WAFL round 20
It’s WAFL finals time. Perth didn’t make it again. West Coast did.
It was tense at Rushton Park as Perth pushed for their first finals appearance of the century against a Peel line-up short of Fremantle players. After a forgettable first half the game hotted up. The Demons worked hard but every time they looked like slipping away they allowed the Thunder an opening. Sam Sturt slotted a long shot to put Peel in front with less than five minutes on the clock. Perth made and mucked up opportunities and there were seconds left when Cody Leggett got clear, took a shot and missed. Peel played with a bit of freedom highlighted by some big flies for marks. There were classy efforts from Sam Sturt (three goals) and Brett Bewley but the hard work of Ben Howlett (20 tackles) was also a big factor. Ben Hancock kicked four goals as an undersized ruckman. It was Gerald Ugle’s 100th game for Peel. Clint Jones again led the way for Perth while Matthew Rogers and Dakota Baldwin-Wright were important in the ill-fated final quarter.
Peel 12.12 (84) Perth 12.9 (81)
Claremont warmed up for the finals with a big win over bottom team Swan Districts. The Tigers kicked 12 goals in the third quarter. Ian Richardson scored six and Jye Bolton and Declan Mountford were brilliant in the midfield.
Claremont 23.6 (144) Swan Districts 5.8 (38)
Both teams got what they wanted at Fremantle Oval. South Fremantle secured second spot and West Perth held onto fifth. It was a thriller with the home team getting home by four points. Mason Shaw kicked six goals for the Bulldogs and Tyler Keitel put in another big game for the Falcons.
South Fremantle 12.12 (84) West Perth 12.8 (80)
The Lions purred into a well-earned bye with an easy win over the Royals. The highlight was six goals from Ben Sokol, enough to earn him the Bernie Naylor Medal with 51 for the season.
Subiaco 18.12 (120) East Perth 8.5 (53)
The Sunday game just magnified the horror for Perth connections. An unlikely victory by East Fremantle over West Coast would have handed the Demons fifth place. The Sharks got within five points in the last quarter but the miracle didn’t happen. And to make it worse the game was played at Lathlain Park.
West Coast 12.10 (82) East Fremantle 8.11 (59)
Final ladder: Subiaco 68; South Fremantle 52; Claremont 48; West Coast 36; West Perth 36; Perth 36; Peel 28; East Fremantle 20; East Perth 20; Swan Districts 16.
Qualifying final Saturday: South Fremantle vs Claremont (Fremantle Oval)
Elimination final Sunday: West Perth vs West Coast (Arena Joondalup)