philipa Seth and Beth Beckett were busy as expected.

For the Thunder, the youth lead the way with Evie Cowcher (18 disposals, five marks and three tackles) and Holly Britton (17 disposals, three marks and two inside 50s) the most prominent. Gracie Fenton and Ebony Bilcich were also among the bigger ball-winners.

In the final match of the round, Swan Districts proved too strong at home against Subiaco to snatch fourth spot on the ladder with an 18-point win. The Black Ducks survived a fightback in the second term from the Lions to boot three goals to one after half-time and secure the 8.4 (52) to 4.10 (34) victory.

Top-ager Lily Paterson was best on ground again, kicking two goals from 26 disposals, six marks, four tackles and three inside 50s, while damaging forward Courtney Zappara kicked 2.3 from 19 touches and six marks. Hope Ugle-Hayward and Isabella Edgley worked hard all game, while Carys D’Addario cracked in for an equal game-high seven tackles.

Subiaco’s Krstel Petrevski amassed 24 disposals, two marks and three inside 50s in the loss, with Hayley Corlett (20 disposals, six tackles and five inside 50s) and Eva Popovsky (18 disposals, three marks, two tackles and three inside 50s) also prominent. Up respective ends, Beatrice Devlyn and Olivia Wolmarans had their moments.

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