What a task - Claremont s greatest team
What a task - Claremont's greatest team

Moss, Moloney, Marshall. McClements, McIntosh, McKenna. Maffina, Malaxos, Mitchell(s).

Claremont's greatest players are mostly Ms and they are set to dominate the club's best team ever, to be named this month.

Coinciding with the Tigers departing for their original home ground at the neighbouring Showground while Claremont Oval is redeveloped, the club will recognise its best players since the first match in 1926.

And several of WA's greatest footballers will be included in a team that boasts a formidable midfield unit and one of the best defensive collectives in WAFL history.

A selection panel comprising president Ken Venables, chief executive Todd Shimmon, club legend John O'Connell, journalist Ken Casellas and historian Barry Butterworth have picked an initial squad of 50 players from which the team will be named.

The only selection criteria was that candidates had to play at least 50 matches for Claremont, while their feats after leaving the club for the VFL or AFL could be taken into account.

They will be picked in their normal positions in the team to be announced at Claremont Oval on October 26.

The squad includes 11 Sandover medallists, Brownlow medallist Graham Moss, who stands alongside George Moloney and Denis Marshall as the greatest Tigers, and virtually every other club winner of a Simpson or Tassie medal.

One of the toughest challenges will be selecting one of several outstanding candidates in the centre.

Triple premiership captain Moloney won a Sandover Medal there, as did Sonny Maffina, Steve Malaxos, Jaxon Crabb and Luke Blackwell, while a host of recent stars in Ben Allan, Don Pyke and Chris Lewis have strong claims to the position.

Wingmen are equally tough to select. Darrell Panizza is the club's games record holder with 274 and three flags, while Keith Hough won a Sandover and came second in another, and South Melbourne recruit Jim Reid twice won best-and-fairest awards in premiership seasons.

Michael Mitchell won a Sandover as a rover but also played brilliant football on a wing.

The back line boasts a potential galaxy of outstanding players, including Australian hall of famers Marshall, Guy McKenna and Ken Hunter, while dual Sandover winner Sammy Clarke, who was killed during World War II, fits comfortably into that company.

Triple premiership defender Bill O'Neill and 273-game veteran Ken Caporn have strong claims to be named at full-back.

Moloney is the only footballer to kick over 300 goals in both the WAFL and VFL, coming second in the Brownlow during his productive stint with Geelong in the 1930s, and his 555 Claremont majors means he could equally be placed at full-forward.

But Warren Ralph's three premierships and 564 goals give him an emphatic claim to the glamour post.

Claremont are likely to recognise the record-breaking spearheads at either end of the revamped ground when they return to Claremont Oval in 2015.

Claremont will run a public competition to match the official team.

Entry and prize details are available on the club website, claremontfc.com

The West Australian

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