Rolling Thunder fighting Swans by Les Everett

 

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Swans Freddie Clutterbuck and Ryan Crowley celebrate a late goal. Photos by Les Everett.

SamCollinsPeelsmallWAFL finals first week…

SOUTH FREMANTLE supporters came to Fremantle Oval on a beautiful Saturday afternoon with their excuses in hand. Peel was stacked with 14 Dockers, it was professionals against amateurs, “Our blokes work during the week.”

They had a point of course, but some of the arguments were contradictory…

“You’re useless Danyle, always were.”

“That bloke’s played 200 AFL games, how can we compete with that?”

“Collins is an AFL full back, what’s he doin’ out there.” Collins (left) played two AFL games in 2017.

For three quarters and a bit it seemed the doomsayers had a point. The Thunder were too strong, too well organised, the Bulldogs couldn’t get their game going under the pressure they faced and when opportunities arose they stuffed them up. Then midway through the last quarter South started to find some space, force the ball forward and get value for effort. Suddenly the margin was just 12 points and an unlikely victory seemed possible until Leroy Jetta set up Gerald Ugle for the sealer.

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Sean Darcy & Brock Higgins compete at a boundary throw-in.

The game showed Peel will again be a big threat and that they are beatable. This finals series should be a beauty. Sam Collins was superb in the backline he leads so well, Nick Suban was a tireless worker, Matt Taberner kicked two goals and set up others, Sean Darcy was a key to Peel’s strong start with effective work in the ruck and in attack and Ugle finished with three goals.

Captain Ryan Cook did his bit to get his team back into the game, Tim Kelly used the ball well, Brock Higgins battled against the odds in the ruck, Marlion Pickett played a big part in the comeback by taking the game on and the talented Matt Parker kicked three goals.

Peel 12.8 (80) South Fremantle 9.8 (62)

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Nic Rodda spoils Rick Cary in front of the big Bassendean crowd.

Swans kicked five goals to none in the first quarter of the elimination final at Bassendean but everyone knew it was still game on. Even avid supporters may have been thinking – here-we-go-again – when the home team went without a goal in the second quarter and the lead was cut to seven points. It was eight points at three quarter time but West Perth were kicking with the weakening breeze in the last.

With Shane Nelson and Aaron Black combining well the Falcons looked likely to run over Swans early in the last quarter but inspired by veterans Ryan Crowley, Freddie Clutterbuck, Matt Riggio the marvellous Tony Notte in his 200th game and the surprisingly speedy David Ellard Swans took control. It was the last home game (262nd) for Tallan Ames who was valuable in attack late.

It wasn’t all old stuff for Swans… Sam Taylor looks a real prospect in defence, Jesse Turner won the hard ball and used it well and Taryce Stewart kicked a couple of vital goals.

Kirk Ugle and Andrew Strijk had an interesting duel with Ugle setting up lots of forward moves and even kicking a goal for Swans while Strijk kicked 2.5. There was also a good battle in the ruck between the athletic Corey Gault (Swans) and hardworking Scott Simpson (Falcons) while Nic Rodda (WP full back) and Ricky Cary (SD full forward) seemed to chat amiably when the ball was up the other end and compete fiercely when it came their way. Cary kicked two goals in an even battle.

A crowd of over 5,000 turned up a what is probably the best ground in the WAFL.

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Swan Districts 11.9 (75) West Perth 8.12 (60)

Next week: First semi final South Fremantle vs Swan Districts (Fremantle Oval); Subiaco vs Peel (Leederville Oval).

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