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  • Writer's pictureJosh Kempton

Grand final loss to provide all the motivation needed

Claremont will need no motivation heading in the 2023 season looking to avenge last year's grand final defeat.

The Tigers have made finals for five consecutive years but have not broken through for a premiership in that span, losing to South Fremantle in 2020 and going down to West Perth in last year’s epic season decider at Leederville Oval.

Claremont coach Ashley Prescott said there were no issues with motivation in the playing group.

“It’s obviously devastating to lose one. There was a lot to like in getting there, but when you walk off losing, it’s really hard and bitter, but I think it’s just how you respond and the resolve that you show,” Prescott told Sports Breakfast.

“Really from probably two days post grand final, the amount of phone calls and the way the group got together again and reflected, we licked our wounds together. We lost it together, but I feel it did sort of strengthen and galvanise us a little bit.

“I think for some of those older players, it burns a bit harder, and maybe the younger guys maybe don’t know what they missed out on, but I know in those younger lads that played, and we had quite a few of them, they’ve rocked up to preseason in tip-top shape.”

Some excellent state league players have been attracted to Revo Fitness Stadium this offseason, with former Sydney defender Jack Maibaum (Coburg) and Teia Miles (Williamstown), the son of former Claremont and West Coast defender Geoff, the headline recruits.

Prescott said Maibaum would stiffen the Tigers’ key defensive stocks.

“It’s probably been an area we’ve been a little light on, and young Steve Miller, who was progressing sensationally, he hurt his knee pretty bad in a final against East Fremantle last year, so Steve’s going to take a little bit of time, so we did need to bolster that area,” he said.

“Jack’s been really good, he’s come over with his partner Chloe and settled in really well in the West and been a wonderful, wonderful pickup, not only from the way he goes about his footy but around the footy club generally.

“[Miles] was looking for a bit of a sea change and something different, and he’s a really exciting player too, and a ripping fella who’s mixed in with the group exceptionally well.”

With several exciting colts graduating into senior football over the summer, Prescott said young players such as Jack Buller and Oliver Eastland would continue to drive the club forward.

“I think out of the grand final team, we had nine at 22 and under, so if you look at that in isolation, it’s a pretty good look for the footy club,” he said.

“It’s been a massive change in the two and a bit years I’ve been at the club, and some good players are coming through.

“We do really firmly believe if we can keep that core group together, we should be up there and challenging at least.”

Claremont begin their WAFL campaign with a grand final rematch against West Perth at Pentanet Stadium on Good Friday.



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