WAFL Round 8 Wrap
Perth has ended a ten year losing hoodoo to West Perth at Arena Joondalup in fine style, defeating the Falcons by ten points in wet conditions on Saturday.
The win puts Garry Moss’ men in to the top five for the first time since round one, the Falcons now in danger of sliding down the table in what could prove to be a decisive result for both clubs.
In other matches Swan Districts produced an eight goal second term to dispatch a disappointing East Fremantle at Bassendean Oval, Subiaco returned to top of the ladder with a 44 point win over Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval, Claremont pushed away from a plucky East Perth to win by 36 points at Revo Fitness Stadium while South Fremantle returned to the winners list with a 66 point thrashing of West Coast at Fremantle Oval.
Perth was after revenge when they made the trip to Arena Joondalup for their round eight clash with West Perth, the Falcons ending the Demons 2020 season last September with an 11-point win in the first semi-final.
The visitors would have to defy recent history to win the clash, West Perth having won the past 10 clashes between the sides at Arena Joondalup dating back to round 18, 2011.
Heavy morning rain made conditions slippery underfoot as West Perth edged ahead at quarter time by four points, not much in the contest due to the conditions as the Demons reduced the margin to just three points at half time, the visitors slightly wasteful in kicking 2.5.
Perth broke the game open in the third term, kicking four majors to push in front of the Falcons, Kristian Cary continuing his good form as he kicked two majors.
The rain arrived in the final term making scoring almost impossible, the only goal (and final score of the match) of the last stanza coming at the eight minute mark when Regan Clarke gave his side some breathing space with a major on the run.
Perth’s defence held up stoically, Matthew Taylor (29 disposals) fantastic all day while speedster Corey Bryne (30 disposals) and the experienced Haydn Busher (21 disposals and 6 marks) were also integral to the result.
Cary was again the standout forward on the ground with 2.4 for the team in red and black, Falcons small forward Keegan Knott his side’s only multiple goalkicker with two.
West Perth captain Aaron Black found plenty of the ball with 32 touches and Tristan Hobley had 28 disposals of his own, but it wasn’t enough as Geoff Valentine’s side slumped to their second home loss of the season.
The 7.6 (48) to 5.8 (38) result was almost the identical score line from last year’s first semi-final, only this time with the Demons saluting having gone down by 11 points in last year’s September contest.
In 91.3 Sport FM’s broadcast game, an eight goal burst in the second quarter from Swan Districts was the catalyst for a comfortable win over East Fremantle, the 16.9 (105) to 8.13 (61) pushing the Black Ducks back in to the top five.
East Fremantle started the better with the opening goal of the game through Tim Bockman but squandered their opportunities with 1.3 for the quarter, Swans taking their chances courtesy of Thomas Edwards and Jesse Palmer.
The game broke the black and whites way decisively in the second term as Swans midfielders Josh Cipro, Sam Fisher and Frank Anderson, four goals in seven minutes putting a margin between the sides that wouldn’t be overhauled for the remainder of the contest.
Palmer and Edwards were proving a superb one-two punch inside forward 50 as they shared five first half goals between them, East Fremantle conceding eight goals for the term while only able to score two themselves to trail by 39 points at the half.
Cipro was outstanding in midfield for Swan Districts, his long precise kicking a feature as the impactful player on the ground in the opening half.
East Fremantle moved experienced pair Cameron Eardley and Jonathon Marsh in to the middle for the third term and began to turn things around, kicking four of the first five goals of the term to close within 20 points.
Lachlan Riley and Aidan Clarke hit back for Swans as the Sharks run hit a road block, the final two goals of the term for the home side meaning it was a 33 point game at the last break.
As the light faded on a gloomy afternoon so did East Fremantle’s spirit, goals to Brayden Noble, Clarke and Frank Anderson ending the game as a contest.
The 44 point win was Swans first since round five, returning them to the top five in a performance that suggested they have what it takes to play finals football in 2021.
It was a second straight loss for East Fremantle, placing further pressure on Sharks coach Bill Monaghan ahead of a home Fremantle Derby on WA Day Monday week.
Frank Anderson (26 disposals) was his side’s leading disposal getter on the day, Cipro (22 touches and seven inside 50’s) as well as Jackson Beck (22) all finding plenty of the ball in a comprehensive triumph.
Cameron Eardley was outstanding for East Fremantle with 29 disposals, ten more than his closest team mate Jordan Snadden (19) while Luke Strnadica just about won his ruck battle with Corey Gault in winning 18 disposals, 39 hitouts and slotting a goal.
Nick Kommer kicked two goals but was his team’ only multiple goal kicker, again struggling for forward 50 potency while their opponents kicked 16 goals despite at times slippery conditions.
