WAFL round seven
The WA Day long weekend is always a big one in the WAFL and this year there was a bonus with Nat Fyfe’s return to football significantly boosting the crowd at Leederville Oval.
Peel’s winning goal was something to behold. Scores were level when Blair Bell got behind the Subi defence and gathered on an angle about 40 metres from goal. He tried to evade his pursuers, slipped, was tackled and rightly penalised for holding the ball. The Lions played on quickly across goal to Aaron Heal whose kick went over the fence – out on the full. The ball came to me and I sent out a quick handball* to Ryan Bennell who went inboard to Fyfe 40 metres out on a slight angle.
Aware of the state of the game and his own set-shot demons Fyfe took his time, concentrated hard and kicked horribly into the pocket where it was brilliantly marked by Josh Treacy. The key forward went for one of those around the corner snaps with his non-preferred left foot. The kick went high into the air into a pack of players about 25 metres from goal. Bennell gathered sent a handball to Hayden Matthews who found the leading Treacy, this time on a more convenient angle. He kicked the winning goal. “That’s how easy it is fellas,” someone might have yelled.
Peel’s habit of slow starts and strong finishes continued in the tense six-point win over Subiaco. Jordan Farrone helped the Lions get off to a fast start with three first-quarter goals and a couple of assists in the second. Relentless efforts from Bell, Fyfe and Matthews helped Thunder work back into the game but the star of the second half was Treacy who kicked three goals and finished with 14 marks. James Ewing was again good in defence for Peel and Guy Barnes made an impressive debut kicking two goals. Ryan Borchet kicked four goals for Subi and Lachlan Delahunty controlled the ruck.
Accuracy around the goals was the story at Claremont where the home team led all day and won by six goals. Max Spvee and Time House kicked three goals for the Tigers and Jye Bolton was at his best. Kristian Carey kicked three goals for the Demons. Perth and Claremont scored a combined 27.8.
West Coast led Swan Districts by 15 points at half time at Bassendean. Really! Swans kicked six goals in third quarter and the teams managed one between them in the last as the home failed to achieve a percentage boost against a team that might be improving. Jesse Turner was the star for Swans and Jess Palmer kicked four goals. Dom Sheed showed he’s ready for a return to the big time – I mean WCE in the AFL.
There was drama at the end of the Fremantle derby after a strange game dominated by both teams at times. After being jumped by the home team it seemed East Fremantle was on the way to ending a 12-game derby drought with a seven-goal second quarter and 21-point half time lead. The Sharks were in control until about midway through the third quarter when everything changed. Caleb Datson and Cam McCarthy got among the goals taking advantage of the good work of ruckman Hamish Free and midfielders Brendon Ah Chee, Haiden Schloithe, Tom Blechynden and Jake Florenca.
Some last quarter inaccuracy by the Bulldogs left the door ajar and late goals by Blaine Boekhorst and Corey Holmes took the visitors within a goal. There was about a minute to go when defender Cam Eardley snuck forward and marked close to goal on a tight angle. His kick went out on the full. It was as bad as Fyfe and Treacy at Leederville on Saturday but there was no second (or third) chance for the Sharks.
Noah Strom was very good in defence for South Fremantle and the new-look Blake Schlensog (below) got better as the game went on against the pint-sized East Fremantle forwards.
Boekhorst was dynamic for the Sharks, Milan Murdock was outstanding in the first half and battled on against a heavy Manfred Kelly tag in the second while Rueben McGuire kicked two goals and looked dangerous.
In the Perth derby it was tight all day with West Perth doing enough. Keegan Knott kicked three goals and Luke Meadows was again good for the Falcons while Hamish Brayshaw put in another fine effort for the Royals.
The official crowd at Fremantle Oval was 6032, at Joondalup there were (about) 2500 but my sources say there were more while at Leederville on Saturday the crowd was recorded at 2834 – I reckon there was a lot more than that.
Peel 11.8 (74) Subiaco 10.8 (68)
Claremont 16.6 (104) Perth 13.2 (68)
Swan Districts 11.11 (77) West Coast 8.9 (57)
South Fremantle 11.15 (81) East Fremantle 12.7 (79)
West Perth 9.8 (62) East Perth 7.6 (48)
Ladder: West Perth 24; East Fremantle 20; Claremont 20; South Fremantle 16; Peel 16; Swan Districts 16; East Perth 12; Subiaco 8; Perth 8; West Coast 0.
Round eight: Claremont vs West Coast; Swan Districts vs Peel; Perth vs Subiaco; East Fremantle vs West Perth; East Perth vs South Fremantle.
Word is that West Coast might have something like 15 AFL-listed players on Saturday. Could the Tigers be robbed of a both a win and a percentage boost? The top of the table meeting between West Perth and East Fremantle at the WACA will start at exactly the same time as the Fremantle-Hawthorn game at nearby Perth Stadium. Just think if you started it at 12.40pm, like the Claremont-West Coast game, people could take in a half before heading to the AFL game.
*Fooynote: On the rare occasion a footy does end up in my hands I always recall the words of Mick Coufos: “Never throw a football to someone. Always handball it. Throwing is not a footy skill!” Mick died on Sunday. He was 91. Go Royals. RIP.