WAFL round 23…
Aligned teams East Perth and Peel finished the qualifying season with good wins and will meet at Ruston Park.
Peel’s win over Claremont at the Showgrounds was meritorious – forward Tanner smith, who kicked two goals and set up another in the first quarter, went down with a hamstring injury before quarter time and local star Blair Bell was also out of action before half time. The Thunder had only Harley Balic, on debut and limited game time, and a very sore Jonathan Griffen on the bench more more than half of the game. Peel kicked the first four goals with Tendai Mzungu and Josh DeLuca lively and big men Zac Clarke and Jack Hannath also in good form. The Thunder back line led by Sam Collins and Josh Bootsma made it hard for the Tigers to score. Ethan Hughes played a brilliant last quarter (aside from a fumble in the goal square that led to Claremont’s only goal) and Anthony Morabito got better as the game went on. Alexander Bray also did some good things with his chasing and tackling a highlight.
Jared Hardisty was outstanding for Claremont and his move to defence in the third quarter was almost match winning. Jye Bolton received a bit of attention but won out in the end and Hayden Busher was again impressive. The Tigers lost Alex Manuel early in the game.
Claremont 6.9 (45) Peel Thunder 10.10 (70)
At East Fremantle Oval the virtual elimination final was a bit of a fizzer with East Perth in control all afternoon. Paul Johnson warmed up for the finals with a dominant display in the ruck, Luke Partington had another good game and youngsters Kurt Mutimer, Sam Powell-Pepper impressed again. Craig Wulff kicked two goals and will head into his last finals campaign in good form. Liam Anthony brushed off his injury worries to perform strongly for the Sharks, Dylan Winton had a good game and Cam Eardley was active in the midfield and kicked two goals.
East Perth 13.9 (87) East Fremantle 6.3 (39)
South Fremantle led Perth 10.7 to 0.2 at half time at Lathlain Park and that was that. The Demons did ok in the second half, they’ve had a fair season and must play in the finals next year. Ben Saunders kicked four goals to edge out Hamish Shepheard for the Bernie Naylor Medal. Saunders finished with 52 goals and Shepheard 51. Steven Verrier and Dylan Main were very good in the midfield for the Bulldogs, Mason Shaw kicked three goals and Marlion Pickett’s use of the ball from defence was impressive. Young ruckman Tim English made his WAFL debut and looked at home. Toby Gianatti worked hard for Perth while Brent Latch, Liam McKenna and AidanTropiano all finshed the year strongly.
Perth 7.4 (46) South Fremantle 14.14 (98)
Up at Joondalup bottom team Swans led by 23 points at quarter time and made the Falcons work for the expected victory. Jay Van Berlo and Aaron Black got things moving for West Perth, Michael Lourey kicked three goals and Corey Chalmers and Joe Morrow had good games. Justin Simpson kicked five goals for Swan Districts, Taryce Stewart and Jesse Turner showed good signs for the future and experienced duo Todd Banfield and Matt Riggio also played well.
The ladder: Subiaco 64; South Fremantle 60; West Perth 52; Peel 44; East Perth 40; East Fremantle 36; Claremont 28; Perth 28; Swan Districts 8.
Saturday: Qualifying final at Fremantle Oval: South Fremantle vs West Perth
Sunday: Elimination final at Ruston Park: Peel vs East Perth