WELL, that was a big weekend of footy. Live I saw 1.25 games: Fremantle CBC v Wanneroo, WAAFL D grade colts at Morris Buzacott Reserve; second quarter South Fremantle v West Perth at Fremantle Oval. And on TV: Last quarter of Sydney v Collingwood at the SCG; second half Subiaco v Peel (Leederville Oval); last four minutes Richmond v West Coast (MCG); whole game Fremantle v Western Bulldogs (Subiaco Oval) and whole game Carlton v Essendon (MCG).
Pretty impressive? Alright, I confess. I didn’t go to Subiaco Oval on Saturday night. I missed the great victory live. Incredibly I was able to give our tickets away. Maybe I didn’t go because…
- I was very tired.
- I was swayed by the idea of a nice meal and a glass of wine in front of the TV.
- The Port game in round two had made excuses easy to find.
I kind of wish I’d been at Subiaco Oval but dinner was great and there was some top stuff on TV.
Fremantle’s performance was impressive because the Bulldogs were good. The premiers got themselves back into the game by playing the way they do and at three quarter time they looked the winners. The last quarter showed Fremantle may not be the lost cause some, yes including me, thought they might be for the remainder of 2017.
The entertainment continued after the game. You don’t see these things when you’re at the game. There was the now famous Will Minson question at Luke Beveridge’s press conference – handled with good grace by the losing coach. I was always too scared to ask questions at press conferences and if I’d asked that one I would have gone straight home. However this reporter, who no one seems to know, not only turned up at the Ross Lyon presser but asked the first question. It was one of the best questions I’ve heard asked of an AFL coach post match.
“Ross, your game plan is out of date. You style of coaching is 10 years out of date. Your players have got no skills. How can you explain that you won today?”
Unfortunately Lyon showed he’s no John Clarke. Ever on the defensive, he missed the opportunity to answer with a bit of wit. Instead he began with: “Well I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” Then contradicted himself by referring to “outside noise”, “the opinion business” and also revealed he’s a latecomer to the straightforward financial wisdom of The Barefoot Investor.
I don’t blame Lyon, post-match press conference can be pretty painful for everyone concerned and, as he said: “My job’s to coach.”
As for the unknown reporter, well done on a courageous and clever comeback.
Earlier I’d popped down to Fremantle Oval for the second quarter. It was all I needed to see. Kicking with a howling breeze and with Tim Kelly at his venomous best the Bulldogs overwhelmed the Falcons. The big forwards were again powerful, this time Blaine Wilson led the way, he kicked six goals, Mason Shaw got four and Ben Saunders, quieter this week, still scored three goals. Hayden Schloithe was dynamic in the midfield and Marlion Pickett mopped things up when West Perth did happen to go forward. Pickett, Schloithe and Kelly were involved in a breathtaking end-to-end goal early in the second quarter. Aaron Black and Shane Nelson battled away as usual but it’s clear the Falcons have midfielders who get the ball a lot but they need to inject a bit of zip.
South Fremantle 23.8 (146) West Perth 6.7 (43)
The Demons are off the mark. One of Perth or East Fremantle was going to win their first game of the year at Lathlain Park and it turned out to be the home team. Promising big man Sam Garstone kicked four goals, Clint Jones dominated the midfield and John Levien made a strong debut in defence. Liam Anthony was strong for the Sharks but may have done a hammy, Matthew Watson kicked three goals while Brett Peake announced his retirement after the game, he kicked two goals.
Perth 16.12 (108) East Fremantle 14.11 (95)
At Leederville Oval on Saturday Subiaco led all day but Peel stuck at it all the way and scored seven goals to four in the second half. Kyal Horsley and Chris Phelan were strong and effective midfielders for the Lions, Ben Sokol was a powerful presence in attack and kicked two goals as did Liam Ryan who took the mark of the year. Darcy Tucker looked classy for the Thunder, Sam Collins was assured in the back line and Matt Taberner kicked four goals but still drops too many marks.
Subiaco 11.16 (82) Peel Thunder 10.7 (67)
In the Friday night game at Leederville Claremont again showed their credentials while East Perth’s season took another step backwards. Ian Richardson was the main architect for the Tigers, Zac Langdon kicked three goals in another impressive performance and young midfielder Matt Guelfi was good again. Dom Sheed starred for the Royals and Will Maginness kicked four goals.
Claremont 16.9 (105) East Perth 11.3 (69)
The Ladder: Claremont 12; South Fremantle 12; Swan Districts 12; Subiaco 12; Peel 8; Perth 4; West Perth 4; East Perth 0; East Fremantle 0.
Next week: Friday – Peel v West Perth; South Fremantle v Claremont; Subiaco v East Perth. Saturday – East Fremantle v Swan Districts.