Refreshed Claremont captain Declan Mountford ready to lead Tigers’ tilt at WAFL premiership
A week off came at the perfect time for Declan Mountford as the Claremont skipper homes in on the Tigers’ push for the 2022 premiership.
The 25-year-old could not be considered for WA’s clash with South Australia last week after battling knee soreness.
It came after a busy start to the 2022 season for Mountford, who returned to the AFL ranks as a top-up player for the embattled West Coast.
He was a late inclusion in the round two loss to North Melbourne, who he played 12 games for in 2017, and featured in the final quarter in round eight against Brisbane as the medical sub.
“I thought it was best to give my body a bit of a break,” Mountford said.
“I’ve sort of just been getting through the last few games.
“Obviously Claremont comes first. It was good to get to the (family) farm, down south-east of Albany, do a little bit of work with cattle and sheep.
“I’m pretty refreshed now.”
Mountford collected 19 disposals in Claremont’s 47-point win over East Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday, as the Tigers bounced back from their only defeat of the season - a nine-point loss to Swan Districts - a fortnight earlier.
The Royals jumped out of the blocks with the first three goals, while Claremont wasted several scoring opportunities after a slow start.
But once the Tigers found their mojo, they turned the contest on its head with seven second-quarter goals.
Jye Bolton (30 disposals) was at his brilliant best in the midfield after starting at half-back, former Adelaide Crow Ronin O’Connor (23) won plenty of clearances during Claremont’s surge, speedster Lachlan Martinis (24) and Ryan Lim (26) made important contributions and Alex Manuel put the icing on the cake with four goals.
“East Perth have a pretty strong midfield outfit and obviously (ruckman Scott) Jones has been pretty dominant the last few weeks, so once he gets going he can feed their mids and it’s hard to stop and they get a bit of a roll on,” Mountford said.
“But we got the game back under control after the first quarter.
“It was good to put some good ball movement together and hit the scoreboard.
“We had a few opportunities in the first quarter to kick a few, but we missed.”
Claremont maintained third position on the ladder and share a 4-1 win-loss record with the top two in West Perth and East Fremantle.
“It’s obviously pretty early in the season still,” Mountford said.
“You want to be peaking at the end of the season but it’s still important to put wins on the board early.
“We’ll just keep trying to improve and push each other to get better.”
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