Grand Final Preview v Claremont

Sunday, October 4, 2020 - 1:04 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle has a chance to win its first WAFL premiership since 2009, its first ever on home turf at Fremantle Community Bank Oval and a 14th overall all in one hit in Sunday's Grand Final against Claremont.

For the first time ever South Fremantle will play in a WAFL Grand Final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval this Sunday in what will be the fifth overall premiership decider held at the venue, and the first since 1910.

A sold out crowd is expected to fill the ground for the occasion with the Bulldogs to host the Tigers in what is a rematch of the second semi-final two weeks ago, and both the qualifying and preliminary finals from 2019.

It's a fifth straight year that South Fremantle has played in a preliminary final now in 2020 and the Bulldogs built some momentum last week beating West Perth to book a spot in a second consecutive WAFL Grand Final.

The game will bounce down from 3.10pm and be shown live on Channel 7 from 3pm.

The day at Fremantle Community Bank Oval begins at 9.15am with the Reserves Grand Final between East Perth and Claremont, before the Colts Grand Final begins at 12.10pm between Claremont and Subiaco.

PLAYER COLUMN | NICK SUBAN GRAND FINAL

CURLEY COULDN’T BE HAPPIER WITH GRAND FINAL PREPARATION

MAIN HAS BULLDOGS FOCUSED ON PLAYING AT THEIR BEST

BULLDOGS HIT BACK HARD TO BOOK GRAND FINAL SPOT

Claremont and South Fremantle do battle in the main event of the Optus WAFL Grand Final for 2020 and it feels like a fitting premiership decider between the teams who finished in the top spots after the nine rounds.

That set up a second semi-final battle that also took place at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with Claremont ending up prevailing that afternoon by 47 points to move straight into the Grand Final.

That left South Fremantle needing to beat West Perth in the preliminary final also held at their home ground, and the Bulldogs responded well to win by 21 points to set up this Sunday's decider against the Tigers.

While Claremont did win that second semi-final impressively and emphatically, South Fremantle had won the previous four meetings between the two teams including in the qualifying and preliminary finals last year both held at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle is playing in its second straight Grand Final and looking to make amends for last year's 96-point defeat at the hands of Subiaco at Optus Stadium.

The Bulldogs last won a premiership in 2009 and their selected 22 for Sunday's Grand Final features just one player who has won a WAFL flag before, and that's Nick Suban who is a triple premiership player after playing at Claremont in 2012 and then with Peel Thunder in both 2016 and 2017.

But getting to the Grand Final is a signal of South Fremantle remarkable consistency now for five consecutive seasons. 

After a finals drought of four years, the Bulldogs went on to finish in second spot at the end of the home and away season in each of the last four campaigns, and then improved to claim the minor premiership in 2020. 

South Fremantle has played in each of the last five preliminary finals now as well and are about to play in a second straight Grand Final with 15 of the 22 backing up from last year against Subiaco.

Claremont, meanwhile, has qualified for its first WAFL Grand Final since 2012 after building in recent years to return to the finals and win one in 2018, and then reach the preliminary final in 2019.

The Tigers won that 2012 Grand Final against East Fremantle to make it back-to-back premierships but current captain Kane Mitchell is the only player remaining from that team that will play on Sunday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Sunday will just be the fifth time that South Fremantle and Claremont have played one another in a Grand Final, and the first time since 2005 and the first time ever at a venue other than Subiaco Oval.

South Fremantle won that Grand Final in 2005 but Claremont had won the previous three back in 1989, 1981 and 1940.

Overall, South Fremantle is playing in its 31st Grand Final and looking for a 14th premiership while Claremont is searching for flag No. 12 in its 26th Grand Final appearance.

This will be the first Grand Final not held at either Subiaco Oval or Optus Stadium since Subiaco lost to West Perth at Perth Oval in 1935.

It will be the first Grand Final played at the famous Fremantle Oval as well since 1910 and on that occasion it was East Fremantle defeating East Perth.

South Fremantle nor Claremont has ever played in a Grand Final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Both teams had some big calls to make at the selection table ahead of the Grand Final as well.

At South Fremantle, it was all about who would come in to replace gun midfielder Jake Florenca who devastatingly ruptured his Achilles tendon late in the preliminary final win last Sunday against West Perth.

In the end it was three-gamer Jarrad Doney who got the nod at the Bulldogs for the spot in the Grand Final team with emergencies Travis Abbott, Kyle Hamersley, John Levien and Seaton Thompson all having played good football at times in 2020.

There was some massive calls to be made at Claremont too and the biggest was to recall key forward turned defender turned forward again Anton Hamp from injury to replace premiership player Tom Lee.

The other big call was the recall of defender Dylan Smallwood for Anthony Davis while the Tigers will continue to back in Oliver Eastland in the ruck at the expense of Jeremy Goddard.

GRAND FINAL – OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON
SOUTH FREMANTLE v CLAREMONT – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SUNDAY 3.10PM

LEAGUE LIVE STATS