West Perth have turned the WAFL premiership race on its head with a pulsating three-point win over raging premiership favourites Claremont in the second semi-final at Claremont Oval today.
The Falcons refused to let up all day, stunning the Tigers on their home deck to win their way into the 2013 grand final.
It was West Perth’s first finals win since 2003 but they almost cost themselves victory through poor kicking for goal.
Claremont will now have to play East Perth next weekend for the chance to stage a rematch against West Perth in the decider in a fortnight.
The Tigers went into the final term with a one-point buffer but barely got the ball forward in the quarter.
Marc Crisp kicked his fourth goal seven minutes into the quarter to give the Falcons a narrow lead before a miraculous goal to Anton Hamp down the end gave Claremont the lead once more.
West Perth peppered the goals from there before a Jordan Jones goal gave them a 10-point buffer late.
Claremont managed one more goal after a brilliant effort from Ian Richardson, but it was not enough to overcome a determined Falcons outfit.
West Coast’s Mark Hutchings was outstanding with 32 disposals and two goals, while Crisp, Matt Guadagnin and Steven Browne were also crucial to the victory.
Matt Davies battle hard for Claremont, as did Richardson, who kicked three goals and set up several others.
West Perth came out of the blocks firing as both teams went in hard to start a game with such a significant prize.
Crisp scored the first goal of the game at the 16-minute mark after relentless pressure from the Falcons’ forwards finally forced the error they needed.
The visitors continued to press but were wasteful in front of goal before Chad Jones ran down Jason Salecic in the middle of the ground to set up Ian Richardson for Claremont’s first major 25 minutes in.
Davies added a second 30 seconds later before Nicholas Winmar kicked a morale-sapping goal after the siren.
Fremantle’s Josh Mellington was also reported for charging Winmar in a marking contest as the Tigers took a nine-point lead at the first change.
Claremont stretched the lead out to 16 points after Jack Bradshaw booted a major from the goal line but West Perth refused to go away.
Crisp kicked his second before Matt Fowler and Mark Hutchings chipped in with two more to steal a two-point lead.
But the Tigers showed their quality, kicking four of the next five goals to regain the lead and all of the momentum with an 18-point buffer at half-time.
If Claremont thought the Falcons were going to go away in the third term they were left disappointed as the visitors kept the pressure on the raging premiership favourites.
Mellington snapped a brilliant goal from the pocket to open the quarter before Matt Guadagnin broke through for his first minutes later to bring the margin back to six points.
The teams traded goals through Davies and Mellington before Crisp kicked his third to put West Perth back in the lead 22 minutes in.
The Tigers won a crucial one-on-one in the middle of the ground to allow Richardson in for his third major and give the home side back the lead.
The Falcons burnt to opportunities late in the quarter to again ram home a dominant quarter but still went in just one point down at the final change.
|GOALS - WEST PERTH: Crisp 4; Hutchings, Mellington 2; Guadagnin, Fowler, Jones.|
GOALS - CLAREMONT: Richardson 3; Davies 2; Bradshaw, Winmar, Neates, Seaby, Handley, Hamp, Foster.
BEST - WEST PERTH: Hutchings, Guadagnin, Crisp, Browne, Jones, Hunt.
CLAREMONT: Davies, Richardson, Thompson, Winmar, Anderson, Murphy.
INJURIES – WEST PERTH: Chris Keunen (ankle).
REPORTS: Josh Mellington (WP) for charging Nicholas Winmar (Claremont) in the first quarter, Steven Browne (WP) rough conduct on Andrew Foster (Claremont).
UMPIRES: S Parry, B Wardman, M Worobec.
CROWD: 3000 at Claremont Oval.