I thought my footy experience on Saturday was unique – watching the WAFL combined team play the SANFL at Lathlain Park live on my phone while traveling on the Freo Flyer from Busselton to watch Fremantle play North Melbourne at Subiaco Oval.
On the bus ride home following Roo culling I read a Tweet from his holiness Freo Pope. Don’t know if he was on the same bus… and I’m pretty sure I’m not the Pope.
WA began well at Lathlain but the Croweaters soon found their feet and controlled things from mid way through the first quarter into the second. Then there was another momentum swing that kept on swinging as the home attacked directly down the middle with daring and skill.
Ryan Davis, who won the Simpson Medal, played an extraordinary game for WA kicking five goals in a role very familiar to Swan Districts supporters as an attacking midfielder. Cory Dell’Olio covered more distance than he ever has and bobbed up all over the place while still managing to kick three goals. Wayde Twomey, Justin Simpson and Darren Rumble were very strong in defence, Chris Phelan and Aaron Black were good midfielders, Ashton Hams and Andrew Strijk used the ball well and Shane Yarran kicked three goals.
The Fos Williams Medal for SA’s best player went to defender Tom Keough, Leigh Ryswyk kicked three goals and James Boyd and Chris Schmidt played well.
The final score WAFL 18.13 (121) SANFL 11.10 (76)
In the AFL 18s game played as curtain raiser WA 11.7 (73) beat SA 9.18 (72).
At Subiaco the ground was still shrouded in post-fireworks smoke when Michael Walters kicked Fremantle’s first goal after a brilliant tackle inside the first minute. The Dockers never looked back in a curious game in which North Melbourne dominated the centre clearances during the first half – unfortunately for the Roos most centre bounce downs came after a Fremantle goal.
The game marked the return to form of Walters, who kicked four goals, while his little mate Hayden Ballantyne caused havoc with his frenetic chasing and tackling. It was Nathan Fyfe’s 100th game and no one will argue if he’s awarded three Brownlow Medal votes for it. Little Lachie Neale mopped up after mistakes by his team mates on many occasions as well as grabbing the ball at the bottom of many packs. The new-look David Mundy, not because of the bandage covering an ugly head wound but by the way he just barges through opponents in a manner without the elegance we’ve always associated with him, was again superb. He’d be Brownlow Medal favourite if Fyfe hadn’t been invented. Clancee Pearce has been one of the big improvers in 2015 and he continued his career-best form on Saturday night.
Scott Thompson did well against Matthew Pavlich and was one of the few Roos who could be happy with his performance, Shaun Higgins did some nice things and I liked Jamie Macmillan’s effort. North had the chance to claw back some respectability in the last quarter but their kicking for goal was deplorable.
Speaking of kicking for goal, someone needs to have a word in the ear of Stephen Hill who leans to the left when he takes shots from 40 metres and closer and misses them to the left consequently and too regularly.
The Dockers are still not at their best. Those centre clearances will come under scrutiny in Tuesday’s match review – you can be under no illusion about that.
Fremantle 17.13 (115) North Melbourne 5.12 (42).
The trip home on the Freo Flyer was not as smooth as usual due to a Roo fan who required three extra loo breaks. Those in purple maintained their discipline as did the others in blue and white on the bus.