WAFL Round 9 Wrap
An eight goal haul from Falcons spearhead Tyler Keitel helped his side to a crushing 43 point win over rivals East Perth, as part of round 9 of the WAFL competition on the WA Day long weekend.
South Fremantle won an 11th straight derby over East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval, Mason Shaw and Cody Ninyette combining for eight goals between them in a 16 point triumph in front of a healthy crowd at Shark Park.
Earlier in the round Subiaco trounced Perth at Lathlain Park, Claremont did just enough to edge out an improved West Coast at Revo Fitness Stadium and Swan Districts saw off an inaccurate Peel Thunder at Rushton Park.
The round began on Thursday night under lights at Lathlain Park, with Subiaco trouncing an undermanned Perth by 98 points to stamp their premiership credentials.
With as many as 12 of their best 22 missing the Demons came in to the game wounded and then lost important defender Matthew Taylor before half time with a punctured lung and broken ribs, the damage well and truly done before the major break as the Lions dominated the contest.
Ben Sokol began in ominous touch, the 2019 Bernie Naylor Medallist slotting five majors in the first 25 minutes of the contest as the visitors jumped out to a 40 point lead at the first change.
Sokol had six before half time as the Demons couldn’t find a way to get back in to the game in the second term, only registering three behinds after failing to score at all in the opening half hour.
The Lions midfield brigade of Greg Clark, Leigh Kitchin, Harry Marsh and Lachlan Delahunty was too good for a Perth line up missing Brady Grey, Haydn Busher, Fraser McInnes and Josh Smith amongst others.
Clark brushed aside the tag of Andrew Fisher with ease, the Demons midfielder with no answer despite having quelled Haiden Schloithe a fortnight earlier.
Having led by 61 points at half time the margin pushed out even further in the third stanza with the Demons still unable to find their first goal as a late Leigh Kitchin goal made the margin a monstrous 94 points at the last change.
The interest that remained in the game was whether Perth could register a major on a bitterly disappointing night, Simon Hayward answering the home fans prayers with their first and only major from a set shot from 30 metres.
The 16.13 (109) to 1.5 (11) score line reflected the Lions dominance come the final siren, Sokol with 6.3 in an imposing performance up forward while Clark had 42 disposals and 8 inside 50’s to be the best midfielder on the ground.
Only defender Austin Davis had 20 disposals for Perth, who only had 238 disposals for the match compared to their opponents 392, while the inside 50 count of 55-34 made for grim reading for Demons fans.
Many anticipated a similar margin of victory for Claremont in their clash with bottom placed West Coast on Saturday at Revo Fitness Stadium, the Eagles strengthened by mid-week rookie draft selections Will Collins and Connor West as well as son of a gun Zane Sumich for the clash.
The visitors started well but squandered numerous opportunities in the first quarter, registering 3.7 to their opponents 5.0 to trail narrowly at quarter time.
Daniel Pratt’s side was playing with renewed confidence with gun recruit West dominating in the opening half, recording 20 disposals to make his case for an AFL debut.
The Eagles led by as much as 16 points before the Tigers kicked in to gear, their powerful midfield group of Jye Bolton, Bailey Rogers, Kane Mitchell and Ryan Lim all finding plenty of football.
Keiran Hug and Cooper Nitschke shared six goals between them to keep the Eagles in it, but ultimately Claremont had too much class as they pushed away to win by 27 points, 14.9 (93) to 9.12 (66).
Bolton had an astounding 49 disposals for the Tigers to press his claims for a third Sandover Medal of a glittering career, Rogers with 37, backman Lachie Martinis accumulating 36 and Lim with 30 as the home side racked up 431 disposals on the afternoon.
West was the Eagles leading disposal winner in an impressive debut with 29, skipper Hamish Brayshaw (26) and Mark Hutchings (24) able to find plenty of ball while Nitschke and Hug each kicked three goals in West Coast’s best performance of the season.
Peel Thunder caught alignment side Fremantle’s goalkicking bug on Saturday at Rushton Park, kicking 7.17 to let a crucial game slip through their fingertips against Swan Districts.
Both sides struggled to find the scoreboard early with no goals scored in the opening twenty minutes, Swans pulling away with three straight goals in time on to lead by 14 points at quarter time.
The visitors midfield brigade of Sam Fisher, Josh Cipro and Frank Anderson was proving a potent one, Peel raising their game in the second term but kicking inaccurately to register seven straight behinds after Stefan Giro started the term with back to back goals.
The game went up a gear in the third term as the sides traded goals in a match that was vital for both teams finals hopes, the lead changing hands several times during the term before a Ben Howlett goal put the Thunder in front after the three quarter time siren.
It would be their final goal of the contest however, Swans rallying in the last with early goals to forwards Jesse Palmer, Thomas Edwards and Lachlan Riley enough to push away from Peel.
Cam Shepherd’s side attacked relentlessly in the final 15 minutes but Swans repelled thanks to their back six led by Tony Notte and Alex Howard, holding on for a 10.7 (67) to 7.17 (59) triumph.
Peel had a remarkable 22 more inside 50’s and seven more scoring shots but were left to rue several simple opportunities missed throughout the game, Swans taking their chances to record a second straight win.
