WAFL: Round 14 – Thrillers, a comeback, a premiership and a gap

 

• Harry Taylor prepares to kick his fourth goal for East Fremantle. Photos by Les Everett

 

The WAFL continues…

 

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.

 

• Peel’s Luke Valente.

 

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. He has been in good form for Northampton in the GNFL. 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 trial 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.

 

• Claremont’s Declan Mountford finds himself between Schlensog & Schloithe.

 

The Tigers (Covid) Almanac 2020 will be published in the coming weeks. It will have all the usual features – a game by game account of the Tigers season – and will also include some of the best Almanac writing from the Covid winter.  Pre-order right now HERE

 

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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

Comments

  1. Thanks Les. Great summary of a strong WAFL comp this year with the top 5 now well identified for finals.
    Terrific game at Bassendean with the Eagles having a loaded list of fringe and emerging AFL players and my Swan Districts coming off a breakthrough win against Subiaco.
    The end result was the same as the Monday night debacle against North Melbourne – a team full of champion “talent” got beaten by a champion team of hungry Swannies. You’d have been proud of me Les – sticking it up those toffee-nosed overpaid prima donnas from the Eagles! Their supporters were less amused – but why anyone beyond family & friends would barrack for a made up development team of floating makeup – is quite beyond me. At least the Peel Dockers have some vague regional identity. The Eagles WAFL team (not the players) are just mercenaries actively destabilising the local comp (witness the inability to have a round of games when they take their full squad away to quarantine).
    Back at the game – Sandover Medalist midfielder Sam Fisher had his best game for Swans for months. The Eagles obviously don’t see tagging as a development skill worth pursuing. Tireless Tony Notte’s intercept marking stemmed many Eagles attacks. Young indigenous forward Warrick Wilson had an exceptional day with strong marking of the greasy ball and straight kicks from different angles. Lewis Jetta has got his confidence and focus back with his best game for Swans and elite disposal. His greatest benefit is the growth in young indigenous players Wilson & Reidy who attack the ball with much more purpose & vigour with Jetta’s arm around them.
    Worth contrasting that with Eagles young indigenous players Winder and Garlett who have highlight reels but lack work rate. How the AFL Eagles don’t find a part-time development role for Jetta with Liam Ryan and Willie Rioli is beyond me. Ryan’s ill-discipline and flying for hangers when he should be crumbing is a more common part of his game than his occasional brilliant goals.
    Swans were well beaten in the ruck by the monstrous frames of Nathan Vardy and Bailey Williams, but our Corey Gault thoroughly outworked and outmarked them around the ground (is there a theme here?) But the real highlight of Swans game was the old “all played well” tag. I can only think of two players who were soundly beaten in their position and the group all kept working when the Eagles got ahead in the last quarter through their tap and clearance dominance. The reward was a late winning goal from a great chain of kicks and handpasses when Sam Fisher snared a tap to win a clearance.
    For the Eagles – key defender Harry Edwards and mid season draft pickup Connor West were best. They’d both be on the plane to Adelaide replacing McGovern and Gaff in my AFL side. The AFL side needs hunger more than comfortable superannuants. Luke Foley and Xavier O’Neill were handy but still too light for AFL intensity. 2018 flag player Mark Hutchings got 30 games with tireless outside running on the comeback trail from ongoing knee problems. Stats watchers will want him back in the AFL team but his disposal has never been penetrating and he seems to have lightened off to take weight off his knee and might lack the physicality for his former tagging role. Pass. Jake Waterman kicked 3 goals but in a over-tall AFL lineup his opportunity will come as 3rd tall after JK retires. Vardy and Ainsworth are in my delist pile. None of the young rookies stood out – with Callum Jamieson showing the most promise tried as a key defender.
    Morning golf; a great WAFL contest and win in the afternoon; and an Ash Barty win at night made it one of the best days I can remember. Living the dream. Go Swannies.

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