WAFL round 20
I left home at half time of the Cats-Dockers game at Kardinia Park to walk to East Fremantle Oval. A lot of gardening and odd-jobbing was going on.
I was off to see the floundering Sharks take on the unbeaten Lions with expectations of a slaughter to match happenings in Geelong. It was a beautiful day for a change and footy fans were obviously taking advantage of it – the Football Budget was sold out. It was a flogging as expected but a kind of gentle flogging with Subiaco experimentation and dominance interspersed with some quite nice passages of play from the home team. Zac Clarke kicked four goals and played the way he often promised to in the AFL… his season with the Lions might be a ticket to a second chance. Lachlan Delahunty (left) and the returning Clancy Wheeler each kicked three goals and are the players who would have most welcomed the arrival of Clarke. Hayden Kennedy was outstanding in the midfield, Thomas Edwards-Baldwin kicked three goals and has made the most of his opportunity to establish himself in the competition’s strongest team. Jonathan Marsh was dashing and tight in defence for the Sharks, Cameron Loersch kicked three goals and did some good work around the ground and Dion Anthony was active in the midfield.
Subiaco 20.17 (137) East Fremantle 6.10 (46)
I left East Fremantle Oval at half time and walked to Fremantle Oval and, as it turned out, another flogging. Perth had everything to play for but were never in it. The spirited, exciting finals-bound team of just a few weeks ago has run out of puff. Led by Haiden Schloithe at his brilliant best South Fremantle overwhelmed the Demons. Mason Shaw kicked seven goals and did some ruck work in the absence of Brock Higgins who was injured early, Marlion Pickett was classy as usual, Steven Edwards troubled the Demons with his run, Chad Pearson was good in the back line and Ryan Cook effective as usual. Jared Bell and John Levien were winners in defence for Perth.
South Fremantle 17.13 (115) Perth 5.7 (37)
I was home in time to see the last quarter of the late game on Channel 7 and had done a good job of erasing Kardinia Park from memory. East Perth led West Perth by 15 points at quarter time but the Falcons pretty much dominated from then on. The final margin was reduced by a flurry of late goals from the Royals who are impossible to follow, so impossible that you couldn’t rule out a bold showing in the finals if they make it. But on Saturday the Falcons were too good with Shane Nelson and Andrew Strijk (three goals) again outstanding, Tyler Keitel kicked three goals and gave off others and Trent Manzone was ever dangerous. Oscar Allen did some good things for East Perth and Sharrod Wellingham continued his good form.
West Perth 16.10 (106) East Perth 13.10 (88)
The only game I didn’t see a bit of was at Claremont Oval but it was familiar story. Peel led by nearly six goals in the second quarter and then went stagnant unable to cope with the relentless running of Claremont’s Jye Bolton, Tom Ledger and Ryan Lim, the hard at it Jared Hardisty and in-form defender Anton Hamp among others. Hugh Dixon kicked three goals in the second quarter for the Thunder and is beginning to show something while Corey Morris and Bradley McGowan were hard workers.
Claremont 12.8 (80) Peel Thunder 11.6 (72)
In the final round of qualifying fixtures Peel and East Perth will battle for a finals spot at Rushton Park, East Fremantle Oval will be the venue for the least anticipated Fremantle derby in memory and Perth can revive the finals hopes they threw away by thrashing Subiaco at Leederville Oval… good luck with that.
The ladder: Subiaco 68; South Fremantle 44; West Perth 44; Claremont 28; East Perth 28; Perth 28; Peel 28; Swan Districts 24; East Fremantle 8.
Round 21: East Fremantle vs South Fremantle; Swan Districts vs Claremont; Peel vs East Perth; Subiaco vs Perth.