WAFL Grand Final – Claremont v South Fremantle: Bulldogs seize the moment

The WAFL grand final came to Fremantle Oval and it was a classic.


For a change the WAFL got some luck with the weather with blue skies greeting the 10,179 strong crowd. Despite the sparkle the day proved difficult for the players. A strong wind favoured the prison end but it wasn’t easy to use and goal kicking from some angles was almost impossible. Well drilled defences love such conditions.



A seagull picks the perfect moment to fly in front of the scoreboard during the WAFL Grand Final. [Les Everett]


First South Fremantle and then Claremont did well into the breeze and at half time the home team led by just three points.


South controlled the early part of the third quarter but deserved, and needed, more than the two goals they scrambled. Then the Tigers surged and took a two-point lead into the last quarter.



Jimmy Miller and the crowd react after he’d kicked South’s final goal. [Les Everett]


One of the big advantages the Bulldogs had was high marking with Zac Strom, in particular, outstanding. He also kicked two goals. Fellow big man Jimmy Miller was also strong in the air and fittingly it was his goal after a strong mark in the last quarter that proved to be the match winner.


Declan Hardisty kicked a goal to reduce the margin to three points at the 19-minute mark and then followed about six minutes of tension, tackling and resistance.


Apart from Strom and Miller the Bulldogs got great service from captain Dylan Main and the skilful Haiden Schloithe in the midfield, mighty ruckman Brook Higgins, pacy Jacob Dragovich and defender Blayne Wilson who regularly popped up in the right places.


Claremont’s Jye Bolton won the Simpson Medal as the best player on the ground. His was an interesting performance. In the first half he got lots of the ball but in places the Bulldogs would have been happy for him to have it. In the second half Bolton was magnificent and almost dragged his team over the line. Alec Waterman kicked three goals for the Tigers to further enhance his reputation and Jared Hardisty was combative and creative as usual.


The atmosphere at Fremantle Oval and surrounds was tremendous. I don’t go to the footy to eat or drink but those that do seemed to be well looked after, the dignitaries were catered for and there was an area for the corporate types. And the scoreboard with its slick attendants was a wonderful sight.


Still someone thinks we need music during breaks but at least it wasn’t too loud and much of it was by The Church… maybe The Unguarded Moment foretold the story of the grand final. The sound system for the on-ground speeches was useless but the day was great. Imagine how good it will be with improved facilities.



League: South Fremantle 6.10 (46) Claremont 6.7 (43)


Reserves: East Perth 9.12 (66) Claremont 5.7 (37)


Colts: Subiaco 15.12 (102) Claremont 6.7 (43)





The 2020 WAFL premiers. [Les Everett]




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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. Oh to be able to go to the footy, Les. Thanks

  2. Les Everett says

    I stood in the same spot at the fence for seven quarters (three colts, four league) plus all the breaks. Luxury. I loved it. Kind of a 1960s or 70s experience. Vic will be back into it in 2021.

  3. Geez, Les, I thought with you being an East Perth supporter and living in Freo, you might have made it along to the most important game of the day: the reserves grand final.
    The crowd of 10,179 included many Royals supporters such as myself who left after the ressies to celebrate a rare East Perth premiership back at the club.

  4. Les Everett says

    Good point Pete. But I did sing along with the song from my backyard.

  5. Ah, Les, that explains the enthusiastic rendition of “East Perth forever boys, East Perth are we; East Perth a great tradition, with the premiership our mission” I heard from nearby as I walked back to my car.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    Looks a healthy crowd. Only 10K. Claremont looks as if they suffered a long day. Our (SANFUL) prelim this week with South Adelaide the sentimental favorites. Might get 5K as neither club pulls a crowd.

  7. Daryl, given your regular season was 14 games versus the 8 we had over here, the SANFL was certainly more pro-active than the WAFL.
    Amazing that Port Adelaide, by virtue of its AFL arrangement, didn’t field a team in the SA domestic competition for the first time in its 150-year history.

  8. Daryl Schramm says

    Yes, we were lucky with the 14 games, and IMHO no AFL sides made the year very straight forward. Don’t know the attendance figure from yesterday but I suspect around 4-5K. Eagles too good (they did finish top) and South have to wait a little longer for their breakthrough GF appearance. I’ll stick my neck out and say under 18K for this week’s GF. Given everything, including the allreadysoldout Port match on Fri night the fact it is happening is a bonus.

  9. I notice this is Woodville-West Torrens’ 11th grand final in the 30 years since the merger, Daryl.
    Given the two parties’ records pre 1991, the merger seems to’ve been a success.
    However, my tip from afar for Sunday’s GF is North Adelaide.

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