• South Fremantle’s Brandon Donaldson with support from Manfred Kelly. All photos by Les Everett
I can’t remember why I’ve been absent from WAFL games in recent weeks. Maybe I went away for a weekend and I might have attended an AFL game and there was the matter of round 13 being cancelled due to a lockdown.
In summary the West Coast WAFL team benefited from the return to full strength of the AFL list, got players back and won a couple of games; Subiaco lost a couple in row, something they haven’t done in seven years and the top five was beginning to look a bit set.
To make up for my lack of game time I adopted a radical new game plan. 1. Walk to Fremantle Oval and see the first quarter and a bit. 2. Do some shopping so I could prepare a Korean dish that included a previously unknown (to me) ingredient – Sriracha sauce. 3. Drive to East Fremantle Oval for the last quarter. 4. Watch the last quarter of the Fremantle Oval game I’d recorded from Channel 7.
Results in round 14 further emphasised the gap between the top five and rest.
South Fremantle 11.2 (68) Claremont 9.13 (67)
The game at Fremantle Oval was a classic and very much like last year’s grand final. South swung a surprise by playing regular defenders Ben Rioli (three goals) and Blake Schlensog (two) forward. The lead changed three times in the last quarter and Claremont had a couple of chances after Cody Ninyette kicked what proved to be the winner. Zac Strom was excellent for the Bulldogs as were Manfred Kelly and Zac Dent. Jye Bolton was again the best player on the ground and Isaac Bolton kicked three goals for the Tigers.
• Flying mullet: Peel’s Tobe Watson breaks away for Harry Taylor.
Peel 13.10 (88) East Fremantle 9.8 (62)
The WAFL return of Harry Taylor added interest to the game at East Fremantle Oval and he didn’t disappoint kicking four goals in a continuation of his recent form for Northampton. Peel had a little too much class – Luke Valente kicked three goals, Jackson Merrett was outstanding in the midfield and Hayden Young made an impressive return to footy. Ryan Lester-Smith was constructive in defence for East Fremantle and Alexander Montauban was a lively presence in attack. We’ll be sure to let you know when Enrique Aiken-Featherstone makes his debut.
Subiaco 10.11 (71) Perth 6.8 (44)
Perth made it interesting by kicking four goals to none in the third quarter at Leederville Oval to trail by 14 points at the last break but Subiaco steadied and returned to the winners list. Sandover Medal fancy Greg Clark was strong for the Lions as was 2019 winner Lachlan Delahunty. Forward Sam Stubbs took some good marks for the Demons and kicked two goals.
West Perth 14.13 (97) East Perth 10.7 (67)
The Perth Derby was over at three quarter time so East Perth still lost by a big margin despite kicking five goals to none in the last quarter. Aaron Black led the way for West Perth and Tyler Keitel kicked four goals.
Swan Districts 10.11 (71) West Coast 9.15 (69)
Swans kicked seven goals in the second quarter to lead by 20 points at half time, lost the lead in the last quarter and snatched it back with a very late goal from Matt Germs. Warrick Wilson kicked three goals for Swans and Sandover Medal winner Sam Fisher was at his best. Connor West showed that an unusual transition from West Perth to WAFL West Coast to AFL West Coast might be on the cards in 2021.
Peel made it consecutive WAFLW premierships with an all-the-way win over Swan Districts at Rushton Park. Sabreena Duffy’s powerful midfield performance earned best-on-ground recognition, Chloe Wrigley and Sarah Verrier were good ball winners while Kira Phillips kicked three goals and Kate Bartlett two. Mikayla Hyde almost willed Swans back into contention in the third quarter and Hope Ugle-Hayward did some good things.
Peel 5.6 (36) Swan Districts 2.3 (15)
The ladder: Subiaco 32; Claremont 32; South Fremantle 32; West Perth 28; Swan Districts 28; Peel 16; East Fremantle 16; Perth 16; East Perth 12; West Coast 8.
An observation: The Ch7 commentary on the WAFL and WAFLW is much better than that served up on the 7 and Foxtel AFL coverage. Less bullshit, perhaps.
• Luke English slams through a goal for the Sharks after the resisting the possibility of a handpass to Mr Taylor.