Claremont overcame a sluggish opening half to defeat ninth placed East Perth 14.12 (96) to 9.6 (60) at Revo Fitness Stadium, the Tigers recording their sixth win from seven matches to start the season.
It looked like it was going to be a long day for the Royals when the Tigers kicked the first two goals of the game inside ten minutes, but the Royals found a major of their own to find their feet in the contest.
East Perth were making the most of their opportunities inside 50 despite Claremont winning the territory battle and dominating clearances, Jeremy Barnard’s side only a point down at half time in a low scoring tussle.
Claremont ruckman Oliver Eastland began to win his hand to the ball at stoppages in a good battle with Royals big men Ajang Ajang and Scott Jones in the third term, the home side pulling away from a wounded opponent with four goals to two for the quarter.
There was to be no fightback from East Perth this time around as the Tigers slammed on six goals to three in the final term to record a comfortable 36 point win.
Claremont star Jye Bolton dominated in midfield with 34 disposals and a goal, Bailey Rogers (22 disposals and a goal) Ryan Lim (25 touches) and skipper Declan Mountford (21) all having their say on the result in tough conditions.
Jake Patmore and Jack Buller each kicked three for the winners, Patmore making his return from a cracked cheekbone in superb style.
Angus Scott was his side’s best player with 34 touches as stand in captain, Aidan Lynch with 26 touches and two goals, Nathan Blee (25) and Angus Schumacher (23) also having solid outings.
Jayden Magro slotted three majors for the Royals who now slump to a 1-6 record, their finals hopes almost certainly done and dusted if they can’t beat arch rivals West Perth on WA Day.
Subiaco’s dominant opening quarter was the cornerstone of their 44 point win over Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval, keeping their opponents scoreless while kicking 5.4 themselves to set up a comfortable victory.
The 11.17 (83) to 5.9 (39) result pushed the Lions back to top spot on the table, dominating field position and contested possession as the Lions experience told against a youthful Thunder team that featured eight Dockers listed players.
Peel failed to score in the opening term as the ball lived almost exclusively in the Lions forward half, Greg Clark, Harry Marsh and Lachlan Delahunty all having a telling impact.
Marsh had two majors by quarter time as the home side led by 34 points, never headed from there on as Peel strove for a way back in to the contest, all in vain.
Clark did his mid-season draft hopes no harm at all with 30 disposals, Delahunty with 30 touches of his own off a wing and Marsh compiling 24 disposals and kicking three goals.
Reece Conca had 27 touches to press his claims for a Fremantle recall for the Thunder, skipper Ben Howlett with two goals to be his side’s only multiple goalkicker.
Tyrone Thorne had 22 touches to also firm for a mid-season draft spot, Ben Hancock strong in midfield with 22 of his own but lacking support against a superior Subiaco outfit.
South Fremantle dominated West Coast at Fremantle Oval to bounce back to form with a win, Jimmy Miller with five first half goals to star in the 20.7 (127) to 9.7 (61) result that left the Eagles winless from seven matches.
Miller kicked three goals inside ten minutes to set an ominous tone for the match, the Eagles hitting back as the quarter progressed to only trail by 11 points at the first change.
A seven goal to nil second term put a gap between the teams as Miller saluted with a handful of majors inside the opening hour, Matthew Parker, Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw also feasting on an inexperienced Eagles defence.
With a 48 point half time margin in favour of the reigning premiers it would just be a matter of by how much for the Bulldogs, winning by 66 points thanks to an 8 goal to six second half.
Parker kicked four goals to go with 26 disposals in a powerful performance from the former Saint, debutant Toby McQuilkin with 23 disposals in an impressive maiden league appearance.
Ninyette and Shaw each kicked three goals while Haiden Schloithe had 35 disposals in midfield but failed to score, a rare feat for the dynamic midfielder.
The performance would have pleased coach Todd Curley as his side tries to find some spark in their premiership defence, bigger challenges lying ahead despite sitting comfortably in the top five with a 5-2 record.
Subiaco and Claremont are separated by less than a percentage point in first and second spot respectively with the Bulldogs a game further back in third, Swan Districts and Perth solidifying top five spots with impressive round eight wins.
Peel Thunder, East Fremantle and West Perth are all a game outside of the five with 3-4 win-loss records, East Perth (1-6) and West Coast (0-7) looking well of the pace now more than a third of a way through the season.
Round nine begins on Thursday night with Perth hosting Subiaco at Lathlain Park, followed by Saturday games between Claremont and West Coast at Revo Fitness Stadium and Peel Thunder clashing with Swan Districts at Rushton Park.
Monday’s traditional WA Day derbies between East and South Fremantle (East Fremantle Oval) and East and West Perth (Leederville Oval) complete the round, with 91.3 Sport FM to broadcast the Thunder-Swans and Royals-Falcons matches as part of a blockbuster long weekend of WAFL football.