WAFL Round 6 Wrap
East Fremantle has reclaimed top spot on the ladder, claiming their biggest scalp of the 2022 season to dominate Subiaco at the WACA on Saturday.
The Sharks marked the return of WAFL at the venue with a comprehensive display over the reigning premiers, keeping the Lions to two goals in the opening three quarters on route to a 13.12 (90) to 6.10 (46) triumph.
In other results Mitch Dobson was the hero for West Perth, kicking a goal after the siren to claim the win for the Falcons in a tense finish against Perth at Arena Joondalup, Swan Districts recorded a second straight upset win at home over last year’s Grand Finalists South Fremantle, Peel Thunder was too strong for Claremont at Rushton Park while East Perth piled on the pain for West Coast, hammering the Eagles by 78 points at Leederville Oval.
The round started with a clash between Peel Thunder and Claremont at Rushton Park, starting at the earlier time of 11:30 AM to kick start a big Saturday of WAFL football.
The Tigers made a great start, kicking four first quarter goals to open up an early lead on a Thunder side that featured eleven Fremantle listed players.
The second term was a more dour affair, Peel fighting back to kick the only two goals of the quarter and gaining control around stoppages, scores level at the main break.
The home team dominated the third quarter, kicking six straight goals to blow the game wide open, capitalising on ruck dominance from big man Lloyd Meek, forwards Josh Treacy and Blair Bell the beneficiaries of sound ball movement inside 50.
A 35 point three quarter time lead had Peel well placed, Mitch Crowden playing an excellent game along with fellow Dockers Karl Worner and Connor Blakely.
Claremont fought back in the final term to reduce the lead to 16 points at one stage, but time ran out for Ash Prescott’s men as Peel steadied to win 12.12 (84) to 9.8 (62).
Crowden was amongst his side’s best with 27 disposals and 2 goals, Worner with 25 and a goal while Meek was best afield with 21 touches and 30 hitouts, far too strong for young Tigers ruckman Kieran Gowdie.
Reigning Sandover medallist Bailey Rogers had 36 touches in a gallant effort for his side, Jye Bolton with 25 and Ryan Lim continuing his fine season with 23 touches, former captain Jared Hardisty hitting the scoreboard with 2 goals from 20 disposals.
East Perth brushed aside West Coast with ease at Leederville, Angus Schumacher strengthening his claims for a mid-seaosn rookie spot on an AFL list with a dominant midfield display in a big Royals win.
The winless Eagles made a solid start, Dom Sheed and Elliot Yeo featuring in their side and dropped forward Hugh Dixon kicking two first term goals, the Royals with a narrow five point lead at the first break.
The game broke wide open in the second term as the home side slammed on eight unanswered goals, Angus Schumacher producing a dominant first half that saw him amass 20 disposals.
Former Eagles WAFL captain Hamish Brayshaw was having an impact in midfield and up forward, while Sebit Kuek was also impressing prospective AFL recruiters in another electric performance.
The third term was more even but the floodgates opened again in the last stanza, West Coast failing to score in the last term as the Royals powered away to a percentage boosting win, 18.10 (118) to 6.4 (40).
Schumacher, who has been an emergency for the Eagles on three occasions at AFL level this year and is a member of their covid top-up list had 38 disposals and kicked two majors, Kuek and Brayshaw each with three goals in a result that puts East Perth in the top four.
Yeo registered nine disposals in a half of football while Sheed had 18 touches in 80 minutes in his first game since his ankle injury in a pre-season match in February.
Dixon kicked 3 goals for West Coast while Joey Deegan had 28 disposals and Patrick Naish had 21 disposals in his first appearance at WAFL level, their year from hell going from bad to worse on the same day their AFL side lost by 101 points to the Western Bulldogs.
The 91.3 Sport FM broadcast game marked the return of WAFL football to the WACA for the first time in 28 years, East Fremantle hosting Subiaco in a big match for both clubs.
The Sharks headed in having won their past four matches, while reigning premiers Subiaco had won their last two games after slumping to 0-3 in the early weeks of the season.
In an arm wrestle of a first quarter East Fremantle controlled the football and won contested possession but failed to fully capitalise on the scoreboard, Jonathon Marsh breaking free of Angus Dewar to kick his side’s only two goals of the term.
Aaron Breman got the Lions on the board before quarter time with a neat snap, but it would prove to be Subiaco’s only goal of the half as the Sharks produced a superb half of football, Marsh with four first half majors to rip the game open and give his side a 27 point lead.
Jake Stergiou kicked a running goal to give the visitors some life in the third quarter but again East Fremantle had the answers, Brynn Teakle looking dangerous inside 50 along with Cody Leggett while Marsh was irresistible, kicking his fifth goal after sidestepping around Jordan Lockyer and slotting the goal on the run from 30 metres, Lockyer leaving the ground with a knee injury to compound Subiaco’s woes.
The contest was as good as over at the final break with the Sharks leading by 44 points, Blaine Boekhorst dominant in midfield along with Jarrad Jansen and Milan Murdock to complement the work of Marsh up forward.