Frank Anderson was magnificent in midfield with 24 disposals and 11 tackles, Jesse Turner (24) and Sam Fisher (23) also having a telling impact on the result, Warwick Wilson and Lachlan Riley the multiple goal scorers on the afternoon for the winners.
Peel’s plight was perhaps best summed up by midfielder Ben Hancock, who began the third term by kicking the ball the wrong way, kicking the ball long from outside 50 to Swans goal line where Wilson took a mark and goaled.
Jackson Merrett (23 disposals and a goal), Michael Randall (22 disposals) and Brett Bewley (21) all tried hard but it wasn’t enough in skipper Ben Howlett’s 100th WAFL game, the Thunder now a game plus percentage outside of the top four through eight matches.
The WA Day public holiday Monday saw traditional rivals East and West Perth and East and South Fremantle clash, the Royals hosting the Falcons while the Sharks had home ground advantage against the Bulldogs, looking to break a ten-game losing streak in Fremantle derbies in the process.
It looked like it would be a long afternoon for the Sharks when the Bulldogs kicked the first three goals of the contest, but Bill Monaghan’s side responded with three of the last four goals to only trail by a goal at quarter time.
Both teams were cracking in in a willing contest, the Sharks able to quell the influence of star midfielder Haiden Schloithe who appeared frustrated by the tactics of tagger Morgan Davies throughout.
Hugh Dixon was providing a target in attack for the home side after returning from a shoulder injury, but Mason Shaw and Cody Ninyette were proving a perfect foil for the Bulldogs, who edged ahead by 11 points at the half.
South Fremantle broke the game wide open in the third term kicking four goals to none, Schloithe having an impact as he broke free of Davies to have some telling possessions for the red and whites.
Skipper Dylan Main and athletic big man Zach Strom were everywhere for Souths, the Sharks two players down with Dillon O’Reilly (finger) and Cody Leggett (hamstring) ruled out.
The Bulldogs had already lost Kye Barker for the day in the opening quarter due to concussion but were close to landing the knockout blow on their opponents by the final break leading by 36 points.
East Fremantle launched a comeback in the last quarter to close late but couldn’t get close enough, Tim Bockman and Hugh Dixon each kicking three majors in an ultimately losing cause 11.8 (74) to 8.10 (58).
The main story was down the other end, Shaw and Ninyette with four goals apiece in their 11th straight derby win, the Sharks having not tasted success in the Fremantle derby since WA day 2016.
Dylan Main starred with 30 disposals, while Zach Strom had 26 and Chad Pearson had 18 in a solid showing down back.
Cameron Eardley continued his career best season with 31 disposals for the Sharks, Jarrad Jansen with 21 and skipper Matthew Jupp typically honest with 18 disposals and 10 marks.
West Perth dominated their derby with East Perth at Leederville Oval, a barnstorming seven goal opening term setting the tone for the 19.5 (119) to 11.10 (76) result.
The Falcons flew to a four goal to nil start after ten minutes and were never headed from there, Keegan Knott and Rudy Riddoch electric early.
East Perth’s skills let them down as the Falcons capitalised, a 36 point margin at quarter time pushing out even further in the second term as Tyler Keitel kicked four consecutive goals for his side bracketing quarter time.
Midfielders Angus Schumacher and Stan Wright tried to lift the Royals but didn’t have enough support, West Perth overcoming the loss of star young gun Connor West mid-week through stalwarts Aaron Black and Shane Nelson.
Leading by 40 points at the half it became the Keitel show in the third, kicking three more goals to equal his career high of seven with well over a quarter to play, Mitchell Antonio adding two majors of his own in a dominant display.
The Royals fought hard for some consolation goals in the final term, booting five goals to two to reduce the margin to 43 points, Keitel finishing with 8.1 before limping from the ground in the dying moments with an ankle injury.
With a week off due to the bye the Falcons spearhead should be fine for their next clash with Swan Districts in a fortnight’s time in round 11, now leading the Bernie Naylor Medal with 26 goals from 8 games.
Shane Nelson had 33 disposals for West Perth to continue his prolific record against the Royals (he averages 30 disposals per game over 26 matches) while Black had 30 touches, Tristan Hobley with 28 disposals while Knott and Antonio each kicked three for the winners.
Schumacher was clearly his side’s best player with 32 disposals, Rohan Kerr with 31 and Stan Wright having 27, but it was a case of too much left to too few for the embattled Royals, who’s finals hopes appear all but over having slumped to their seventh loss in eight games.
Subiaco and Claremont occupy the top two spots on the table with 7-1 win-loss records, South Fremantle (6-2) in third followed by Swan Disticts (5-3) and West Perth (4-4).
The Demons big loss pushes them outside of the five on percentage, Peel Thunder and East Fremantle both dropping away from the pack at 3-5 while East Perth and West Coast look destined to make up the numbers.
Round 10 is the first of two split rounds, with Claremont hosting Peel Thunder in the 91.3 Sport FM broadcast game at Revo Fitness Stadium while East Perth play South Fremantle at Leederville Oval on Sunday.