Great Southern pair influential as Tigers hold off Eagles
Great Southern duo Dylan Smallwood and Declan Mountford played key roles for Claremont’s league team as they downed a talent-laden West Coast Eagles outfit in Sunday’s WAFL first semifinal.
Both were named in the Tigers’ best players, their side coming from behind at half-time and then surviving a fourth-quarter fightback from the Eagles to win by six points and advance to play South Fremantle in the preliminary final.
Enjoying a brilliant season as a key defender, Smallwood, from Albany had just the seven disposals, but his impact on the game was significant.
He took four marks and laid six tackles, helping quell a dangerous Eagles forward line.
Mountford, an ex-North Albany midfielder, was again a tackling machine in the Tigers’ win as he racked up a team-high 11 tackles.
The former North Melbourne-listed player finished with 16 disposals.
While Railways’ Matt Palfrey was unable to kick a goal, the high-marking forward collected 10 touches for the Tigers, who kicked 10 goals in the narrow result.
Meanwhile, comeback utility Corey Hitchcock starred for Claremont’s reserves team with a sensational seven-goal haul.
Hitchcock, who attended the State draft combine last year, has missed most of 2019 through injury.
The North Albany product played the last three games of the regular season in the lead-up to finals, kicking 10 goals, and he made that 17 goals in four matches after his dominant display in the second semifinal.
The Tigers powered into the grand final, thrashing West Perth by 77 points on the back of Hitchcock’s seven goals.
He finished with 7.2 from 15 possessions and eight marks to be the best forward on the ground.
Railways junior Bailey Bennett was also superb in the win with 22 touches, seven tackles, three inside 50s and a goal.
Mt Barker ruckman Jordan Reid had 33 hit-outs, 14 disposals, seven tackles and seven inside 50s in a terrific performance.
Great Southern pair Tom Baldwin and Tyron Smallwood gathered 13 and 12 disposals respectively in the win.
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