AFTER two years on the outer, Claremont is ready to surge back up the ladder, according to captain Ian Richardson.
The 2011 and 2012 premiers have missed finals action the past two years, but Richardson, a veteran of 186 league games, said there was no excuse for the club to not improve on the seventh-placed finishes it has recorded in the last two campaigns.
“We now have the best facilities in Australia outside the AFL so we can all train together at our home and improve in our midfield, backline and forward line,” he said. “We also have the best coach – with Darren Harris – and assistant coaches – with Geoff Valentine, Andrew Embley, Craig White, Kepler Bradley and Steve Armstrong – in the comp to help us get there.
“I am quietly confident we can improve a lot on last season and make our way up the ladder and back to where we belong, as one of the best teams in the competition.”
Richardson said the club was disappointed to finish down the table in 2017, believing the Tigers were inconsistent and lost “games we should have won”.
He was confident returning Sandover Medallist and dual premiership player Kane Mitchell would form a formidable engine room alongside former former St Kilda player Tom Curren, Sandover medallist Jye Bolton, Ryan Lim and the likes of Jared Hardisty, Ryan Murphy and Jeremy Goddard.
“We have a very strong backline with Haydn Busher the best key back in the comp, well supported by Keifer Yu, Anton Hamp, Jack Beeck, Jess Laurie and I am confident in getting a lot from our younger players in Bailey Rogers, Fraser Gilbert and Lachie Martinis,” he said.
“We also have a very strong forward line with Tom Lee, Beau Maister and Nick Winmar who have all had great pre-seasons.
He said the club’s younger forwards could kick plenty of goals and apply the pressure.
“We are now building a lot of depth in our reserves and hopefully a few of them will step up and play league footy for us.”
Claremont kicks off season 2018 at HBF Arena on March 31 against West Perth
Player to watch in 2018? Matt Palfrey.
Your biggest games in 2018? Round 1 vs West Perth, Round 4 vs Subi and Round 6 vs Peel.
Prediction for Sandover Medal? Ryan Lim.
Rd 1: West Perth @ HBF Arena. March 31.
Rd 2: Bye.
Rd 3: East Fremantle @ Claremont Oval. April 14.
Rd 4: Subiaco @ Leederville Oval. April 19.
Rd 5: South Fremantle @ Albany. April 28.
Rd 6: Peel Thunder @ Rushton Park. May 5.
Rd 7: Perth @ Claremont Oval. May 19.
Rd 8: South Fremantle @Fremantle Oval. May 26.
Rd 9: Peel Thunder @ Claremont Oval. June 2.
Rd 10: Swan Districts @ Claremont Oval. June 9.
Rd 11: West Perth @ Claremont Oval. June 16.
Rd 12: East Perth @ Leederville Oval. June 23.
Rd 13: East Fremantle @ Geraldton. June 30.
Rd 14: South Fremantle @ Fremantle Oval. July 7.
Rd 15: Bye.
Rd 16: East Perth @ Claremont Oval. July 21.
Rd 17: Subiaco @ Claremont Oval. July 28.
Rd 18: Bye.
Rd 19: Perth @ Lathlain Park. August 11.
Rd 20: Peel Thunder @ Claremont Oval. August 18.
Rd 21: Swan Districts @ Bassendean Oval. August 25.