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WAFL R13 Wrap Up with Jacob Landsmeer - Thanks to The Left Bank

Monday, July 1, 2024 - 3:21 PM

Sharks stutter to tenacious Tigers.

East Fremantle’s premiership defence has taken another blow, dropping out of the top five after 13 rounds with an eight-point defeat to Claremont at Leederville Oval on Sunday.

In a high intensity contest with a finals like feel, the Tigers proved they have what it takes to match it with the competition’s best with their fourth straight win, leading at every change in the 9.8 (62) to 8.5 (53) result.

The loss was soured by injuries to captain Matthew Jupp (concussion) and Tom Joyce (ribs), leaving the reigning premiers bruised as well as beaten in their fifth loss of the season.

East Fremantle’s third makeshift home venue of the season was in use for the clash, Leederville Oval hosting an East Fremantle-Claremont contest for the first time as the wait continues on a return to East Fremantle Oval.

The Sharks welcomed back four premiership stars for the clash, Jarrad Jansen, Kyle Baskerville, Fraser Turner and Harry Marsh returning for the match off the club’s bye, the latter playing his first game of the season after hamstring surgery in March.

Scores were hard to come by early despite perfect conditions of the clash, Alec Waterman scrounging the first goal of the game for the Tigers after ten minutes of scoreless football.

Milan Murdock responded after winning a free kick from a boundary line stoppage, kicking truly from 35 metres out to mark his 24th birthday with an early major.

Both sides bought plenty of pressure to the contest, fierce tackling and turnovers the result as both teams made skill errors.

Cameron Eardley and Lachlan Bailey were taking intercept marks for fun down back for the Sharks, but goals to Mitch Barron and Callan England in the space of a three-minute burst opened up an early lead for the Tigers, who led by 13 points at quarter time.

Lachlan Blakiston was having an enthralling duel in ruck with Claremont big man Ollie Eastland, both showing their supreme athleticism both in ruck contests and around the ground as both won several clearances in the opening stanza.

East Fremantle lifted early in the second term, Jarrad Jansen’s size around stoppages making a difference as coach Bill Monaghan tried a different midfield dynamic, stymied by the early loss of Tom Joyce, ruled out of the match by quarter time with a blow to the ribs.

Jed Hagan snapped a goal off his left foot after a down ground free kick, the ball living at East Fremantle’s forward end but unable to generate scoreboard pressure on Claremont.

It took a fast break from defence at the 20-minute mark of the term for a second goal, Dillon O’Reilly getting a back heel on the ball from the left of the goal square to drag the margin back to a point.

Some ill discipline cost the Sharks late in the term, giving up goals to Ben Elliott (off-ball free kick) and Marty Frederick (50 m penalty) to hand Claremont momentum and a 14 point half time lead, the Tigers having remarkably won the quarter despite defending grimly for 80% of it.

The third term had a similar pattern to the second, East Fremantle beginning strongly with goals to lynchpins O’Reilly and Leggett before goals to Kieran Gowdie and Anthony Davis kept the margin beyond two kicks for Claremont, who were matching the Sharks for intensity and effort.

Jack Cleaver’s move into the midfield worked wonders for East Fremantle in the third term, while Kyle Baskerville slotted in to Cleaver’s spot down back as the reigning premiers looked to mix things up.

An intelligent tap from Leggett set Jed Hagan on path to an open goal for his second late in the quarter, but Bailey Rogers responded with a goal from the resulting centre bounce, Claremont refusing to let their opponents back in to the game and turning for home with a 13-point lead.

When Jack Musika snapped the first goal of the last term for the Tigers the visitors had a game high margin on their opponents, time becoming a factor as the Sharks stalked a comeback.

Hagan’s third major from left full forward gave the game some life, and when Alex Montauban roved and kicked truly less than a minute later all of a sudden the Sharks were within eight points at the 18 minute mark of the last quarter.

It would prove to be the final goal of the game as the remainder of the contest was overshadowed by a sickening incident involving Sharks premiership captain Matthew Jupp, who was collected in an accidental collision on the Tigers half forward flank and remained down for several minutes, eventually taken from the field on a stretcher.

The break in play gave both teams a chance to regroup, Claremont able to defend stubbornly for the final six or seven minutes and deny East Fremantle a comeback win, the Tigers taking the Sharks spot in the top five in the process with an eight-point result, in what was very much an eight point game.

Eardley played a heroic game down back with 27 disposals and 7 marks, while Baskerville (24) also had a telling say on proceedings, Cleaver’s move in to the midfield netting him 22 disposals.

Hagan was the most impactful forward on the ground, kicking 3 majors and looking lively all day inside forward 50.

East Fremantle General Manager of Football Brad Dodd shared his thoughts after a disappointing afternoon for the club.

Credit to Claremont- who had all the answers whenever we challenged. Their pressure around the ball was excellent and we weren’t able to generate any decent ball movement as a result,” Dodd said.

“Our ability to provide contests in the air really let us down- especially forward, where our keys were kept in check.”

Dodd praised the return of triple premiership player Harry Marsh (19 disposals) and the emergence of Cleaver as a genuine midfield option.

“It was great to have Harry Marsh back and he certainly provided a spark after half time.

“We think long term that Jack (Cleaver) is an inside midfielder and he again made a positive impact when he was moved in there.”

The Sharks now prepare for a six-day turnaround without their captain Jupp and key midfielder Joyce, heading to Lathlain Park to play Perth.

Earlier in the day the Reserves were left to rue inaccurate kicking for a second straight game, suffering a one-point loss to Claremont.

Lawrence Evans kicked the winning score with less than two minutes remaining on the clock, the Sharks unable to force the ball into their forward half to try and snatch the win before the siren sounded.

The 8.14 (62) to 10.3 (63) defeat leaves the Reserves at 6-4, still sitting in third spot despite two single figure margin defeats.

Jackson McDonald pushed his case for a recall with 27 disposals, as did Max Murphy with 22 disposals and 12 marks in defence.

The Sharks had three premiership players featuring in the match, Lennon Marlin (19 disposals and 9 marks) back from a calf injury while Reuben McGuire returned to the field with 18 disposals and 41 hit outs.

Ethan Paholski kicked 3 goals to continue his good goalkicking form, one of few players to kick accurately on a day where inaccuracy proved a major factor.

The Colts found the going tough against the unbeaten ladder leading Tigers, Claremont reigning supreme in the 18.13 (121) to 5.6 (36) result.

A five goal to none opening term put the visitors in the driver’s seat, East Fremantle’s young brigade unable to force their way back in to the contest as the margin pushed out to 42 by half time.

It was 75 by the final break and 85 by the final siren, East Fremantle now 4-6 and sitting in fifth spot after 10 matches.

Taj Forrest and Bailey Morgan eached kicked two goals on a tough morning for East Fremantle, Elijah Stockden with 22 touches and Declan Pauline 15 to continue their good ball winning form.

Focus now turns to a big weekend for the club, with all men’s grades in action at Lathlain and the WAFL Women’s League side aiming for back-to-back premierships against Claremont on Sunday 7th July.

Sadly the Rogers Cup fell heartbreakingly short of the decider, suffering a two point preliminary final defeat to Subiaco on Saturday, Avuya Nomlatyu completing a fine season with 3 goals, giving her 12 for the season in just 5 matches for the Willetton product.

The WAFL Women’s Grand Final is at Pentanet Stadium in Joondalup on Sunday, starting at 2:08PM.