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Colts Grand Final Preview

Friday, October 1, 2021 - 10:50 AM by Chris Pike

The similarities to seven years ago for the Swan Districts colts are remarkable and now they hope for the same result against Claremont in Saturday's Grand Final at Optus Stadium.

Swan Districts colts have been the standout team all throughout the 2021 season to claim the minor premiership after finishing four games clear on top spot even if they did have to book in their Grand Final spot by coming through the preliminary final.

But Swan Districts now get the chance to finish off with the reward of a premiership by taking on Claremont in Saturday's Grand Final at Optus Stadium.

The game will bounce down at 12.10pm and more than 30,000 fans are expected at the venue so we look forward to plenty of Swans fans cheering the team on, but for those unable to make it the game will be live on Channel 7.

Swan Districts last won a colts premiership back in 2014 and it's impossible to now ignore the similarities that what that team accomplished seven years ago.

Swans lost just two matches all of that 2014 season and just the one in 2021. The finals campaigns were a little different as back seven years, the black-and-whites won straight into the Grand Final with a second semi-final win over Claremont but in 2021, Swans lost the second semi to the Tigers.

However, Swans overcame East Fremantle last week in the preliminary final to now set up another fascinating Grand Final battle with Claremont this Saturday just like they had back in 2014.

Swan Districts led all day in the Grand Final, though, kicking four goals into the breeze in the opening quarter and then dominating the last term with the advantage of the wind and in the driving rain to end up winning 11.9 (75) to 7.13 (55).

That triumph with Trent Cooper as coach was Swan Districts' first premiership at any level since the 2010 league flag while it was Swans' first colts premiership since back-to-back successes in 2007 and 2008.

And the well has been dry since with Swan Districts not winning a male premiership at any level since that success in 2014 with the women's program carrying the flag at Steel Blue Oval.

It has been an interesting journey for a lot of those colts premiership players in the seven years since. Warrick Wilson remains a league footballer with Swan Districts but he's the only one.

Sean Fletcher, Chad Daniels, Jacob Coniglio, Jason Daniels, Ben Whitsed, Levi Ridley, Nelson Ansey, Ethan Maguire, Dylan Smith, Dylan Nelson, Lindsay Murray and Albert Dean all went on to play league football to some degree while Dean, Ansey, Coniglio and Fletcher ended up at other clubs.

Now looking at this Swan Districts team of 2021 and what a season they put together. They had a slip up against East Perth but finished the home and away season with a 15-1 record.

They lost against Claremont in the second semi-final but bounced back well to beat East Fremantle in a thrilling preliminary final on Sunday to now set up yet another Grand Final battle with the Tigers at Optus Stadium on Saturday.

Claremont booked their place in that game with a 41-point qualifying final win against East Perth, the only team to beat Swan Districts during the season, and the Tigers then scored the upset win over Swans.

Claremont prevailed by nine points in a terrific contest to mean that the Tigers have had a week's break to prepare for the Grand Final while the black-and-whites had to do it the hard way to get there.

Swan Districts did open up a 27-point half-time lead in the preliminary final against East Fremantle last Sunday, but the Sharks stormed home and got back as close as one-point at three quarter-time.

Swans stood tall in the finish to win by two points and then lock in their place in the Grand Final at Optus Stadium against Claremont.

It should be quite the fascinating contest. Swans have won 16 of their 18 games in 2021 but losing that second semi-final to Claremont means the Tigers deserve to come in confident on the back of that performance.

There are plenty of emerging stars to keep your eyes out for on both teams too with the match up in Claremont's forward-line between their key target Jacob Van Rooyen and Swan Districts' defender Rhett Bazzo one to especially keep a watch for.

Max Chipper is coming off a best on ground performance in the preliminary final for Swan Districts with 30 possessions while Ben Hewett finished with 18 disposals and Noah Hannan 17.

But Kendyll Blurton, Angus Sheldrick and ruckman Eric Benning were among the standouts too for Claremont in the second semi-final along with Van Rooyen who kicked four goals.

Swan Districts is attempting to win its first colts premiership since that 2014 triumph and eighth overall while Claremont continues to dominate the colts competition.

Prior to losing last year's Grand Final to Subiaco, Claremont had won colts premierships in 2009, 2012, 2015, 2016 and 2019. The Tigers are now attempting to win their fourth flag in the past seven years, sixth in the last 13 and 17th overall since breaking through in 1976 for the first time.