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Tigers seek to emulate 1964 feat

Thursday, August 24, 2017 - 11:48 AM
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Does history repeat itself? Diehard Claremont supporters certainly hope that it does.

This week the Tigers are in the same position as they were 53 years ago, destined to miss playing in the finals unless they achieve victory over West Perth in the final round of qualifying fixtures.

With one round of matches to be decided on Saturday, Claremont must beat West Perth at Claremont Oval to have any hope of reaching the finals in fifth place.

Fifty-three years ago, Claremont needed to beat West Perth at Leederville Oval in the final round of qualifying fixtures to displace the Cardinals from fourth spot and earn the right to meet Subiaco in the first semi-final. West Perth and Claremont went into the contest each with 44 points, with West Perth in fourth position with a superior percentage (108.03) to Claremont’s 107.86.

It was a simple situation: The winner would finish fourth and the loser would finish fifth and miss the finals.

On Saturday September 12, 1964, a record crowd of 21,446 packed Leederville Oval to witness one of the most exciting games in WAFL history. West Perth held the early ascendancy and led, 4.2 to 1.2 at quarter-time before a couple of superb goals from teenager John Parkinson changed the course of the game. The Tigers booted seven goals in the second term and led by a solitary goal at half-time.

The margin was seven points in favour of Claremont at three-quarter time and this was extended to three goals at the final siren which was the signal for ecstatic Claremont fans to celebrate wildly.

A week later, Claremont appeared in a final-round match for the first time for 12 years --- after finishing last in the two previous years. In a fairytale finish to the year the Tigers beat Subiaco by two goals in the first semi-final, Perth by nine points in the preliminary final and East Fremantle by four points in the memorable grand final to break a 24-year premiership drought.

This year the situation leading into the final set of qualifying matches is not as simple as it was for Claremont back in 1964. A win over West Perth will lift the Tigers past the Falcons on the premiership table. But to qualify for the finals Claremont must beat West Perth and Subiaco must defeat East Perth at Leederville Oval on Saturday. That would leave East Perth, Claremont and West Perth all on 36 points and fifth spot and an appearance in the finals will boil down to percentages.

West Perth go into this week’s match with a percentage of 86.23, considerably inferior to Claremont (103.23) and East Perth (106.29). For Claremont to edge past East Perth with a better percentage, The Tigers will need to beat West Perth by almost five goals and Subiaco must beat East Perth by a similar margin --- or the overall differential must be about nine or ten goals.

It is an intriguing situation that will have fans on the edges of their seats at Claremont and Leederville Ovals on Saturday.