WAFL Grand Final Match Report | WA Football News – WA Football

  • October 1, 2022

WEST Perth is back on top of the WAFL world winning a first premiership in nine years after eight straight finals appearances overcoming Claremont in a thriller by 12 points in front of a massive crowd at Leederville Oval on Saturday.
An unbelievable crowd of 16,971 packed into Leederville Oval for the 2022 WAFL Grand Final with West Perth chasing a first flag since 2013, Claremont a first premiership since 2012 and perfect weather presenting for the occasion.
West Perth's colts and reserves had lost Grand Finals earlier in the day to Peel Thunder and Subiaco respectively, but their league team weren’t deterred on the back of winning a first minor premiership this year since 1993 – ironically also the last season they called Leederville Oval home.
The Falcons kept an inaccurate Claremont goalless up until the 15-minute mark of the second quarter and then threatened to blow the Grand Final wide open with four of the first five goals of the second half to open up a 27-point advantage.
While West Perth was playing in an eighth straight finals series and trying to breakthrough for a premiership, Claremont was also in its fifth consecutive finals appearance and second Grand Final in three years.
The Tigers weren’t about to go down without a fight and the last two goals of the third quarter, and first two of the fourth brought them right back into the contest.
It was a four-point ball game midway through the fourth quarter and in a frantic finish, the sealer came at the 24-minute mark for West Perth from Mitch Dobson and the Falcons went on to win 10.9 (69) to 8.9 (57).
It is West Perth's 20th WAFL premiership and first since 2013 with co-captain Aaron Black and four-time fairest and best winner Shane Nelson the only two players to be there for both triumphs.
Both were playing in their fourth Grand Finals too with Nelson finishing with 22 possessions and six tackles in his 208th game, and Black 15 disposals and five tackles in game No. 241.
It's a remarkable addition to the legacy of West Perth coach Darren Harris as well. Having been a premiership captain and Simpson Medal winner at the Falcons in 1995, he then coached West Perth to the flag in 2003 and now is a dual premiership winning coach in his first season back at the helm of the Falcons since 2005.
Luke Meadows played in the 2015 and 2018 losing Grand Finals for West Perth, but now is not only a premiership player but also a Simpson Medallist 118 games into his WAFL career. He finished with 20 possessions, six tackles and four inside-50 entries.
Corey Rundle kicked the first two goals of the game for West Perth in just his third appearance while Tyler Keitel, Mitch Dobson and Joe Hinder all kicked two goals apiece. 
Each has their own story with Keitel winning 143 games into his West Perth career while Dobson's in his first season after moving from East Perth and Hinder was the replacement for the injured Mark Hutchings.
Mitch Peirce also finished with 21 touches for the Falcons, Conal Lynch 16 (10 tackles), Aidan Lynch 15 (six tackles), Ben Johnson 14 (five tackles) and Tristan Hobley 13 (six tackles).
Unfortunately for Claremont, it's a second Grand Final loss in three years to go with preliminary final defeats as well in 2019 and 2021 as the Tigers continue to knock on the door of that elusive first flag since 2012.
Even more unfortunate for coach Ash Prescott is that he has now been good enough to get Claremont into four Grand Finals in his career dating back to 2004 but still is chasing that premiership medal.
Callan England and Max Spyvee kicked two goals apiece for Claremont, but England's move to half-back in the second half was instrumental in the Tigers' fightback. Jack Buller kicked just the one goal but was a dominant presence with his contested marking and had 20 touches and seven marks.
Jye Bolton racked up another 30 possessions for Claremont, Ben Edwards 21, Declan Mountford 20, Bailey Rogers 19, Lachlan Martinis 19, England 19 and ruckman Oliver Eastland 18 to go with 44 hit outs.
Jack Lewsey also was terrific defensively holding Keegan Knott to five kicks and two behinds.
There was virtually nothing between the two teams in the opening quarter in a ferocious contest in the warm conditions, except West Perth took its chances better in front of goal.
By quarter-time, it was 76 possessions for West Perth and 72 to Claremont, 11 inside-50 entries to eight, and five scoring shots apiece. However, the Falcons kicked the only three goals of the opening term.
The first two came in the space of a minute through third gamer Corey Rundle. The first from a set shot after a free-kick and the second when he converted on the run in a spectacular minute from the 20-year-old.
The Tigers then missed a couple more chances and then right on quarter-time, Mitch Dobson took a brilliant mark running back with the flight of the ball. He kicked truly after the siren and the Falcons went into quarter-time on top by 15 points.
The pressure West Perth was applying on Claremont continued to be the difference with the Tigers unable to move the ball inside-50 with precision, and get good looks on goal.
But Claremont kept on trying to will themselves back into the game and eventually Max Spyvee pounced in the goal square to take advantage from a free-kick and snap their first goal at the 15-minute mark.
Just a couple minutes later and Bailey Rogers put the pressure on to run into an open goal and the Grand Final was alive once more.
West Perth got a steadier courtesy of Joe Hinder but then Oliver Sheldrick kicked truly for Claremont and it was just a two-point margin all of a sudden.
West Perth would have the last say of the half, though, with a late goal from Conal Lynch to go into the half-time break with a nine-point edge.
The Falcons threatened to run right away with the Grand Final to start the second half with a couple of quick goals to their key forward targets, Tyler Keitel and Anton Hamp. 
That saw their lead get out to 22 points before Claremont did get a steadier from Callan England, but the Falcons' belief was building and goals to Hinder and Keitel saw their advantage get out to a game high 27 points.
Claremont needed to respond and just before three quarter-time were able to. It started with a goal from a somewhat lucky free-kick to Spyvee but then captain Declan Mountford bombed one from outside 50 and the margin was just 14 at the last break.
Claremont got the best possible start to the last quarter when Jack Buller took a strong mark and kicked truly from a tight angle. Then when England ran into some space and kick his second, suddenly it was a four-point ball game and the game was right on.
The tension was palpable on the field and throughout the massive crowd of 16,971 at Leederville Oval, and the breaths were being held with the ball pinballing from one end to another.
Neither team was able to quite get that next crucial goal until in the dying stages Dobson kicked it out of the air for the Falcons. It dribbled through the open goal square and it was enough to seal West Perth's win and a remarkable premiership triumph at their spiritual home.
 
WAFL GRAND FINAL 2022
WEST PERTH            3.2    5.4    9.5    10.9 (69)
CLAREMONT            0.5    3.7    6.9    8.9 (57)

WEST PERTH: Goals – Dobson, Keitel, Rundle, Hinder 2; Hamp, C Lynch.
Best – Meadows, Nelson, Peirce, C Lynch, Keitel, Dobson, A Lynch, Johnson.
CLAREMONT: Goals – England, Spyvee 2; Rogers, Mountford, Buller, Sheldrick.
Best – Bolton, Edwards, Mountford, Buller, Eastland, England, Lewsey.
Simpson Medal: Luke Meadows (West Perth)

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