Finals time in the WAFL

The finals start in the WAFL on Sunday and only one of last year’s top four will be taking part.

After their one-point loss in the Andrew Krakouer grand final last year only a premiership will do for top team Claremont. The Tigers haven’t been as convincing in 2010 and third-placed Subiaco is probably the team going into the finals with the best form.

Claremont will play West Perth in the second semi final at Claremont Oval. The Falcons won their first eight games but lost four of their last five to limp into the finals.

Then they last met West Perth beat Claremont by six points.

The midfield is the key for the Tigers with Luke Blackwell and Kane Mitchell incredibly consistent. Beau Wilkes has been kicking goals and Andrew Foster, youngster Jack Bradshaw (son of the WAFC CEO), Chad Jones and Ian Richardson are very dangerous in attack.

The names to look out for at the Falcons are captain Jason Salecic, Anthony Tsalikis and Andrew Strjik – they’re good players and they kick goals too.

Claremont to win.

In the first semi at Leederville Oval Subiaco will meet South Fremantle. The Lions have the competition’s leading goal scorer Blake Broadhurst in their line up and the competition’s best ruckman Michael Rix. Kyal Horsely has been in hot form as has Jason Bristow who has gone from honest battler to star over the last few weeks while 38-year-old Allistar Pickett always causes trouble.

The Bulldogs made the finals by winning the Fremantle derby last week. They have a Dockers-style injury list but have discovered they have depth. Paul Hasleby is a clever forward as is Cory Dell-Olio. Young ruckman Damian Hayward has made a difference making life easier for midfielders like Kris Miller and Toby Bairstow.

Subiaco to win.

About this time of the year we start casting an AFL eye on the WAFL hoping to pluck out a ready-made player. Krakouer and Fremantle’s Tendai Mzungu did it this year as did West Coast’s Jack Darling, though he’s not really in the mature-age category.

Let’s have a look in finishing order…

Claremont: Luke Blackwell’s had a go in the AFL and he’ll turn 25 before the year is out. An outstanding finals series could make someone take a punt. I reckon the talent spotters in the crowd at the Foxtel Cup grand final would have put a tick next to Kane Mitchell, not because of the Tom Alvin look but for the way he willed himself into the game almost won it for his team. Jake Murphy has been an outstanding running defender and lately midfielder and Jack Bradshaw is quick, confident and skilful. I like the Tom Lee, who can pinch hit in the ruck and play in the forward line and the Tigers will, as usual, have a swag of exciting players, like Marley Williams, in the colts.

West Perth: Mark Hutchings might have earned himself another go. Watch out for Stephen Hill’s brother Bradley.

Subiaco: Kyal Horsely has a left-foot kick that will  make spotters go weak at the knees. He’s slipped up from defence into the midfield.

South Fremantle: Cory Dell-Olio is 21, clever, likes a goal and likes setting them up. Ruckmen are rare so Damian Hayward might attract some attention. Toby Bairstow, son of Mark, runs all day and gets the ball and keep an eye on youngsters Brendon Gully, Shane Kerstein and Hayden Schloithe on draft day.

East Fremantle: The talent people will be looking at the Sharks colts. Will they be able to resist Chad Sandilands (brother of) or Jordan Dorotich (son of)?

Perth: Hayden Busher can take a mark and kick a goal, all eyes will be on Jaegar O’Meara when GWS does their fiddling around in the trade period.

East Perth: Brendan Lee is 24, seems to always have the ball and uses it well. Who wouldn’t want Freddie Clutterbuck on their list? He’s more than a name, he’s a hard runner and looks a bit like Michael Barlow when he moves… HEY HEY SETTLE DOWN YOU BLOKES… NO NEED TO PUSH.

Nathan Blee is a solid and smart defender and Garry Moss had a fine season and could be worth another go.

Swan Districts: The 2010 premiers narrowly missed the wooden spoon. Graham Jetta (older brother of Lewis) has developed into a very reliable running defender but might be a bit old – he’s 25 in November.

Peel: I can’t see anyone sneaking out of their league team… look to the colts.

Photo: Robert Young take a big mark for East Fremantle in the derby. The Sharks lost and dropped out of the four. Photo by Les Everett.

About Les Everett

A Footy Almanac veteran, Les Everett is the author of Gravel Rash: 100 Years of Goldfields Football and Fremantle Dockers: An Illustrated History. He is the footyalmanac.com WAFL correspondent and uses the money he makes from that role to pay for his expensive websites australianrules.com.au and talkingfrankie.com and fund the extravagant Vin Maskell at scoreboardpressure.com

Comments

  1. Hi Les

    How’s the finals series shaping in comparison to last year? Will the WAFL get a game like last year’s GF from the way the top four have played into finals time? Or was last year’s GF one for the ages? Anyway, I hope it’s a ripper series. It’s a pity the Hawks delisted Garry Moss. I thought he was doing some good things last year.

    Cheers

  2. It might be 20 years before we see a game like last year’s GF. You could make a big case for all of the top four this year so some close games are on the cards. By the way South Fremantle’s team includes four players… Paul Hasleby, Andrew McGarry, Kris Miller and Theo Adams who have won for the fairest and best award for East Fremantle… hey Gigs, that must be some kinda record.

  3. Maybe the close ones are to come. Claremont beat West Perth by 85 points. Subiaco beat South Fremantle by 85 points.

  4. John Butler says:

    Hi Les

    I assume that Luke Blackwell is the former Blues player. Wayne’s son.

    Good to hear he prospers over in the West. Would he really be a chance to get drafted again?

  5. Yes that’s him. He was runner-up to Andrew Krakouer in the Sandover Medal last year and will finish top three again this year. Mature-age is the new 17 in the AFL and more players are needed so you could do worse than get someone who nows how to get the ball.

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