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West Coast Eagles

Royals succumb to tackle-happy Tigers

East Perth only managed three goals in dour conditions at Claremont Oval

East Perth lost its grip on a top five spot following a slip up in the wet against Claremont on Saturday.

The Royals slumped to seventh place on the ladder after the Tigers triumphed 6.13 (49) to 3.7 (25) at a waterlogged Claremont Oval.

Tom Lee got the home side going with a goal in the fourth minute of the game, but the visitors hit back through Matt Allen, who scooped a loose ball from a puddle and snapped truly from 35m.

East Perth assumed the lead when Luke Partington pounced on a switch kick and fed the ball to his co-captain Patrick McGinnity, who sent his shot on the run through the major opening.

Unfortunately that would be the Royals’ last goal for almost two quarters.

Claremont dominated the remainder of the first half – largely on the back of gritty defence that saw them finish the contest with a WAFL-record 135 tackles – and secured a 23-point advantage at the main break.

East Perth dug in during the penultimate quarter but failed to capitalise on copious inside 50 entries – their lone goal coming just before the three quarter time siren when Jake Waterman found some space in the attacking arc, reeled in an uncontested mark and goalled from 25m.

The Royals had several early chances to push for a comeback win, but Claremont held their nerve in the defensive 50m.

Neither team mustered a goal in the fourth quarter and the Tigers roared as the final siren sounded confirming their 24-point triumph.

Midfielders Luke Partington (27 disposals, eight tackles) and Brayden Ainsworth (25 disposals, 18 contested possessions) were among East Perth’s best alongside forward Matt Allen ( 18 disposals, one goal) and defenders Tom Barrass (10 spoils) and Jackson Nelson (16 disposals, 18 pressure acts).

Backman Oscar Allen used the ball well (80 per cent disposals efficiency) and Francis Watson (17 disposals, 16 pressure acts) was solid, while Jake Waterman (16 disposals, one goal) and Fraser McInnes (13 disposals, five marks) were the visitors’ biggest threats up forward.