Ronin O’Connor has only been around Claremont’s league side for one season, but he knows exactly what the Tigers are chasing.
Captain of the club’s colts premiership side in 2019, O’Connor’s career continued at Adelaide when the Crows swooped with pick 42.
But after being delisted by the Crows late last year, O’Connor brought his talents back to Tigerland to try and do what no Claremont side has done since 2012: Add some WAFL league silverware to the trophy cabinet.
Claremont’s premiership aspirations were under fire a fortnight ago after losing consecutive games to East Perth and South Fremantle. But wins over current ladder leaders West Perth and the league’s recent benchmark Subiaco in the past two weeks have the Tigers back on track.
The seven-point win over the Lions improved Claremont’s record to 9-4, equal on points with the second-placed East Fremantle and third-ranked South Fremantle.
“I feel like we’re on the right track at the moment,” O’Connor said.
“Subiaco have been a great side for so many years. They’re on top of uncontested possession, tackles and clearances so their game around the ball is strong and we knew we’d have to match them in that area. And I feel like we did in trying conditions.
“I’m really pleased with the group, especially turning our year around after a couple of losses we were really disappointed with.”
The 21-year-old said it was a simple process to reverse Claremont’s fortunes, drawing on their strengths to turn the tide.
“We went back to basics. We wanted to do the little things right so we did that training and it led into games. We were really united as a group that whole time,” O’Connor said.
“As a group, we’re in a good place at the moment.
“I think we can make a real push in finals this year and hopefully go all the way. We’ve been around the mark and fallen short the past few years which has hurt the group.”
The big-bodied midfielder, who collected 25 touches and 10 tackles against Subiaco, said he not only aimed to bring success to Claremont but to also work his way back into the AFL after three games at Adelaide.
“I’ve had a bit of an up-and-down season. I had COVID earlier and a few injuries along the way. I’ve struggled with consistency but I’m in a good head space at the moment,” he said.
“Credit to the guys around the league, the pool of players is great. It’s not that much of a step down which keeps me on my toes.
“That’s the goal… to play at the top level and that’s something for me in the future to strive for. Whether that’s a year or a couple of years, I’ll keep working to get back there.”