East Fremantle have missed the finals despite beating Claremont by 10 points in a hard-fought contest at East Fremantle Oval today.
In order to gatecrash the top four, the Sharks needed to win and hope other results went their way.
They did their part, winning 13.9 (87) to 11.11 (77), but victories to Swan Districts and East Perth meant the port club missed out on September action.
East Fremantle’s consolation prize was the Malaxos Cup, which is awarded to the winning team in the final home and away game between the Sharks and Claremont each season.
It was just the third loss of the season for the Tigers, who finished as minor premiers and will host the second semi-final against West Perth next week.
A strong and unpredictable breeze caused havoc and made for scrappy play throughout the day, but it was East Fremantle who handled the conditions better when the game was on the line in the final quarter.
It wasn’t always the case, as Claremont controlled the match during the opening quarter.
East Fremantle struggled to hit targets early, continually letting themselves down with errant passes by hand and foot.
It was a focus at quarter-time, with coach Steve Malaxos imploring his troops to take more care with their disposal.
Ryan Neates extended the Tigers’ advantage to 26 points with a goal early in the second quarter, but the Sharks hit back.
With big man Rob Young playing a key role in the ruck and inside forward 50m, the home side kicked the next five goals to snatch a three-point lead by half-time.
Young and Jack Perham were instrumental with two goals each for the term, as were hard-working midfielders Mark McGough and Aidan Tropiano.
The intensity lifted after half-time and the lead changed hands three times during the third quarter.
At the three-quarter time huddle, Malaxos demanded his side run out the full game and they responded in style, with Sean Henson roving the ball off a pack to put the Sharks in front, five minutes into the final term.
Anton Hamp leveled the scores at the other end after Scott Jansen gave away a 50m penalty.
But goals to the hard-working Rory O’Brien and Kieran King gave East Fremantle a lead they refused to relinquish.
Unfortunately for the home side, the win was to no avail.
It was a horror day for East Fremantle, who entered the day with teams in all three grades fighting for finals places.
But they missed out in all three grades after the reserves and colts both lost earlier in the day.Claremont won the reserves game by 13 points and came from behind at three-quarter time to record a seven-point triumph in the colts.
| GOALS - EAST FREMANTLE: Perham, Young, Sheppard, Depane 2; Tropiano, O'Brien, Henson, Boyle, King. CLAREMONT: Richardson 3; Bradshaw, Jones 2; Foster, Neates, Laurie, Hamp.|
BEST - EAST FREMANTLE: Young, Stephen, Hadley, Tropiano, McGough, Howlett. CLAREMONT: Murphy, Bradshaw, Laurie, Neates, Blackwell, Anderson.
REPORTS: McGough (EF) for rough conduct on Handley in the second quarter.
UMPIRES: S Parry, T Keating, A Martin.
CROWD: 1200 (approx) at East Fremantle Oval.