Claremont doused Perth’s finals hopes and won the inaugural Pyke Cup with a hard-fought 15-point victory at Brownes Stadium today.
Named after father-and-son combination Frank and Don Pyke, the new trophy acknowledged the extraordinary contribution the two men made to Perth and Claremont respectively.
The Pyke Cup was also created to raise funds and awareness for the fight against prostate cancer, with players from both sides wearing blue armbands to help the cause.
Claremont tuned up for the finals with a 14.12 (96) to 12.9 (81) win – their fourth in succession and eighth from their last nine games.
The Tigers won despite missing injured captain Andrew Browne, who dislocated a shoulder last week and faces a race against time to be fit for the second semifinal in a fortnight.
Perth recalled Mitch Lleyendekkers to take over from Cameron Eyres in the ruck, but he was unable to stop powerful Claremont duo Mark Seaby and Mitch Andrews from dominating the aerial battle.
Perth kicked the opening two goals through Joel Leeson and Paul Bevan and held a two-goal lead at quarter-time.
But the advantage was quickly erased early in the second term as Jake Murphy and Jack Bradshaw pushed forward to kick goals and give Claremont the upper hand.
Ian Richardson converted a free kick soon afterwards and it was one-way traffic for the Tigers, who kept their opponents scoreless through the first 15 minutes of the second quarter.
Claremont had the first four scoring shots of the third quarter and looked like breaking clear when the margin reached 25 points.But Perth hit back hard, kicking three quick goals in a four-minute purple patch to trim the margin.
Brennan Stack kicked a clever snap shot from deep in the pocket to put the Demons in front before Claremont steadied, kicking three goals in time-on, including one to Chad Jones on the three-quarter time siren.
Perth were far from disgraced, but couldn’t find a way to stop the premiership favourites’ hard-working engine room and classy forwards in the fourth quarter.
Goals to Richardson and Jones kept the Demons at bay before two successive set shots from Murphy all but ended the contest halfway through the final term.
Two late goals to Stack and another to Bevan made the scoreboard look a little better, but it was no consolation Perth’s long-suffering fans.
The result means Perth are out of top four contention and will spend a 16th consecutive finals series watching on from the sidelines.
The Demons won four of their first five games and occupied a place in the top four for most of the season, but have now lost their past four games in a disappointing end to the season.
Murphy and Jones finished with three goals each for Claremont, while Luke Blackwell had 33 possessions in a prolific display.
Perth’s reserves will play finals after cementing top spot with a 77-point win over Claremont earlier in the day.
The Tigers scored a 16-point win over the Demons in the colts to remain top of the ladder.SCOREBOARD
|GOALS – CLAREMONT: Jones, Murphy 3; Bradshaw, I Richardson 2; Davies, Hamp, Medhurst, Seaby. |
PERTH: Stack 4; Bevan, Tunbridge 2; Florio, Houghton, Leeson, R Richardson.
BEST - CLAREMONT: Murphy, Blackwell, Seaby, Bradshaw, Jones, Thomson.
PERTH: Hodge, Jacobs, Stack, Bevan, White, Florio.
UMPIRES: R McCaw, B Wardman, J Orr.
CROWD: 2000 (approx) at Brownes Stadium.