The WAFL’s run of victories in interstate games came to an end at Perth Stadium on Sunday.
The SANFL arrived with a speed plan and it worked. There was something else too and it would have been familiar to the WAFL’s Subiaco players who were experiencing a rare defeat. The local team went in with mid-sized ruck duo Lachlan Delahunty and Corey Gault and they both did ok. However giant ruckman Michael Knoll (left) was so influential he won the Fos Williams Medal as his team’s best player. In consecutive grand final loses to Peel by Subiaco it was the Thunder’s big ruckmen who made a big difference.
The WAFL looked to be on the way to victory when they got out by over three goals in the second quarter but the visitors fought back and then took over in the third kicking six goals to two. Speed isn’t just about breaking away into the open, though SA did plenty of that, it also puts opponents under pressure. A number of the locals, notably Kyal Horsley, were guilty of handing the ball to opponents as they were forced into quick disposal.
Dom Berry, Jim Noble and Anthony Wilson led the SANFL quicks, Aidan Tropiano enjoyed the trip home, Danyle Pearce used the ball well and Jonathon Beech kicked four goals. The team was coached by Josh Carr.
Josh Deluca was particularly good at the clearances and won the Simpson Medal as the WAFL’s best player, Horsley looked the player most likely to drag his team over the line and kicked two goals, Ben Sokol kicked four goals but missed a vital and easy one after the three quarter time siren, Michael Bennell kicked three goals and Haiden Schloithe two and both looked likely to tear the game apart but faded after half time. Hayden Kennedy and Michael Sinclair were cool in defence.
The game was up for grabs right to the end and the incredible goal kicking efficiency of the victors was the probably the tipping factor in the end,
SANFL 16.4 (100) WAFL 13.15 (93)
Footy note: As Sokol took his shot after the three quarter time siren the ground announcer came on to tell the score and make a sponsorship announcement. I don’t see the point in most of what ground announcers tell us at the footy but one who isn’t watching the game is particularly useless.