WAFL Finals Week One Wrap
Peel Thunder has ended South Fremantle’s season, surging home with an eight goal second half at Fremantle Oval in the elimination final on Sunday.
With 14 AFL listed players in their side it was Sam Sturt and Lloyd Meek who led the Peel revival, Souths left to rue squandered chances in the 10.10 (70) to 8.13 (61) result.
South Fremantle looked the better team for the first half in star premiership duo Haiden Schloithe (200th) and Chad Pearson’s (100th) milestone matches, kicking the only two goals of the first term and four of the game’s first five goals.
Dylan Main was looking a threat inside 50 along with Mason Shaw and Blake Schlensog, Souths pressure around the ball immense as Hamish Free halved his battle with Lloyd Meek in the ruck.
Schloithe was running amok in midfield with 18 first half touches, the red and whites 16 points up at the half despite being somewhat wasteful with 4.9.
The game turned in the third term as Meek began to win the ball out of the middle for Peel, Matt Taberner and Sam Sturt capitalising on swift ball movement as the visitors kicked six goals to two to turn for home with a seven-point lead.
Main and Schlensog benefited from free kicks inside 50 to put Souths back in front early in the final term, only for Sturt to convert a strong grab in to a major at the 17 minute mark to put his team back ahead.
Mitch Crowden was the hero for Peel, scrounging a goal from a stoppage to put his side more than a goal ahead in the dying stages.
South Fremantle were left to rue missed opportunities against a strong Peel side, Schloithe with 27 disposals in his 200th and likely final game of football after a stellar career.
Nathan Wilson’s speed out of the back half proved crucial for Peel with 26 touches, while Sturt kicked 3 majors to couple Taberner’s two, Peel moving on to a first semi-final while the Bulldogs dream of a premiership are now over in season 2022.
Peel will face Claremont in a cutthroat semi-final next week after the Tigers fell to the highly impressive East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval, the Sharks now to face West Perth in the second semi-final.
The Sharks controlled the clash from the outset, booting four goals in the first term and dominating around stoppages as Claremont lost key defender Steven Miller early to a knee injury.
The Sharks forwards were capitalising on territory dominance, kicking seven goals in the opening half to open up a 29-point half time lead, small forwards Alex Montauban and Corey Holmes each with two majors.
The lead pushed out for 48 early in the third term to seemingly put the game beyond doubt, only for Claremont to rally to kick the last four goals of the term and keep the door ajar for a comeback, Easts leading by 17 points with a quarter to play.
The Sharks came home with the wind in the last term and put the result to bed, kicking six goals to one in a superb team performance that included ten individual goalkickers in the 16.10 (106) to 8.10 (58) score line.
Jonathon Marsh and Montauban each kicked three majors for East Fremantle, Cameron Eardley superb with 32 disposals across half back while Kyle Baskerville’s stoppage work was a highlight of his 27 disposals.
Lachlan Martinis tried hard with a game high 34 disposals and Ben Edwards finished with 26 but without his usual impact, the Tigers now to face Peel in week two to keep their season alive.
West Perth will face East Fremantle in the second semi-final at Joondalup next Saturday, the winner to progress straight through to the Grand Final.
The loser will face the winner of Claremont and Peel Thunder at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday, in what promises to be an absorbing second week of the WAFL Finals series.
You will hear both matches on 91.3 Sport FM.
IMAGE: The West Australian.