Luke Blackwell put on a midfield masterclass as Claremont maintained their mid season resurgence with a comfortable win over South Fremantle.
It was the sixth time in seven NAIDOC round matches that the Tigers had produced more bite than the Bulldogs with Blackwell’s 32 disposals helping deliver the 22-point win, 12.13 (85) to 9.9 (63).
Claremont will not play finals this season but can cause some grief for the other contenders as their blend of experience and youth has proved an effective fit under first-year coach Michael Broadbridge.
Blackwell led the way as Claremont got out to a reasonable lead early, saw it whittled back to a point at the last break and then took command in the last term.
Lively forward Jack Bradshaw finished with five goals as Blackwell and ruckman Mark Seaby produced vintage performances.
Seaby had 19 possessions to go with 24 hit outs and while Brick Higgins was a manful performer for South, the Claremont veteran’s control at the ruck contests proved a critical difference.
Bradshaw helped keep Claremont in the game during the second and third terms.
His fourth goal came at a vital time late in the third term after Brenden Abbott burst through a Brendan Verrier tackle to set up the shot at goal.
South would not be denied with Higgins bobbing up in attack while Haiden Schloithe continued his excellent form.
Playing his first league match for two years, Lewis Harvey also worked his way into the ground with a brace of goals.
The second cut the lead to one point at the last break after he crumbed a spectacular marking attempt by Ashton Hams who landed heavily after flying above a pack.
Claremont made the running in the first half but could not take full advantage of Blackwell’s dominance in the middle of the ground.
It took nearly 20 minutes for Claremont to break free of the scrappy first quarter deadlock but they then kicked four consecutive goals without a Souths player touching the ball.
Two came from Bradshaw who converted neat marks close to goal.
The Bulldogs were hampered from early in the second term when midfielder Adam Guglielmana tore a hamstring.
|GOALS – CLAREMONT: Bradshaw 5; McGovern 2; Neates, Blackwell, Foster, Yeo, Abbott. SOUTH FREMANTLE: Schloithe, Collica, Harvey 2; Higgins, Saunders, Hams.|
BEST – CLAREMONT: Blackwell, Seaby, Bradshaw, Abbott, Daniher, Davey. SOUTH FREMANTLE: Schloithe, Higgins, Kelly, Martinez, Gillespie, S Verrier..