East Fremantle make a statement
EAST FREMANTLE started round 17 looking at a run of games that could turn them into premiership favourites or finals onlookers. They thrashed East Perth at home and now face the other two teams in the top four, Swan Districts and Claremont, in away games over the next couple of weeks.
Five goals from exciting young forward Max Duffy helped the Sharks who were never troubled at home against the Royals. The hard-running hard-working midfield of Brad Dalziell, Mark McGough, Rory O’Brien and Richard Hadley helped the cause and Jayden Schofield had his best game of the year. Steven Payne was East Perth’s best player, Jacob Derickx was strong in defence and Josh Smith kicked three goals.
East Fremantle 20.16 (136) East Perth 10.12 (72).
Subiaco were holding onto thin finals hopes coming into this home game against bottom team Peel. The Lions are now thinking about next year and the Thunder are off the bottom. Peel were in control all afternoon and won by 38 points. Peter Faulks was again outstanding in defence, Matt Battye kicked four goals, Pat Travers and Brendan Jones led the midfield and Jesse Crichton provided important run from the backline. Aiden Parker was again in good touch for Subiaco.
Peel 15.9 (99) Subiaco 9.7 (61).
It was a strange game at Fremantle Oval. West Perth dominated the first half and led by 47 points at the main break. South Fremantle showed a bit of spirit in the third quarter to reduce the margin to a respectable 29 points and it seemed an honourable loss was on the cards. Then in an incredible final quarter the Bulldogs kicked seven goals to three and fell just three points short of their second big comeback win of a very disappointing season. In fact they had enough chances late in the game to pull off the victory.
Captain Jason Salecic was good all day but ensured the win with his defensive work in the final moments. Mark Hutchings and Jay Van Berlo were outstanding in the midfield and Luke Tedesco was important in the backline.
Alex Grima was busy all day for South and kicked two long goals in the last quarter to give his team hope, veteran Kris Miller worked hard as did Ryan Cook while Jayden Woods, who did nothing for three quarters, kicked three goals in the last.
West Perth remain in contention for a finals spot while South Fremantle have cruelly dropped to the bottom.
West Perth 15.15 (105) South Fremantle 15.12 (102).
The ladder: Claremont 40; East Fremantle 40; Swan Districts 40; East Perth 38; West Perth 30; Subiaco 24; Perth 16; Peel 16; South Fremantle 12.
East Perth and South Fremantle have played one more game than everyone else.
• East Fremantle coach Steve Malaxos. Photo by Les Everett.