Close to 9,000 spectators turned out for the WAFL WA Day derbies on Monday to round off a very big weekend for Australian football in WA.
There wasn’t a lot of time to organise the AFL’s Dreamtime game and big walk but local fans jumped at the opportunity to be involved. The Long Walk was capped at 6,000 but many more than that took part and made the Matagarup Bridge sway – Essendon and Richmond attracted 55,656 and how nice it was to be in a crowd that wasn’t too lopsided in their support.
Due to country music duties I wasn’t among the 32,875 back at Perth Stadium to see Fremantle and the Western Bulldogs. The last time I saw my team was for the spirited victory over a Buddy-infused Sydney. I left thinking the Dockers must have a good coach because more than a handful of the players are not very good. There are reasons Fremantle is fielding sub-par teams – a horrible injury list that got much worse on Sunday and past recruiting and trading horrors. Coach Justin Longmuir simply has to try to build something with the bits and pieces he’s been handed.
Glorious weather returned for the Monday holiday and footy fans flooded to East Fremantle (5,925) and Leederville (3,000 approx).
The Bulldogs won their 11th consecutive Fremantle Derby but the Sharks showed a bit and with a little luck would have got closer as they stormed home kicking four goals to one in the last quarter. The versatile Zac Strom was at his best for South Fremantle, Brock Higgins was powerful in the ruck, Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw each kicked four goals while Dylan Main, Brandon Donaldson and Haiden Schloithe were all effective. Hugh Dixon kicked three goals for East Fremantle and his marking was one of the highlights of the afternoon, Cam Eardley was lively and used the ball well and Matthew Jupp marked with assurance in defence.
South Fremantle 11.8 (74) East Fremantle 8.10 (58)
It was all over at quarter time at Leederville in the Perth Derby with West Perth leading 7.0 (42) to 1.0 (6) probably prompting coach Jeremy Barnard’s 2000, 2001 and 2002 premiership team mates to leave the present to him while they celebrated the past. Tyler Keitel kicked eight goals for the Falcons.
West Perth 19.5 (119) East Perth 11.10 (76)
The WAFL round began on Thursday night. The injury ravaged Perth had done remarkably to beat South Fremantle and West Perth in rounds seven and eight and took on top team Subiaco at home. It was a disaster. Ben Sokol kicked six goals for Subi.
Subiaco 16.13 (109) Perth 1.5 (11)
In the early Saturday game Claremont beat an improved West Coast with Jye Bolton making 50 disposals. One of the reasons the Eagles were better was because of Connor West who they poached from West Perth in the AFL mid-season draft.
Claremont 14.9 (93) West Coast 9.12 (66)
Down at Rushton Park, Peel and Swan Districts were locked together all day. Three straight goals to five straight behinds in the last quarter proved the difference.
Swan Districts 10.7 (67) Peel 7.17 (59)
Ladder: Subiaco 28; Claremont 28; South Fremantle 24; Swan Districts 20; West Perth 16; Perth 16; Peel 12; East Fremantle 12; East Perth 4; West Coast 0.