Swans record consolation win
Swan Districts made it consecutive wins to finish the 2020 WAFL season, defeating East Fremantle by 31 points at East Fremantle Oval on Sunday.
In a match that held no significance to the makeup of the final four it was the black and whites who finished the year the happier, recording their third win of 2020 in an 11.9 (75) to 6.8 (44) triumph.
The Sharks made a sluggish start kicking with the aid of the breeze, Luke Strnadica kicking his side’s only goal of the quarter after a strong mark 15 metres out from goal.
Veteran Matt Riggio celebrated his 200th game for the club with a first term goal as a strong wind made scoring difficult, the Sharks by a solitary point at the first break.
East Fremantle lost young forward Lachlan Bailey for the remainder of the day before the first change due to concussion, copping a stray elbow from Swans ruckman Corey Gault before hitting his head on the turf, taken from the field on a stretcher.
Swans midfielder Jesse Turner opened the second quarter with two long range majors as his side made better use of the breeze, before Milan Murdock and Ryan Lester-Smith kicked consecutive goals to return the lead to the home side.
It sparked the visitors in to action, as they kicked the final four goals of the quarter to take control of the match, the highlight a Lachlan Riley goal from the attacking point of the centre square that bounced through at right ankles for a 65 metre major.
Tom Monaghan broke Swans goal scoring run early in the third term, but the black ducks found two third term goals against the breeze to the Marmion Street end through Brayden Noble and Sam Fisher, giving them an impregnable 29 point break at the final change.
The Sharks closed to within 18 points with the first two goals of the last but there was no final hurrah for the blue and whites, Turner slotting his third goal and Riley volleying through his second from the goal square to make certain of the result.
Turner was best afield with 32 disposals and 3 goals in a domineering midfield performance, Fisher with 28 and a goal of his own as the two telling contributors in the heart of the ground, Corey Gault (22 disposals and 23 hitouts) winning his individual ruck battle with retiring Sharks skipper Jonathon Griffin.
Cameron Eardley worked his way in to the game after a slow start to finish with 26 disposals for East Fremantle, Blaine Boekhorst with 26 touches of his own but missing three opportunities in front of goal.
Strnadica was his side’s only multiple goal scorer in a season that saw the success starved club record only one win, in round two against Peel Thunder who finished the season in last spot without a victory.
Swans finished in seventh spot two wins clear of their opponents, now with some hope and optimism heading in to 2021.
Former East Perth midfielder Steven Payne was chaired off by team mates after the match, in his 150th and final WAFL match having begun his career in 2011.
Next Sunday the 2020 WAFL finals series will commence with the two semi-finals, the first semi-final eliminator between West Perth and Perth at Arena Joondalup at 1:35 PM and the second semi-final qualifier between South Fremantle and Claremont at Fremantle Oval at 2:30 PM.
IMAGE: WAFL website.