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West Coast Eagles

WAFL: West Coast's dream run comes to an end

Jack Petruccelle dashes down the wing at Revo Fitness Stadium

West Coast’s inaugural WAFL season has come to an end following a heartbreaking six-point loss to Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium.

As they have all season, the Eagles fought right to the very end but could not overcome a relentless Tigers outfit, going down 10.6 (66) to 8.12 (60).

Hamish Brayshaw led the Eagles’ midfield with 22 disposals, while Nic Reid booted three goals up forward.

Jye Bolton was the standout performer for Claremont, collecting a game-high 40 disposals.

The intensity was high at the start of the game, with both sides desperately trying to gain some ascendency.

Jack Petruccelle used his blistering pace to set up the first goal of the game, which went to Reid.

Petruccelle was in the thick of the action moments later when he collected the ball and sprinted 70 metres down the wing before handballing to Bailey Williams, who goaled from point-blank range to give West Coast an early 14-0 advantage.

Late majors to Anthony Treacy and Alec Waterman steadied the home side’s ship and scores were level after the first break.

Thomas Lee booted the first goal of the second, before Jordan Law converted from the right boundary to give the Tigers’ an 11-point lead.

Back-to-back goals from Reid helped the Eagles regain the lead, but Oliver Eastland converted from 20 metres to put Claremont back in front.

However, late goals to Brendon Ah Chee and Petruccelle helped give the Eagles a 39-32 lead at half-time.

Both sides attacked the contest at the start the third term, but neither could swing the game in its favour.

Kane Mitchell broke the drought nine-minutes into the quarter, before Tom Lee booted his second to gift the Tigers a six-point lead.

Williams levelled scores midway through the third, before back-to-back goals from Tigers Ryan Lim and Oliver Eastland helped give the home-side a 58-49 lead at the final change.

It was game on in the fourth term when Liam Duggan nailed a running left-foot snap to help the Eagles cut Claremont’s lead to two-points early in the final term.

Both sides had their opportunities but struggled to convert for much of the final term.

With the home side leading by one-point late in the fourth, Treacy booted his second goal from 30 metres to bolster the Tigers' lead out to two kicks.

That was enough to give the home-side the win, as Claremont ran out six-point winners.

The result was a disappointing end to what has been a remarkable season for the Eagles.

After sitting at the bottom of the ladder at the mid-season bye, the Eagles had an incredible second-half of the season, winning seven of their last nine games to make the top-five, before overcoming all odds to defeat West Perth in a heart-stopping elimination final.

Captain Fraser McInnes said he was extremely proud of what the group had achieved in their inaugural season.

“It’s a really disappointing result. We tried out guts out but came up short,” McInnes said.

“But as a whole I’m really proud of the group. To be 2-7 at the halfway point and to turn it around and make finals then win a final, it’s been positive from that point of view.

“What we were able to build throughout the year, it’ll keep the boys positive leading into next year.”

McInnes said he was proud to lead the WAFL Eagles in their debut campaign.

“I’ve loved it,” he said.

“There’s been a lot of challenges along the way, trying to bring two groups together in our AFL-listed guys and WAFL-listed guys.

“But everyone bought into it really well, which made my job easy. The boys played with great spirit all year and I’ve absolutely loved it.”