It was a tough day on the park for West Coast, with Claremont coming out firing on their home turf and eventually toppling the Eagles 19.15 (129) to 4.9 (33).
After a solid performance against the side in round nine – with mid-season draftees Connor West and Will Collins debuting for the blue and gold – the Eagles had high hopes of defeating the fourth-placed Claremont at home today.
But, after a masterful display from the Tiger’s Jye Bolton (41 disposals, nine marks, one goal) and Bailey Rogers (36, 16, three), the premiership contenders proved too strong, claiming a 96-point victory and a top three position on the ladder after their bye round last week.
Zane Sumich was the best Eagle afield after an impactful performance across the ground, while the onball brigade of Brayden Ainsworth (33 disposals, three marks, eight tackles), Ben Johnson (24, two, three) and captain Hamish Brayshaw (28, four, one) were also shining lights for the side in an otherwise difficult match.
It was Claremont’s pressure from the opening bounce that forced skill errors and inaccuracy from the Eagles, with the Tiger’s midfield dominance resulting in eight goals for the first quarter.
Meanwhile West Coast were unable to convert their forward-line entries, and despite a valiant effort from Isiah Winder and Brayshaw, all four attempts for the term resulted in minor scores.
The Tigers continued to build on their solid form in the second and third quarters, with the margin ballooning to 72 points at the final break.
In the last quarter, Claremont’s potency in attack caused further problems for the Eagles’ defenders, who were unable to stop the constant supply inside 50 and eventually succumbed to the Tigers by 96 points.
But there were some promising signs from the Eagles’ younger AFL-listed players, with 20-year-old Johnson impressing in half-back and continuing to develop his craft in a tough match.
Youngster Winder (17 disposals, one mark, two tackles) also looked dominant in the forward-line and midfield, as he builds on a solid campaign after a knee injury earlier in the season.
Despite the contrast in scores, West Coast displayed their trademark resilience throughout the match, with Sumich’s late goal in the third quarter a highlight for West Coast fans in the stand.
WEST COAST: 0.4 1.6 3.8 4.9 (33)
CLAREMONT: 8.5 9.11 14.14 19.15 (129)
West Coast: Hug, Johnson, Nitschke, Sumich
Claremont: Barton 5, Manuel 4, Rogers, Buller 3, House 2, Hardisty, Bolton
West Coast: Sumich, Brayshaw, Johnson, Winder, Marlin, Ainsworth
Claremont: Bolton, Rogers, Lim, Manuel, Barton, Hardisty