WAFL Round One Wrap
South Fremantle showed no signs of slowing down to kick off their premiership defence in 2021, defeating West Perth by 21 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
It headlined a fantastic opening round of football for the state competition, returning to a normal 20 round home and away season with West Coast back in the fold and a return to normal length quarters.
Good Friday football commenced the round of WAFL for season 2021, East Fremantle and Subiaco starting with victories over Peel Thunder and East Perth respectively.
The Sharks new recruits starred with Josh Schoenfeld (41 disposals), Luke English (26 disposals), Corey Chalmers (26 disposals and a goal) as well as Jonathon Marsh (21 disposals and 2 goals) all making a telling impact on the match as the visitors recorded a 15.16 (106) to 11.8 (74) win at David Grays Arena.
Milan Murdock (32 disposals) was his side's best player while Luke Strnadica dominated the ruck battle against his former side, finishing with 16 disposals, 43 hitouts and a goal.
Fremantle listed forward Sam Sturt kicked four first half goals before finishing with five majors on the match, Peel outmuscled after half time as they conceded eight goals to four to record a ninth straight loss stretching back to round 20, 2019.
Subiaco overcame a slow start against East Perth, the Royals kicking the first three goals of the match before the Lions sprung to life to win 15.14 (104) to 11.10 (76) at Leederville Oval.
The Royals lost Scott Jones (corked hip) and Thomas Edwards-Baldwin (concussion) before half time, Subiaco pulling away after the major break thanks to the efforts of skipper Leigh Kitchin (29 disposals and 11 inside 50's), Harrison Marsh (28 disposals) and Greg Clark (25 disposals).
Usual defenders Aaron Heal and Michael Braut were swung forward with effect by Lions coach Beau Wardman, each kicking three majors to partner usual focal point Ben Sokol who also kicked three goals.
East Perth were led by midfield duo Nick Robertson (30 disposals and 1 goal) and Jackson Ramsay (29 disposals) while ruckman Ajang Ajang led the ruck admirably after the early departure of Jones, finishing with 19 disposals and 34 hitouts.
Perth overcame a plucky West Coast Eagles outfit to kickstart Easter Saturday WAFL action, winning by 13 points in a high quality contest at Mineral Resources Park.
The Eagles lead by 11 points early in the final term before the Demons responded when they needed to under first time senior coach Garry Moss, winning 16.12 (108) to 15.5 (95).
Connor McPartland played an influential role in just his third senior game, kicking three majors to help his team over the line.
Chris Masten showed his class against his former club with 29 disposals for Perth, former St Kilda listed player Doulton Langlands with 20 disposals and 2 goals on WAFL debut to be one of his side's best.
West Coast small forward Isiah Winder kicked five goals in a stunning second half display, Nathan Vardy responding from his axing from the AFL side with a dominant performance as he kicked four majors to go with 15 disposals and 35 hitouts.
Xavier O'Neill showed similar resilience to finish as the leading possession getter in the match with 31 disposals, Zane Trew with 24 touches and former Demon Lennon Marlin impressive with 21.
The Eagles will have an nervous wait on former Brisbane Lions defender Alex Witherden, who was reported for striking in a third quarter incident.
Reigning premiers South Fremantle eventually overcame West Perth in an absorbing contest in the 91.3 Sport FM broadcast match at Fremantle Oval, prevailing by 21 points.
In a match that had 13 lead changes, the Bulldogs pulled away in the last quarter to showcase their star power in the 16.10 (106) to 13.7 (85) result.
Cody Ninyette starred with five goals, while Mason Shaw responded from a quiet opening half that saw him register a solitary kick to snare four majors of his own.
Haiden Schloithe was his side's best player with 30 disposals, while returning Bulldog Matt Parker had 26 disposals and 11 inside 50's in a new midfield role.
Brandon Donaldson (25 disposals and 2 goals) and Brock Higgins (15 disposals and 48 hitouts) also had an impact for the red and whites, who unveiled their 2020 premiership flag in stunning fashion before the match via helicopter which landed on the Fremantle Oval turf pre-game.
West Perth forward duo Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott each kicked four goals and midfield pair Aaron Black (36 disposals) and Shane Nelson (34 disposals) worked hard, but didn't quite have the polish of their opponents to close it out in an entertaining contest.
Claremont won a high scoring shootout over Swan Districts at Bassendean Oval, both sides scoring over 100 points as the Tigers started their season with a four goal win.
Swans made a superb start with six first quarter goals, two of those delivered by returning star Lewis Jetta as the Tigers were put on the back foot early.
Claremont responded emphatically in the second stanza as they kicked eight goals to two to lead by half time, keeping Swan Districts at arms length from then on.
Alex Manuel showcased his claims to be the new focal point in attack after the departures of Tom Lee and Alec Waterman as he kicked four majors, 12 goalkickers all up as Ash Prescott began his second stint as coach of the Tigers with a 20.13 (133) to 18.1 (109) victory.
Claremont had 415 disposals for the contest, Jye Bolton with 39 of them to go with a goal as midfield pair Bailey Rogers (36 disposals and a goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals) provided good support.
Thomas Edwards kicked four goals for Swans, who recorded only one solitary behind for the day in an extraordinary display of goalkicking, Jesse Palmer the culprit as he kicked 3.1 for the match.
Jesse Turner had 34 disposals for the home side, while reigning Sandover Medalist Sam Fisher had 33 disposals in another strong midfield display.
Round two commences next Saturday, with Sport FM's broadcast match between Claremont and South Fremantle from Revo Fitness Stadium.