WAFL Round 2 Wrap
Claremont has produced one of it’s finest home and away wins in club history, an undermanned Tigers outfit defeating Subiaco by 15 points at Revo Fitness Stadium.
It was the highlight of another outstanding round of football, three of the five games decided by 15 points or less with East Fremantle and West Perth securing their first wins of the 2022 season over Swan Districts and Peel Thunder respectively.
South Fremantle remained undefeated with a 76 point thrashing of West Coast at Fremantle Oval, while East Perth completed the round with an 82 point demolition of a disappointing Perth outfit at Lathlain Park.
South Fremantle kicked off Anzac round at home to West Coast, the Bulldogs narrow winners in round one while the Eagles suffered a narrow two point defeat to Perth.
It was an even start to the contest as the Eagles matched South Fremantle’s intensity around the ball, the red and whites holding a slender six point lead at quarter time.
The Bulldogs stamped their authority on their opponents in the second stanza, kicking 5.6 to just 1.1 to put a gap on the scoreboard that would only grow as the game progressed, Haiden Schloithe influential after his shock omission from the state squad during the week.
Small forwards Manfred Kelly and Brandon Donaldson were looking dangerous while talls Mason Shaw and Zach Strom were capitalising on great delivery in a game that became increasingly one sided.
A nine goal to three second half saw South Fremantle run away with the match, the Eagles fading much like their AFL counterparts as the Bulldogs won 17.14 (116) to 6.4 (40).
Schloithe (25 disposals) and Jake Florenca (24) continued their good start to the season, while defenders Toby McQuilkin (23 disposals and 11 marks) and Chad Pearson (21 disposals and 9 marks) mopped up many an Eagles attacking foray.
Donaldson, Strom and Caleb Datson all kicked three majors while Shaw had a rare off day in front of goal, registering 2.4 in a big win for his side.
Greg Clark pressed his claims for an AFL debut with 25 disposals for West Coast, Josh Rotham with 20 disposals after being dropped back to the WAFL while Sam Petrevski-Seton (18 touches and a goal) also had a solid outing.
Swan Districts first home game of 2022 had some late drama in the build up to the bounce, a number of players and staff testing positive to covid-19 and ruled out of the match to leave the black and whites undermanned.
It didn’t seem to bother them in the opening term against fellow winless side East Fremantle, kicking five goals to three to jump to an early lead.
Dillon O’Reilly was causing headaches up forward for the Sharks but was lacking support and supply, Aidan Clarke, Jesse Turner, Sam Fisher and Tobe Watson all running rampant in midfield for Swans.
A 26 point lead at half time was a fair reflection of the game, Swan Districts playing with more vigour and speed on ball movement.
East Fremantle began to make their move in the third term, kicking the only two goals of the quarter as former Swan Blaine Boekhorst and reigning best and fairest Kyle Baskerville lifted their team off the canvas.
Swans were still in front at the final change and when they kicked the first goal of the final quarter the lead was back out to 20 points, only for the Sharks to kick four consecutive goals to claim the lead.
Ryan Lester-Smith’s goal at the 17 minute mark of the last term saw the lead change hands, only for Aidan Clarke to goal moments later to give Swans back the lead.
The tide eventually burst though with East Fremantle gaining ascendency around the ball and going inside 50, O’Reilly putting the Sharks in front with just minutes left on the clock, Lester-Smith sealing the game with another major to give the visitors a pulsating victory, 13.11 (89) to 12.8 (80).
Swans simply ran out of legs to suffer a second loss in succession by less than ten points, East Fremantle breaking through for their first win of the season.
Kyle Baskerville was outstanding with 39 disposals for the winners, Boekhorst with arguably his best game for the Sharks with 33 disposals and 3 goals while Milan Murdock (31 disposals) and Cameron Eardley (25) also had an impact.
Clarke (33 disposals and a goal) and Turner (33 and 2) were valiant in defeat for the black and whites, Jesse Palmer with three goals up forward.
The 91.3 Sport FM game of the day was Claremont and Subiaco from Revo Fitness Stadium, the reigning premiers coming off a rare round one loss to South Fremantle.
Claremont were decimated by an outbreak of covid-19 within their playing group, forced to make 14 changes from their round one win over West Perth.
8 debutants turned out as a result for the Tigers, Ash Prescott’s side losing 612 games of experience and only gaining 96 in return in what loomed as a tough assignment for the home side.
The Lions made a fast start in the opening term, kicking four goals to one with Ben Sokol looking ominous with a pair of majors.
When Aaron Breman kicked the first goal of the second term the margin was out to 25 points, the match very much going to script with Claremont severely undermanned.
The game then changed complexion in a remarkable transformation, Ben Elliott producing a dominant term along with Ben Edwards with Timm House capitalising up forward as the teams went in to the changerooms at half time with scores level.
Elliott had 18 disposals and kicked two goals in just his fifth senior game, House a strong target in attack with three goals while Edwards speed stood out in a dominant display in midfield.
Claremont’s leg speed was causing the more experienced Subiaco serious problems, Patrick Kitchener and Lawrence Evans electric inside 50 as they broke the game open, leading by 15 points at the final break.
