I didn’t get to the a WAFL game on the weekend. Instead I was at Perth Stadium for the president’s lunch prior to the meeting between Fremantle and Geelong.
Expectations were mixed. I knew the lunch and company would be good. I also knew what would happen in the game. The Cats were on top but not in great form and they’d had a week of purring around in Freo – they would obviously thrash us.
I was right about the company. The Carter family was at our table – mum, dad and sisters of Jason Carter who was to make his debut, the first player from Wyndham to play in the AFL. Their pride and excitement made this a special day. Back home locals were gathering at the local sport club to watch the game on TV. This surely was a day you’d like to be in two places at once. “Yeah,” said Patrick, Jason’s dad, “But I’m glad I’m here.”
When Tom Hawkins kicked three goals in the first quarter the expected thrashing seemed on track but the Dockers were creating some chances. Jason Carter’s first kick came as a free for deliberate out-of-bounds – anti-climatic but it got him into the game.
By half time the home team was in front. We gave them a standing ovation – out of gratitude.
At one centre bounce in the first quarter Fremantle’s forward six was David Mundy (312 games; 134 goals); Mitch Crowden (10;1); Bailey Banfield (24;5); Lachie Schultz (4;3); Sam Switkowski (16;5) and Sean Darcy (23;4). Has a less imposing forward line ever been assembled in the AFL?
The personnel didn’t seem to matter in the second half. Geelong, including superstars Patrick Dangerfield, Gary Ablett and Joel Selwood, couldn’t get a grip on the game put off, it seemed, by the harassing and tackling of the Freo lesser lights who lifted alongside their own stars Nathan Fyfe and Michael Walters. Jason Carter made a solid debut that included a couple highlights like a beautiful kick that helped set up a shot for goal in the third quarter.
Fremantle won comfortably just as we’d predicted.
In the WAFL the Eagles juggernaut spluttered satisfactorily to a stop undone by bottom team Swan Districts; Ben Sokol kicked seven goals in the Thursday night game to help Subiaco beat a plucky Perth; South Fremantle were behind at half time and scored 8.6 to nothing in the third quarter to down East Perth; West Perth came from behind to beat the improved East Fremantle and Claremont got up by two points over Peel.
On Sunday I took in a couple of games in the Avon Football Association – the derby at Cunderdin where the home team went down to Quairading. Cunderdin haven’t won a game in 2019 while Quairading included former Eagle Quinten Lynch and Freddie Clutterbuck, a good WAFL player for East Perth and Swan Districts. Just before quarter time of the derby I headed over to Northam where the local Railways were hosting top team Beverley.
Some times upsets happen in footy and Railways gave the Redbacks a fearful thrashing.