Subiaco strung three goals together in a row to bring the margin under five goals, but there was to be no miraculous comeback as the Sharks steadied, Leggett with the last two goals of the game to finish with four in an East Fremantle win, 13.12 (90) to 6.10 (46).
Boekhorst had 37 touches to have a telling say on the game, Cameron Eardley with 30 and Murdock 27 in a strong Sharks performance that stamps their credentials as top 5 contenders, Marsh and Leggett sharing 9 goals between them up forward.
Subiaco’s dirty day was compounded by Lockyer’s knee injury, Kody Eaton and Liam Hickmott also wounded in a result that drops the Lions to 2-4 and with work to do in their premiership defence.
West Perth had to wait until after the final siren to snatch victory over a gallant Perth side at Arena Joondalup, Mitch Dobson kicking a goal after the siren to win the game for his new club in a dour low scoring contest.
The Demons were missing several first choice players due to health and safety protocols against a Falcons side that started the round on top of the table.
They endured a tough start to the contest, failing to score in the opening term and losing small forward Sam Stubbs to a knee injury as the Falcons took a 17 point lead in to the first change.
Garry Moss’ men hit back hard in the second term to kick four goals to one to take the lead at half time, West Perth in need of an answer in a game that had plenty of skill errors and was largely played between the 50 metre arc’s.
The Falcons regained control in the third term with the only two goals of the quarter, inaccurate in front of goal without any impact from star forward Tyler Keitel who was well held by Jack Avery.
With a breeze to the Northern end having a telling say on the game the Demons turned for home with the wind advantage, fighting back to level the scores in time on courtesy of a stunning Kristian Cary snap.
It looked like the game was headed for a draw until a long kick from Trent Manzone was marked by Mitch Dobson at the top of the goal square, the former Royal cooly slotting the winner after the final siren, becoming his team’s only multiple goal kicker in the game in the process in a memorable finish to the contest, West Perth’s fifth straight win 7.12 (54) to 7.6 (48).
Shane Nelson had 33 disposals in a strong showing in midfield while Manzone had 27 touches including the telling kick in the dying moments, Dobson with 24 disposals and 2.2 in his best game for his new club.
Kasey Nicholas had 30 disposals and took 8 marks in his best performance at WAFL level, the experience of Chris Mayne (25 disposals) also crucial but not quite enough to get Perth home, Avery keeping Keitel goalless in an impressive defensive performance.
Swan Districts might not have found consistency in season 2022, but they have claimed two big scalps to square their win-loss ledger at 3-3 with a nine point win over South Fremantle at Bassendean Oval.
The black and whites were undermanned heading in to the clash, without Tony Notte for the first time since 2011 as the dependable veteran missed the match with covid-19, ending his 194 game consecutive games streak.
Matthew Germs, Anthony Stevens and Sebastian Bright also missed for Swans, leaving them facing an uphill task against a South Fremantle side coming off a win over Peel Thunder at home.
Swans defied all pre-game predictions and produced a superb first quarter, kicking four goals as co-captain Chris Jones again led by example up forward.
South Fremantle midfielders Jake Florenca and Haiden Schloithe tried their best to inspire a Bulldogs revival but Swans kept them at arm’s length, Swan Districts debutant ruckman Brodie Morris doing well to combat rival big man Hamish Free.
The home side led by 14 points at the major break as the second half became more of an arm wrestle with goals hard to come by despite perfect conditions for football.
With the margin 15 points at the final change the home side kept Souths at bay for the first 15 minutes of the final term, striking gold through Brodie Kemp to push their lead to 21 and effectively put the game to bed.
Souths kept coming right till the final siren with consecutive goals to premiership stars Zach Strom and Schloithe, but they left their run too late as Swans clinched a close fought battle, their early dominance never overhauled in the 9.10 (64) to 8.7 (55) victory.
Sandover Medallist Sam Fisher had 31 touches in midfield for the winners while Jesse Turner had 23 kicks on his way to 31 disposals of his own, Jake Florenca continuing his dominant season for Souths with 33 disposals, Tom Blechynden with 25 touches and Toby McQuilkin 23 with all three in the minds of AFL recruiters ahead of this week's mid-season rookie draft.
After six rounds East Fremantle is top with five wins from six games, separated from West Perth by percentage with Claremont dropping a game behind in third spot with a 4-2 record.
East Perth and South Fremantle are 3-3 to sit inside the top four, Peel Thunder and Swan Districts also with the same record but with an inferior percentage.
Subiaco sit in eighth spot with Perth in ninth, the Eagles two games behind in bottom spot without a win and a percentage of 39.06.
Round seven will be played over the WA Day long weekend, Subiaco hosting Peel Thunder at Leederville, Claremont at home to Perth and Swan Districts facing West Coast all on Saturday June 4th before the traditional WA Day derbies on Monday 6th June, South Fremantle playing East Fremantle at Fremantle Oval and West Perth taking on East Perth at Arena Joondalup.
91.3 Sport FM will cover the Tigers-Demons clash on the Saturday before all eyes are on the Fremantle derby on Monday, another great round ahead in a wonderfully even season of WAFL football.
IMAGE: West Perth Facebook.