Both teams tired in the final term on a warm afternoon, several players helped from the ground with cramp as the Lions looked to make one final push for victory.
The margin was in single figures when Sokol slotted a boundary line major, but the Tigers would not be denied as Max Minear stood up with a big contested mark in the left forward pocket, able to snap what proved the match sealing goal for his side.
The siren sounded to seal a memorable win for Claremont, one of their finest home and away wins in club history faced with such adversity in the lead up to the game, a 13.11 (89) to 11.8 (74) victory to savour for Prescott’s men to remain undefeated.
It leaves Subiaco winless through two rounds for the first time since 2001, a decisive early season clash with West Perth looming in round three.
Stand in captain Ryan Lim was outstanding for Claremont with 37 disposals, Edwards with 33 disposals while Elliott staked his claims to stay in the side longer term with 32 touches and three crucial goals, House with 4 goals from 8 marks in a strong showing up forward.
Subiaco was best served by captain Leigh Kitchin with 26 disposals, Stefan Giro (26 and 1.1) and Lachlan Delahunty (23) all able to hold their heads high even in defeat.
Sunday football saw the north and south points of the compass collide, West Perth making the long pilgrimage to Rushton Park to face Peel Thunder.
With key players Tyler Keitel, Aaron Black and Luke Meadows all absent due to health and safety protocols the Falcons faced a stern challenge against a Peel side that featured nine Fremantle listed players, Lloyd Meek withdrawn late with Sean Darcy’s injury at AFL level against Carlton the previous evening.
West Perth made a barnstorming start, kicking seven first quarter goals as Keegan Knott slotted two first term majors.
Peel hit back hard in the second term as Jye Amiss hit the scoreboard along with Josh Treacy, six goals to two leaving the margin just 12 points at the long break.
Neil Erasmus was having a dominant day in midfield on Peel Thunder debut, fellow Docker Karl Worner also influential along with Mitch Crowden and Haydn Matthews.
The Thunder took the lead in the third term as Amiss and Treacy loomed large for the home side, the Falcons staying in touch with Sam Rotham and Knott their main targets inside 50, while debutant Luke Reilly also popped up with a pair of majors.
West Perth wrestled back the lead in a terrific contest to head in to the final quarter with a nine point advantage, both teams trading goals at the start of the last term.
Knott’s fourth goal had the margin out to 13 points halfway through the final term, time running out for Peel despite pushing their opponents all the way to the finish line.
Amiss kicked two late goals to give him five for the afternoon, but Mitch Dobson and Sam Rotham answered either side of those majors to keep their side ahead when the final siren sounded, another terrific game of WAFL football played in front of a good crowd on a Sunday afternoon.
Trent Manzone had 26 disposals and kicked a goal to among his side’s best players, Shane Nelson (25) his usual industrious self while brothers Conal (22) and Aidan Lynch (20) had an impact for the Falcons, Knott with four majors to cover the loss of spearhead Keitel.
Amiss and Treacy combined for 9.0 between them while Erasmus showed his class with 34 disposals, Worner with 27 touches to continue his push for a Fremantle debut, Peel slumping to their first loss of the season.
The final game of an extraordinary round saw Perth host East Perth at Lathlain Park, the Demons under the leadership of caretaker coach Steven Armstrong with Garry Moss absent due to health and safety protocols, Armstrong joining his father Gary and grandfather Ken as a third-generation coach of the club.
With both teams coming off round one wins it was a match that promised plenty for two teams that struggled in 2021, East Perth bursting out of the blocks with six first term goals to stun the home side.
Scott Jones dominated the ruck battle with former team mate Ajang Ajang, giving his midfield brigade first use with Hamish Brayshaw and Angus Schumacher the main beneficiaries.
The domination continued in the second term, East Perth slamming on another five goals to just one from Perth as the margin blew out for 43 points at half time.
East Perth’s backline was providing spark and run with Kye Willcocks, Stan Wright and Jacob Msando launching many an attacking foray from the back half, the Demons stagnant and making poor decisions going forward.
There was no second half fightback from the home side, Sebit Kuek electrifying the crowd with three goals in the third term to showcase his talent in just game number nine.
A dark night for the Demons was closed out with a goalless final quarter, kicking seven behinds while the Royals slammed on another four goals to win by a whopping 81 points, 20.10 (130) to 6.13 (49).
Kuek and former Falcon Tom Medhat each finished with four goals for East Perth, twelve players kicking a major in a complete team performance.
Schumacher had 32 disposals and six inside 50’s in a dominant display in midfield, Willcocks with 28 touches and a memorable first goal celebration in what was his 38th senior game.
Perth had few winners on a tough night, Michael Sinclair with 26 touches, Regan Clarke with 24 and Brayden Ainworth 23 but none able to impact the match in a telling way.
Three teams remain undefeated after two rounds, South Fremantle, Claremont and East Perth all making positive strides in to season 2022 with Peel Thunder, West Perth, East Fremantle and Perth halving their first fortnight of footy.
Swan Districts, Subiaco and West Coast are still hunting their first win heading in to round three, Sport FM’s broadcast match South Fremantle and Claremont at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
IMAGE: The West Australian.