Claremont coach Ashley Prescott has described their dismal 48-point qualifying final loss to East Fremantle as “a big punch in the face for us as a footy club”.
The Tigers are still in the premiership hunt and will take on Peel in the first semifinal on Sunday, after the Thunder’s comeback win over South Fremantle in the elimination final.
Claremont earned the double chance after finishing in the top three but Prescott said the disappointment ran deeper than just bruising their chances at breaking their 10-year flag drought.
“We need to move on pretty quick, there’s no doubt about that. But we do need to learn some lessons,” Prescott said.
“It’s not so much even about this year, it’s about developing a brand of footy and the way we go about it.
“It’s a big punch in the face for us as a footy club and I’m bitterly disappointed.
“Hopefully we can rebound and show some courage and play some better footy next week.”
In Prescott’s favour is the “healthy selection pressure” coming from Claremont’s reserves side, including Max Minear, who kicked a game-high four majors at the lower level on Saturday.
“He’s a promising young forward that’s coming through. He went out of the team last week but went back and played some good footy,” he said.
The Tigers will likely need to look for a replacement for key defender Steve Miller, who appeared to suffer a knee injury in the first term.
“It doesn’t look overly good but we’ll wait and see,” Prescott said.
Defender Jason Carter was also assisted from the ground in the last quarter with an ankle injury but Prescott was confident he would be fit for the semifinal.
Claremont co-captain Declan Mountford (15 disposals, two goals and five tackles) said the loss was particularly painful given the club had suffered a 45-point defeat to the Sharks just a fortnight ago.
“It’s a bit of a heartbreaking loss, especially after what they did to us two weeks ago,” Mountford said.
“But we’ll take some good learnings out of it, come back and crack in.”