Claremont received little clarity at the Luke Blackwell appeal hearing but there was nothing unclear about their subsequent performance in the Foxtel Cup grand final.
Inspired by Tom Lee’s six-goal performance, the Tigers were emphatic winners of the national competition as they beat Werribee by 44 points to gain $60,000 and consolation for their defeat in the inaugural grand final last year.
While the Claremont players were the major beneficiaries with the bulk of the purse likely to be used to upgrade the destination of their post-season trip, the WAFL ladder leaders also reinforced their lofty standing on the national stage.
Claremont jumped the VFL team in the opening minutes, kicking three rapid-fire goals to forge a substantial lead before seeing off several challenges to win 15.9 (99) to 8.7 (55).
Werribee boasted 10 North Melbourne players but apart from lively on-baller Levi Greenwood and the speedy Ben Speight, few of them were able to have an impact.
Lee has been in sparkling form in WAFL ranks and maintained his high-impact presence with his strong aerial work, hard running and snappy work on the ground.
He kicked three goals in the third term as Claremont imposed themselves on the visitors after the game had been in the balance before half-time.
A free kick and 50m penalty to Ian Richardson before the ball was returned to the centre following Lee’s third major virtually guaranteed Claremont the victory.
The Tigers were boosted by the return of two sweeping AFL defenders in Nick Suban and Gerrick Weedon but it was the presence of another recalled player in Alroy Gilligan that provided one of the brightest sparks.
Gilligan won a WAFL league flag last year and could add another this season despite being sent to perform penance in the amateurs last month after failing to attend a reserves match.
The small forward’s smooth skills and superb timing were critical in a series of creative passages of play. He kicked an early goal and produced a superb smother at the start of the second quarter that allowed Jeremy McGovern to kick his first.
Blackwell’s appeal against a three-week ban for striking East Fremantle’s Richard Hadley was adjourned to next week because there was no medical evidence presented about the player’s injury.
Appeal board chairman Denis Reynolds was highly critical of the WAFL’s failure to present scans or a medical certificate.
“There are a lot of problems here,” Reynolds said. “I am very uncomfortable with the paucity of information. Certain people need to lift their standards.”
Lawyer John Prior argued that Blackwell’s early guilty plea and impeccable record during 20 years as a junior and senior player meant he should have got more than one week’s discount from the original four-match ban.
Prior said Blackwell would have got a one-match ban under the AFL guidelines given the discounts for good behaviour and a guilty plea.
Foxtel Cup grand final details
CLAREMONT 4.3 7.3 11.7 15.9 (99)
WERRIBEE 3.0 5.4 5.4 8.7 (55)
GOALS – CLAREMONT: Lee 6; Suban, Bradshaw 2; Gilligan, McGovern, Gillespie, Richardson, Morton. WERRIBEE: Warren 3; Greenwood, Speight, Harding, Sherlock, McKinley.
BEST – CLAREMONT: Lee, Gilligan, Ruck, Suban, Crawford, McGovern. WERRIBEE: Greenwood, Speight, Harding, Warren, O’Dwyer.
UMPIRES: S McPhee, D O’Neill, B Wardman.
CROWD: 1000 (approx) at Patersons Stadium.