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WAFL Round 3 Wrap

Claremont remains the only undefeated side in the WAFL competition after three rounds, claiming a tense hard fought 11 point win over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.

In other results East Fremantle marked their trip to Northampton with a ten point win over East Perth, Jonathon Marsh the hero with six goals in a match heavily affected by a strong breeze to the northern end of the ground.

West Perth continued Subiaco’s tough start to their premiership defence with a 31 point triumph at Leederville Oval, while a Lathlain Park double header saw Peel Thunder continue West Coast’s miserable weekend with a 55 point demolition before Swan Districts charged home to win a thriller under lights over Perth to record their first win of the season.

Northampton Oval hosted it’s first game of WAFL football to commence round 3, the match played to raise funds for communities affected by cyclone Seroja that had devastated the town 12 months previous.

Part of East Fremantle’s strong north-west footballing region, the blue and whites burst out of the blocks with a ten goal first quarter, kicking with the aid of a strong breeze.

Jonathon Marsh was in sensational form, kicking four first quarter goals as the Sharks produced one of their finest opening terms in recent memory.

Northampton product Brynn Teakle also kicked two majors in front of his family and friends in a lovely moment for a strong local crowd, the Royals only able to kick one goal for the term to trail by a whopping 54 points at quarter time.

The Royals had their chance with the wind in the second quarter, kicking five goals and keeping the Sharks to just a behind to work their way back in to the match, midfielders Jackson Ramsay and Angus Schumacher prominent while Thomas Edwards-Baldwin and Nick Robertson looked the most likely targets in attack.

Scoring to the southern end was proving hard for both sides and so it proved again in the third term, East Perth only able to kick 1.1 while East Fremantle got moving again, registering 3.4 with Marsh kicking two of those to give him 6 goals for the afternoon, Bill Monaghan’s side 40 points up at the final change.

The Royals weren’t done just yet though, making a charge in the final term as East Fremantle struggled to penetrate kicking against the breeze.

They would manage only four behinds for the quarter but East Perth ran out of time to snatch a come from behind win, kicking 5.4 for the term to fall ten points short in a remarkable match, 13.13 (91) to 12.9 (81).

Marsh kicked 6.2 in a domineering performance up forward for the winners while Cameron Eardley had 40 disposals, Kyle Baskerville (29 disposals and 1 goal) and Milan Murdock (27 disposals) also having a telling impact on the result, while East Fremantle captain Matthew Jupp kept Eddie Simpson goalless in another fine showing deep in defence.

The Royals will rue giving up such a headstart, arguably having the best of the next three quarters but conceding ten first term majors to make their task too difficult to overcome.

Ramsay (32 disposals) led from the front while Schumacher’s good form continued with 31 touches and a goal, Robertson and Edwards-Baldwin with three goals each as the Royals suffered their first loss of the season.

In the 91.3 Sport FM broadcast game Claremont made a familiar track to Fremantle Oval for clash with South Fremantle, ten of the previous eleven meetings being at the venue between the sides including five finals matches.

Having met in a series of tight matches over recent seasons this match had all the hallmarks of a similarly tight contest early, Jack Buller kicking two goals for the Tigers on return to the side from suspension while Mason Shaw looked dangerous for South Fremantle, kicking 1.2 in the first term as Claremont took a four point lead in to the first change.

Ash Prescott’s side had welcomed back ten players who missed the round two win over Subiaco, Bailey Rogers having a telling impact in midfield to give his team a four goal lead halfway through the second term.

South Fremantle hit back in the run to half time, Jake Florenca finding plenty of the ball while Zachary Strom had two first half goals to his name to cut Claremont’s lead to just seven points at the half time break.

The home team had the better of play in the third stanza, kicking three goals to one as the lead changed hands, Haiden Schloithe’s sidestep and goal from the left forward pocket the highlight for the red and whites after Rogers had slotted a boundary line belter of his own for Claremont earlier in the quarter.

Lawrence Evans kicked the first goal of his career early in the final term to reduce the Bulldogs lead to just two points, the Tigers having all the play at their end of the ground but unable to capitalise, kicking four consecutive behinds to keep the door open for South Fremantle.

Eventually Ryan Lim’s hurried snap found the major opening for the Tigers, giving them an eight point lead and some breathing space in a typically tight battle.

South Fremantle failed to kick a goal in the final term as time expired, Claremont’s leaders Lim, Rogers and Jye Bolton all having a huge impact to keep the Tigers as the only undefeated team in season 2022.

Lim was again amongst his side’s best players with 33 disposals, Ben Edwards his zippy self with 28 touches while Rogers was best afield with 27 disposals and 3 goals, showing no signs of ill effects having missed round two due to covid-19.

Jake Florenca was the best player for South Fremantle, his fine start to the season continuing with 38 disposals and a goal while Schloithe had 24 touches and a major of his own, unable to run out the match having lost several stars during the week to covid health and safety protocols.

Subiaco’s hopes of winning consecutive premierships took another hit on Saturday, West Perth handing them a third straight loss at Leederville Oval.

