Lions loom large

WAFL semi finals

Palfreysmall

Claremont’s Matthew Palfrey marks strongly on the lead. Photos by Les Everett

The semis have been played and the question is, as usual at this time of the WAFL season, who can match Subiaco? Who has that extra something?

The Lions will play in their sixth grand final in a row in a couple of weeks. Peel had that extra something in 2016 and 2017 – a load of AFL-listed players of the right demographic and motivation. For a little while the newly minted West Coast Eagles WAFL team was looming as that kind of opponent.

Boltonsmall

Jye Bolton.

First stop for me on Sunday was Claremont Oval. The Eagles led 14 points to nothing midway through the first quarter but that was when Claremont’s extra something started to kick in. Relentless runners Jye Bolton and Kane Mitchell dragged their team into the game and by the time I left just before half time the Tigers were seven points in front. In glorious conditions both teams found it hard to score but I’m sure there was plenty of drama as Claremont held on to win by a goal. Tom Lee kicked just two goals but was an important presence in attack, Jeremy Goddard was good in the ruck and Haydn Busher again led that impressive Tiger defence. Hamish Brayshaw was busy for West Coast and Jack Petrucelle always looked dangerous.

Claremont 10.6 (66) West Coast 8.12 (60)

Waterssmall

Rhys Waters (Subiaco) marks under pressure.

Then it was back on the train headed for Leedeville Oval. I arrived at the right time. Subiaco were a few points ahead just after half time in a low scoring encounter. Then, as I heard a fan say later on the way out, “It was like the Harlem Globetrotters in the third quarter.” Subiaco kicked six quick goals with Rhys Waters (who finished with four goals) and Ben Sokol (three) in spectacular touch. Ben Newton, the forgotten midfielder, was outstanding for the Lions and Tom Edwards-Baldwin guaranteed a grand final spot with three goals. The Bulldogs didn’t turn up their toes. They scored six goals to four in the last quarter with Haiden Schloithe up to the Lion challenge, Jason Maskos strong in defence and Mason Shaw kicking three goals.

Subiaco 14.13 (97) South Fremantle 10.3 (63)

Sunday: Preliminary final. South Fremantle vs Claremont at Fremantle Oval.

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