THE age old question for any team on a winning streak is if it's better to lose one along the way before a Grand Final and East Fremantle might forever be wondering that now after Claremont produced a stunning upset in Saturday's WAFLW decider.
The WAFLW Grand Final for 2022 took place on Saturday afternoon at Revo Fitness Stadium with East Fremantle coming into the clash with an undefeated record all season having won all 14 home and away matches, and then beating Claremont in the second semi-final.
The Sharks were attempting to make it 16 straight wins for 2022 and to also win their second WAFLW premiership in the four years since the competition began, but Claremont had other ideas of ending that dream of East Fremantle's perfect season.
After scores were tied at quarter-time and Claremont led by just a point at half-time, it was the Tigers who kicked three goals to two in the second half to claim the stunning result with the 7.4 (46) to 6.2 (38) victory.
It was a shock result but one that Claremont had been close to all season after playing out a couple of thrillers with East Fremantle. The Tigers were playing in their first WAFLW Grand Final and claimed a first premiership while ending the dreams of the Sharks in the process.
Claremont star Jasmin Stewart won the Lou Knitter Medal as best on ground in the premiership triumph for the Tigers.
Grand Final day started at Revo Fitness Stadium with the Rogers Cup Youth Girls decider which saw East Fremantle prove too good for Peel Thunder to win 12.6 (78) to 2.5 (17) to win what they hoped would be the first of three premierships for the day.
Alicia Blizard ended up kicking four goals in the win for East Fremantle with Tayah Palmer also kicking three goals and Grace Freeman two. Cierra O'Donnell and Lara Thomas were the goal scorers for the Thunder.
Claremont then set the tone for the League contest in the WAFLW Reserves Grand Final when the Tigers scored the upset 3.5 (23) to 2.2 (14) victory against East Fremantle.
Eva Campo kicked two goals in the triumph for Claremont and Jacinta Valentini was the other goalkicker. East Fremantle's two goals came courtesy of Emma Faulkner.
WAFLW FINALS SERIES – GRAND FINAL
EAST FREMANTLE 6.2 (38) lost to CLAREMONT 7.4 (46)
Claremont went close to ending East Fremantle's winning streak in the second semi-final and were able to pull off the feat two weeks' later in Saturday's Grand Final to claim the 2022 WAFLW premiership.
The two teams were the standout sides in the WAFLW competition throughout the 2022 season so it was only fitting it was them who met in Saturday's Grand Final at Revo Fitness Stadium.
The Sharks and Tigers had already met three times this season coming into the Grand Final and that included two thrillers. While East Fremantle won all three encounters, they were by two points, 26 points and then five points in the second semi-final.
That meant Claremont did deserve to go into the Grand Final with a degree of confidence despite coming up against the undefeated East Fremantle team especially after holding the Sharks scoreless in the first half of the second semi-final.
Claremont started the Grand Final on fire and it was Rachel Ortlepp who gave the Tigers the early advantage when she kicked two goals inside the opening eight minutes.
That put the pressure back on East Fremantle to respond and the Sharks did exactly that with goals to Angelique Raison and that meant the scores were all tied by quarter-time.
East Fremantle kept that momentum going to start the second term with two quick goals to Laura Catherine to see them open up a 12-point advantage.
This time it was up to Claremont to respond and they did that too starting with a goal to Brooke Whyte and then another just before half-time to Sarah Garstone which saw the Tigers go into the main break leading by a point.
Claremont then opened up a 14-point lead on the back of goals to start the third quarter from Tayla Thorogood and Western.
The Sharks' perfect season was in real jeopardy but they did get a goal back before three quarter-time to Mylee Leitch to bring the margin back to seven points heading into the final quarter.
Once more Ortlepp stepped up for her third goal of the game to start the last term to restore a 13-point lead for Claremont.
If East Fremantle wanted to complete its perfect season they had to have a big finish and while the Sharks did get another goal back through Catherine, they couldn’t complete the job and Claremont were tremendous in the eventual 7.4 (46) to 6.2 (38) win.
Claremont's Jasmin Stewart won the Lou Knitter Medal as best afield in the Grand Final for 2022 on the back of a performance made up of 29 possessions, eight tackles, five marks and three inside-50 entries.
Rachel Ortlepp ended up kicking three goals for Claremont on the back of starring the previous night with 23 points and five three-pointers for the Rockingham Flames in the NBL1 West competition.
Mikayla Western, Sarah Garstone, Brooke Whyte and Tayla Thorogood were the others to kick a goal for the Tigers.
Western also gathered 19 disposals for Claremont, Kate Orme 19, Madeleine Scanlon 17, Adele Arnup 16, Whyte 16 and Claire Ortlepp 15.
Laura Catherine ended up kicking three goals in a powerful all-round performance for East Fremantle that included 11 touches, five tackles and 51 hit outs in the ruck.
Anjelique Raison also kicked two goals for the Sharks with Mylee Leitch their other goal scorer.
Beth Beckett racked up 19 possessions for East Fremantle, Sharon Wong 18 (13 tackles), Taya Chambers 16 and Amber Kinnane 15.