A career-best performance by dual Sandover medallist Jye Bolton couldn’t stop Swan Districts from causing the upset of the season, defeating Claremont by nine points at Steel Blue Oval.
Bolton’s numbers had to be seen to be believed. The 30-year-old, who was controversially axed from the WA side for next weekend’s state game, sent a clear message to selectors with 51 disposals, 10 clearances and nine inside-50s to be best on ground.
But Swans showed heart against a tiring Tigers to defy Bolton, handing them their first loss of the season, 11.14 (80) to 10.11 (71).
And their fans can thank veteran Tony Notte, who also had an incredible game with 26 disposals. More importantly, nine of his 11 marks were intercepts, leading a strong defence in an enormous victory.
Swan Districts came out of the blocks and took it to a stunned Tigers, who found themselves under siege.
Tobe Watson was dominant through the midfield and forward Jesse Palmer took a number of strong marks as Claremont’s defence were put under constant pressure.
The home side couldn’t take advantage on the scoreboard, missing standard shots and letting the Tigers not only back into the game, but conceding the lead by the most slender of margins at half-time.
It looked as if Swan Districts had lost their run and the Tigers’ class and fitness would see them win easily.
But stalwarts Notte and Jesse Turner (35 disposals) were not going to let them give it away easy, with Swan Districts kicking three goals in eight minutes to lead by 11 points.
From here the game became an arm-wrestle, with momentum swinging on multiple occasions on the back of the midfield battle between Claremont trio Bolton, Ben Edwards (44 disposals) and Ryan Lim (38 disposals) against Swan Districts’ Turner, Sam Fisher (24 disposals and two goals) and Aidan Clarke (24 disposals).
The Tigers again threatened to run away with the game when Edwards and Alex Manuel kicked the first goals of the final term to give them a 10-point lead.
Swan Districts co-captain Chris Jones (five goals) kicked two of the final three goals of the game though to see his side snap a nine-game losing streak against Claremont.
To rub salt into the Tigers’ wounds, forward Timm House is likely to miss a number of weeks with a hamstring injury he sustained in the third quarter.
SWAN DISTRICTS 4.6, 4.10, 8.12, 11.14 (80)
CLARMEONT 2.2, 5.5, 8.10, 10.11 (71)
Goals – SWAN DISTRICTS: C Jones 5 M Bain 2 S Fisher 2 J Palmer L Riley. CLAREMONT: J Buller 3 T House 2 B Edwards B Elliott L Evans A Manuel B Rogers.
Best – SWAN DISTRICTS: T Notte J Turner A Clarke C Jones S Fisher M Germs. CLAREMONT: J Bolton B Edwards R Lim L Martinis J Lewsey J Buller.
Injuries – SWAN DISTRICTS: S Bright (finger). CLAREMONT: T House (hamstring) J Carter (calf).
Umpires: C Dugan J Fry J Gibb. Crowd: About 1200 at Steel Blue Oval.