The West

Simon McPhee
Simon McPhee

Coach Simon McPhee said Claremont's recent grand final heartache was dead and buried after yesterday's drought-breaking 56-point win over Subiaco in the premiership decider at Patersons Stadium.

De-listed Eagle Beau Wilkes was a fitting recipient of the Simpson Medal after providing the potency up forward that the Tigers badly lacked in last year's one-point loss to Swan Districts.

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Wilkes, 25, booted five goals in the 19.13 (127) to 10.11 (71) victory that ended the Tigers' dismal run of four grand final defeats in the past seven years.

His last goal came after a contested mark at the 28-minute mark of the third quarter, which extended the margin beyond five goals and effectively put victory beyond the reach of Subiaco.

McPhee forecast that several players would retire but said the depth of talent in Claremont's reserves was proof the club could remain a potent force next year.

"This group needed to put that exclamation mark next to their name and they did that," McPhee said.

"That's all they can do. We got there maybe a bit quicker than we thought last year and whether our preparation wasn't right …

"This year we left nothing to chance. The players themselves were remarkable in the way they handled themselves all year. All the stuff that's been said, all those things are gone.

"This group set their own agenda, got themselves to where they needed to be and have changed the club's fortunes around. Hopefully it's the beginning of many more (flags)."

Claremont's first premiership since 1996 proved a potentially fitting end for captain Clancy Rudeforth and defender Brett Jones.

Rudeforth, 28, had forecast his retirement in a surprise announcement during the grand final build-up after missing the 2010 season decider with a broken jaw.

Jones is expected to bring to a close his 102-game AFL career as well as his days in the WAFL if, as expected, he is not offered a contract extension at West Coast.

The 29-year-old assumed the role of Claremont's enforcer in the match's opening minute to set the tone. His bruising hip-and-shoulder on Lion Clancy Wheeler just 50 seconds in left the youngster heavily concussed with a broken nose and was a sign of the injury woes that would hamper Subiaco's efforts.

Wheeler's loss for the first half along with injuries to Adam Cockie (knee) and Ben Randall (broken foot) compounded their problems.

The list of retirements includes Subiaco veteran and dual Sandover medallist Allistair Pickett. Former Docker Des Headland is another likely to quit. Headland booted three goals but completed his final senior match on report for forceful front-on contact after he collected midfielder Jake Murphy high in a clumsy challenge during the third term that sent the Tiger from the field badly dazed.

Wilkes' dominance in attack was crucial, particularly with dual Bernie Naylor medallist Chad Jones held goalless.

The result topped off a great day for Claremont after their reserves side beat Perth by 20 points.

On Saturday, Claremont's colts side, which included soon-to-be Sydney Swan Tom Mitchell, was beaten by South Fremantle by 44 points.

Mitchell was the Tigers' best with 30 possessions and seven tackles.

The West Australian

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