WAFL Round 1 – Unexpected results by Les Everett

WAFL round one

THE 2016 WAFL season has started. The big talk leading up to round one was the strength of the alignment teams with Peel and East Perth fielding unusually high proportions of AFL listed players. Some said they should start the year by playing each other – just to make it fair. Turns out they both lost.
The game I saw was on TV from Fremantle Oval – I think the commentary team was trying to give it some naming rights name… please. The Channel Seven coverage is very welcome and pretty good despite the heavy handedness of 2015. One suggestion – no need to give extra plugs to the sponsors during the call, it kind of makes you sound like a community radio station.

West Perth kicked the first two goals and I was having dark thoughts about South.

Tim Kelly

Tim Kelly

Suddenly the Bulldogs looked good. Sandover Medal fancy Ashton Hams had 15 disposals in the first quarter – he gets a lot of touches by lurking around after a team mate has taken a mark but his expert distribution by foot (we will refer to this as kicking for the rest of the season) makes him dangerous. South’s best midfielder in my opinion was Tim Kelly while Marlion Pickett, who seemed to be used as a key defender, played a remarkable game. The Bulldogs have two dangerous big forwards in Ben Saunders, who kicked three goals, and Mason Shaw, recently returned from Port Adelaide. When they learn to play together they’ll cause trouble. Josh Pullman marked well in defence.

Andrew Strijk was effective for the Falcons as was Jay Van Berlo while Max Duffy (East Fremantle. Peel, Fremantle) kicked three goals in his first outing for the red and blues.

South Fremantle 14.14 (98) West Perth 9.9 (63)

The most surprising result was at Leederville where East Perth, stacked with Eagles and celebrating the establishment of a new record for games played for the club were favoured to account for Claremont. The game was the 270th for Craig Wulff beating Derek Chadwick’s record that had stood since 1972. Wulff won’t beat Chaddy’s record of seven losing grand finals although he knows the feeling having played and lost in 2013 and 2014.


Anyway Claremont absolutely thrashed the Royals. Darcy Cameron kicked four goals, Matt Davies continued on from where he left off last year and Jared Hardisty (pictured playing for WA 18s in 2014 and will become a crowd favourite), was good in his return from Hawthorn as the Tigers suggested they are well and truly back in contention.

Claremont 16.14 (11) East Perth 5.4 (34)

Peel were even more stuffed full of AFL players – only four, including new captain Gerald Ugle, were not on the Fremantle list. Thunder also lost but it was close and against the 2015 premiers. Peel established a good lead early but a match-winning performance by Kyle Halligan, who kicked six goals, helped turn the tide. Kyal Horsley was a dominant figure in the midfield.

Harley Bennell, in his first game for Peel since 2010, kicked four goals and Zac Clarke was the best ruckman on the ground.

Subiaco 12.10 (82) Peel 10.14 (74)

Rob Wiley enjoyed his return to WA footy as he guided East Fremantle to a strong victory over Swan Districts. Cameron Eardley was the star for the Sharks along with busy midfielder Sean Henson. Justin Simpson played his 150th game for Swans and was his team’s best player.

East Fremantle 16.15 (111) Swan Districts 9.8 (62)

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


  1. Did you get down the hill to take in the South Freo game in the flesh? Only thing poorer than Mark Readings and Embers on 7Mate was my Swan Districts and the East Perth Eagles. Swans list has been denuded by retirements and the AFL listing of Ryan Davis and Crowley. Dunno what to make of EPE? Too many big logs like McInnes and Giles? AFL leftovers throw team balance out of whack. Or blokes spitting the dummy when they realise they won’t be on the AFL short list?
    Still there is always the AFL season to look forward to. The Round 3 Derby awaits. Will you be joining the Fourthorn bandwagon for Round 2, or will be some semblance of state loyalty?

  2. Country duties will limit my WAFL live watching for the early part of the season… I was out of town on Saturday.

    There are all sorts of agendas going on with the aligned teams (playing loads, positions etc) while the untainted teams just have to think about winning.

    I take it the WC Evil is playing Hawthorn in round two.

  3. Oh and by the way the South Fremantle player in the photo is Tim Kelly. I took it last year and wrongly labelled it as Marlion Pickett… we’re now half way to correcting it.

  4. I hope you aren’t suggesting “tanking” by the AFL affiliates? I know Chris Connoly has ‘form’ in that regard, but the late Dean Bailey would be rolling over in his grave at the thought of the AFL conspiring in “tanking”.

  5. Thanks editors

    Tanking Mr_B?

    But, for example, on Saturday East Perth had a WC Evil listed player Dom Sheed (ex Goldfields and Subiaco).
    Apparently he didn’t play in the first and last quarters. Let’s call it agendaing

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