Falcons match ‘like a final’
Claremont forward Alec Waterman says his side’s round 8 match up with West Perth will be treated like a final, ahead of a potential rematch between the clubs during the finals series.
The match is the Tigers last of the home and away season ahead of a round nine bye, and while finals appear a formality with five wins to their name on top of a healthy percentage Waterman says his side will take nothing for granted against the Falcons.
“Although we’re almost there we’re not quite there mathematically,” Waterman told Sports Drive on Tuesday.
“If we win this week we can still mathematically finish second, or a loss we could still miss the finals. It’s pretty weird how it can work.
“We’re going to treat this game like it’s our first final. We’re pretty helpless with the bye (in round nine) and we’ll treat this week like a final. If we win, we’re in. It’s getting pretty exciting.”
Claremont saw off a gallant East Fremantle in round seven, the Sharks kicking the last four goals to fall just short of a monumental upset.
“The wind picked up in the last quarter, a couple of big bombs from Cody Leggett and Blaine Boekhorst got them really rolling. Five minutes more and we probably would have got done but we held on in the end. It was a good win.” Waterman said.
Son of West Coast Eagles premiership player Chris, Waterman has starred up forward for the Tigers this season, kicking 15 goals in 7 games as part of a new look forward line after the retirements of Ian Richardson and Jack Bradshaw at the end of 2019.
The 24-year-old said consistency in training and games had been the key to his success this season.
“I had a pretty strong pre-season this year with training sessions under my belt, practicing things like one on ones and leading patterns and getting my rhythm back,” Waterman said.
“Playing with guys like Anton Hamp, he’s a pretty smart footballer. When he gets the best defender, sometimes you can bob up and kick a couple which I’ve been able to do. I’m loving it and hopefully it can continue.”
Waterman was drafted as a father-son selection by the West Coast Eagles in 2014 but was unable to play a senior game due to a battle with chronic fatigue, delisted at the end of the 2016 season.
After sitting out football altogether in 2017 Waterman returned slowly in 2018 through the Claremont reserves, making his league debut in round 2 of 2019 against West Perth.
Now fit and healthy and playing his best football again, Waterman was hopeful of getting another AFL opportunity.
“You always dream about it, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t,” he said.
“You definitely don’t change anything or try to do anything different or spectacular to try and grab the attention of the AFL recruiters.
“It’s pretty straightforward, I think most guys in the WAFL who still have aspirations would say the same thing, you just play footy as hard and as best as you can for yourself and the team. If the opportunity comes knocking, then you go from there.”
Waterman’s immediate focus is on guiding the Tigers to their first league premiership since 2012, something he believes is achievable this season.
“We’ve got to get there first, but it would be huge. It’s been such a weird season and so many sacrfices had to be made for this season to go ahead,” he said.
“For us to win a flag would just be amazing. I’ve got some of my best mates in the team and to share that with them would be awesome. It starts this week.
“We win, we can finish second if things go our way. There’s so much on the line for us.”
The Tigers-Falcons match is at Revo Fitness Stadium this Saturday, bouncedown at 2:30 PM.
IMAGE: The West Australian.