Marc Webb rated his first flag as coach as good as any of those he won as a player after Claremont triumphed over East Fremantle at Patersons Stadium yesterday.
Webb played in four premiership teams during a decorated 195-game career with Subiaco and Perth, including three as captain of the Lions from 2006-08, before taking charge of Claremont this season.
Yesterday's win capped a stellar first year at the helm, with Claremont winning 15 home-and-away games on the way to the minor premiership before beating Swan Districts in the second semifinal.
The Tigers burst out of the blocks against East Fremantle and led by 47 points at quarter time, but had to withstand a spirited Sharks comeback after the first break.
The margin was reduced to just one point early in the final quarter before Claremont steadied and eventually held on for an 18.16 (124) to 15.8 (98) win.
"Winning a grand final as a coach is a lot different. When you're playing, you're sort of more involved and you're physically out there," Webb said.
"But as a coach you don't have a lot of an impact on what's going on. You put the foundations in place and it's a big relief. It's definitely up there to win one in my first year as a coach."
Claremont kicked eight goals to one in the first quarter with their engine room dominating.
The Sharks gradually fought back into the contest and were within one point when key forward Rob Young kicked the opening goal of the final term.
But goals to Chad Jones and Andrew Foster, the latter coming after a mistake by Steven Dodd, gave Claremont breathing space.
Dodd's kick across goal landed in Foster's lap and the former Shark put Claremont 14 points clear.
Further goals to Sandover medallist Kane Mitchell, Ian Richardson and Simpson Medal winner Paul Medhurst, who kicked six goals, sealed the result.
Webb said the fast start was vital against an East Fremantle side that fought its way through a tough semifinal and preliminary final.
"I really harped on the fact that they were coming off two hard games and played in hot conditions last week," Webb said.
"I thought if we could get ourselves into a good position early, we could finish off in the last quarter."
East Fremantle coach Steve Malaxos rued his side's sluggish opening when he said: "It was our worst nightmare. Claremont are a good starting team and we just weren't able to hold them.
"They had loose players everywhere and we were under siege. We did really well to get back into it and at one stage looked like we might run on with it."
In their first season decider since 2000, East Fremantle repeated that year's performance by losing grand finals in all three grades, to South Fremantle in the colts and Claremont in the reserves.
"In a sense, today was as bad as it gets when you lose three grand finals," Malaxos said.
"But in another sense, we finished second in three grades, so the club's had a good year."
"It's definitely up there to win one in my first year as a coach." " Claremont premiership coach *Marc Webb *
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