Thunder mirror Dockers in strange WA footy week


Eyes on the prize: Liam Ryan now has 50 goals for the season and leads in the race for the Bernie Naylor Medal. Photo by Les Everett.

WAFL round 18…

I GOT back from a jaunt overseas in time to attend the derby at Subiaco Oval last Sunday. It was a strange lifeless game and the Dockers brought me back to earth with a truly awful performance. Brad Hill has been excellent for Fremantle this year and I’m glad he’s back where he should always have been – who was it again that thought Tommy Sheridan, Hayden Crozier AND Alex Forster were better prospects than the draft-camp-record-breaking-brother-of-Stephen? But in the derby he had a stinker highlighted by missed goals, missed targets and fuzzy thinking, in fact I thought he was the most influential player on the ground. It wasn’t for want of effort he just played very poorly. It happens.

So the Dockers had lost their fifth derby in a row, were showing alarmingly low levels of skill and played like they believed goals were overrated. I braced myself for the days ahead. Then from Ross Lyon’s press conference on everything was rosy. Fremantle had more inside 50s and led in this stat and that – shoulda won really. Brad Hill received votes in the coaches’ award and from some in the media. Packaged up with Nathan Fyfe’s signing the Dockers had a dream PR week – even dropping a couple of young players for going out on the piss was positive. The coming game at home against the developing Hawks would be easy surely.

And so to the WAFL. In the clash of the round at Rushton Park Subiaco led Peel 4.4 to nothing at quarter time and it was always going to be a long way back for the home team. When Matt Taberner kicked the first goal of the last quarter to bring the margin within three goals it looked like we were in for a thriller. Subiaco kicked the last five goals of the game. The parallels with the Fremantle-Hawthorn game were marked – including the Docker-linked WAFL team’s inability to score goals. Aaron Heal was magnificent in defence for the Lions showing great judgment and using the ball well. Liam Ryan kicked four goals and now has 50 for the year and the run of Justin Joyce, Kyal Horsley and Leigh Kitchen (three goals) proved vital. Taberner traveled long distances in an impressive effort for Peel and young defender Aaron Naughton (an 18s All-Australian) showed he won’t have to wait long for his name to be called in the AFL Draft later this year.

Subiaco 12.14 (86) Peel 6.4 (40)

Further south at Sir Stewart Bovell Park in Busselton South Fremantle jumped East Perth, survived a spirited comeback and then ran away with the game. Blaine Johnson kicked five goals for the Bulldogs, Tim Kelly capped a strong midfield display with three goals and Brock Higgins worked hard to get on top in the ruck and was a key in South’s strong finish. Ben Saunders kicked three goals and Shane Hockey was good in the midfield. Pat McGinnity kicked five goals in one of his best displays while Luke Partington put in a another good game.

South Fremantle 18.13 (121) East Perth 14.7 (91)

At Lathlain Park Perth led at quarter time but couldn’t contain the West Perth midfield and a scoring avalanche followed. Tyler Keitel kicked seven goals and Nic Rodda six while Shane Nelson made 51 disposals for the Falcons. Clint Jones battled away as usual for the Demons who have now slipped to the bottom of the ladder. East Fremantle enjoyed a successful weekend, moving from the wooden spoon position just by staying at home.

West Perth 18.18 (126) Perth 11.7 (73)

The ladder: Subiaco 60; South Fremantle 48; Peel 40; Swan Districts 36; West Perth 32; East Perth 24; Claremont 24; Perth 8; East Fremantle 8.

Next week. Round 19: East Fremantle vs Subiaco; Swan Districts vs Peel; South Fremantle vs West Perth; Claremont vs East Perth.

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