The West

Tigers book another grand final berth
Pic: Sharon Smith

Claremont have qualified for their third consecutive grand final and sixth in nine seasons after surviving an absorbing battle with Swan Districts at Claremont Oval.

Tigers coach Marc Webb will now try to emulate another brilliant Subiaco midfielder in Johnny Leonard by taking Claremont to consecutive flags for the first time in 72 years.

Claremont built their 32 point win on a dominant opening term when when they kicked seven goals to one to provide a buffer that Swans could not penetrate.

But they had to survive two ferocious challenges before cantering away in the final 15 minutes.

Swans cut the margin from 44 to four points in the third term and later got it back to six points in the last before Tom Lee capped another outstanding performance with a burst of late goals that gave him six for the match.

Luke Blackwell was also brilliant and gathered 23 first-half possessions to lead Claremont’s powerful midfield to another victory over a Swans unit that missed Matt Riggio who was a late withdrawal with a calf injury.

The gallant defeat may also cost Swans with Graham Jetta and Tallan Ames both reported for late challenges while the mercurial Dayle Garlett may have damaged a hamstring.

Swans gained the momentum in the third quarter as they lifted after a piece of Dayle Garlett magic.

The classy teenager had kicked two brilliant goals in the first half but gathered the ball at half-back and ran through the corridor before driving a long pass to Ashley Hansen who slotted his third goal.

As the intensity lifted, and the players wilted in the warm afternoon, it appeared likely the result would go to the team that could best run out the game.

Two late goals to Claremont, with Chad Jones kicking one after the siren after being flattened by his nemesis Tallan Ames, gave the Tigers a 17-point breather at the last break.

Swans came back hard in the second term as they maintained their remarkable accuracy by not missing a shot at goal.

Garlett kicked another spectacular major, his second for the match, after receiving a well-timed handball from Hansen just forward of centre.

Hansen continued to loom as a danger and escaped the close attention of James Thomson to twice run into goal.

But Blackwell was tireless in the middle and won 13 possessions to deliver the ball inside 50 six times in the term.

There was no sign of the complacency that marked Claremont’s last outing against the black and whites with the home team producing a ferocious start.

Claremont went inside 50 seven times and had 3.4 on the board before Swans had gone forward with spearhead Lee dragging in two spectacular marks.

The West Australian

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