No Shark problem for Bulldogs by Les Everett

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22s Mason Shaw & Dylan Winton take off after the ball in the Fremantle derby. All photos by Les Everett.

Close games are a sign of a healthy competition. In round four for the WAFL the average winning margin was 64.5 points. Top team Subiaco has an average winning margin after four rounds of 89.5 points and three of their defeated opponents are currently in the top five.

The competition may tighten but the signs aren’t great – here’s how the teams are looking, in current ladder order…

Subiaco: Will be in the grand final and will win the premiership if they don’t come up against a perfectly stacked AFL-aligned team. They’ve replaced outgoing players expertly as usual but the inclusion of ruckman Zac Clarke adds an element they haven’t had in recent times.

South Fremantle: Look like they have in recent years. Lots of scoring potential but nowhere near as good as Subi.

West Perth: Look like they have in recent years. Serviceable.

East Perth: Two big wins and one big loss. Must make the finals and then see what’s available. from their West Coast stockpile.

Swan Districts: Look like they have in recent years. Cheeky but developing.

Peel: Unbalanced due to Fremantle requirements. Like East Perth need to get to the finals and see what happens.

Perth: Scoring a bit more this year but avoiding the wooden spoon seems priority one.

East Fremantle: Looked good until the derby. Better hope they haven’t had the stuffing knocked out of them.

Claremont: Look like they have in recent years. Can move the ball nicely at times but lack depth in the midfield.

Round four…

Not many turned up to the Thursday night game at Leederville but it was good to see it on TV. Subiaco crushed Claremont with Kyal Horsley continuing with Sandover Medal form, Brad Stevenson kicked four goals to lead the comp with 17, Rhys Waters kicked five goals and Jordan Lockyer was brilliant in defence. Matthew Palfrey showed a bit for the Tigers kicking his team’s first three goals and taking a couple of strong marks and big man Oliver Eastland again showed promise. It was Beau Maister’s 150th game for Claremont.

Subiaco 20.15 (135) Claremont 7.7 (49)

East Perth again looked powerful and led Perth by 65 points at three quarter time in the Lathlain Park game. The Demons rallied in the last quarter but it wasn’t enough. Patrick McGinnity was outstanding for the Royals and kicked three goals, youngster Jack Petruccelle kicked four goals and Julian Ameduri continued his good form. Cody Leggett was again good for the Demons and Kristian Cary kicked three goals.

East Perth 21.10 (136) Perth 15.9 (99)

It was tight during the first half at Bassendean but the visitors kicked seven goals to none in the third quarter and that was that. Jay Van Berlo was effective for West Perth, Tyler Keitel moved around and finished with three goals and Blake Wilhelm was in good form. Kirk Ugle and Tobe Watson worked hard for Swans.

West Perth 15.6 (96) Swan Districts 9.11 (65)

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Jonathon Griffin marks in front of Brock Higgins.

Sydney coach John Longmire emphasised the importance of winning the ball after his team’s surprise Friday night loss. East Fremantle coach Rob Wiley might have made a note of that important part of footy to his players after the Fremantle derby at East Fremantle Oval. There were plenty of centre bounce downs and after each a South Fremantle appeared to just run away with the ball and get the game started again. I’ve seen Marlion Pickett perform well as a wingman, forward, key defender, running backman and stand-in ruckman – on Sunday he added centre clearance specialist to his CV. Youngster Brandon Donaldson was close to best on ground with a lively display that included three goals; Ashton Hams kicked brilliantly in very difficult conditions and finished with four goals, Blaine Wilson (three goals) and Ben Saunders caused problems for the Shark defence and Haiden Schloithe, Jacon Dragovich and Shane Hockey were part of a dominant midfield. Sean Henson was busy for East Fremantle, Aaron Holmes worked hard in defence while Jonathon Griffin and Jonathon Marsh both made mistakes but at least tried to make things happen. Griffin’s battle with Brock Higgins in the ruck was a competitive highlight in a one-sided game.

South Fremantle 18.24 (132) East Fremantle 5.8 (38).

Round five: Saturday: Perth vs West Perth; Swan Districts vs East Fremantle; Claremont vs South Fremantle. Sunday: East Perth vs Peel.

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South Fremantle’s Ashton Hams. A derby star.

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