The Lions suffered defeats to South Fremantle and Claremont in the first two rounds with undermanned teams due to covid-19, and lost gun recruit Stefan Giro to the same ailment in the build up to the clash, leaving them further undermanned.

The Falcons by contrast welcomed back Aaron Black, Luke Meadows and Tyler Keitel for the contest at Leederville Oval, West Perth’s old home ground before relocating to Joondalup in the early 1990’s.

The visitors made a fast start, kicking five goals to two in the opening term to put a gap between the teams that would never be hunted down, Beau Wardman’s side playing catch up for the remainder of the match.

Keegan Knott was electric up forward to continue his fine form in season 2022, while the return of Keitel and the improved form of Sam Rotham in attack left the Lions defence under pressure despite the return of Angus Dewar.

An even contribution from all 22 players was the standout nature of the performance for Darren Harris’ men, big man Troy Yukich registering over 40 hitouts for a second straight match in a fascinating battle with Lachlan Delahunty, who finished with 31 disposals and 25 hitouts.

Up by 30 points at half time there was no letting up after the main change from West Perth in glorious conditions, Knott finishing with four goals and Keitel three as the Falcons ran out winners 16.4 (100) to 10.9 (69).

Conal Lynch finished his side’s leading disposal getter with 23 touches and a goal, Aaron Black, Luke Meadows and Trent Manzone each with 22 in a great Falcons triumph.

Subiaco slip to 0-3 for the first time since 1994, in desperate need of a win in round four to turn around a sluggish start without their best side on the park. For the record, the Lions made the finals in 1994 despite a poor start to that season.

Peel Thunder responded strongly from a round two loss to West Perth, handing West Coast a 55-point belting in the first of two games at Mineral Resources Park.

Peel were never really headed against a wounded Eagles side with only eight AFL listed players, kicking five goals to two in the first term before West Coast made more of a game of it in the second stanza, trailing by 21 points at the half.

Peel powered away in the second half as their tall forwards loomed large, young Wade Derksen kicking four goals in just his second WAFL game, joining the club after time with Northern Territory Football League side Nightcliff.

Dockers duo Jye Amiss and Sam Sturt each kicked three goals as did dual premiership forward Blair Bell, Peel’s scoring potency shown in their 19.6 (120) to 10.5 (65) win.

To make things worse for West Coast Zac Langdon failed to finish the match due to a foot injury, Jack Williams one of few shining lights as he kicked three majors while Jack Petruccelle also kicked two goals from 16 disposals.

Jermaine Jones enjoyed some more midfield time to record 26 disposals, while Josh Rotham pressed for a recall with 21 disposals and 7 marks.

Forgotten Docker Connor Blakely had 31 disposals having missed round two due to covid-19, while Derksen had 22 touches to go with his four goals, Peel looking a finals threat in season 2022.

In a rare WAFL double header Perth and Swan Districts faced off immediately after the Eagles-Thunder clash, Swans still looking for their first win of the season and the Demons looking to respond from an 81 point loss to East Perth.

After an even first quarter that saw scores level the Demons dominated the second term, kicking four goals to none to open up a 22 point lead at half time.

When Fraser McInnes kicked the first goal of the second half the margin was out to 28 and Swans were staring down the barrel of a 0-3 start.

The black and whites rallied with a five goal run either side of three quarter time to take the lead, co-captain Chris Jones kicking three goals in a strong showing up forward.

It set up a final quarter arm wrestle, goals to Greg Ottiviano and Sebastian Bright seeing Swans pull out to a 14 point lead as time on arrived, almost home in a game of momentum swings.

Perth kept coming right to the finish line, a McInnes goal in the dying moments bringing the margin under a straight kick but the final siren sounded with Swans in front, 12.6 (78) to 10.13 (73).

Having won a thriller themselves in round one this time Garry Moss’ men finished on the wrong side of the result, Swans breaking through for a much needed win after two narrow losses to start the season.

Sandover medallist Sam Fisher had 27 touches for the winners, former Docker Tobe Watson looking at home in a new midfield role with 26 touches, Jones and Thomas Edwards with three goals to have a say in the result.

Reigning Perth best and fairest Corey Byrne had 34 disposals to try his hardest to lift his side over the line, McInnes with 23 disposals, 3 goals and ten inside 50’s in a strong showing from the co-captain while ruckman Dakota Baldwin-Wright showed his young talent with 20 disposals and 33 hitouts in a good battle with Matthew Germs.

Claremont sits top of the ladder after three rounds, South Fremantle, East Perth, Peel Thunder, West Perth and East Fremantle all sitting on 2-1 records.

Swan Districts and Perth are both 1-2 sitting in seventh and eighth respectively while Subiaco and West Coast are the only two teams without wins three rounds in to the season.

Round four sees Swan Districts host Claremont, East Perth face co-tenants Subiaco, Peel Thunder play Perth, East Fremantle meet West Coast in their first home clash at the WACA while 91.3 Sport FM’s broadcast game is at Arena Joondalup between West Perth and South Fremantle.

IMAGE: The West Australian.