THE second week of a finals series often gives us an indication regarding who are serious premiership contenders and who are just making up the numbers. This weekend saw the opportunity for one side to book a grand final date, while two other teams were fighting to keep their premiership dream alive.
All the details on a pivotal weekend of finals action is below.
WAFL Colts wrap: Semi-Finals
Subiaco 14.10 (94) defeated Swan Districts 7.6 (48)
Subiaco has qualified for its first Colts Grand Final in 23 years after a accomplished 46-point win over Swan Districts at Leederville Oval on Sunday.
In terms of their 2018 meetings, the Lions had got the better of Swan Districts, winning all three games by comfortable margins. When they met at the same venue in round three it was 36 points, Subi held sway all game to beat the Black and Whites by 21 points at Steel Blue Oval in Round 12 and in their most recent meeting last month, Subiaco were able to handle the extremely wet conditions to post a commanding 38 point victory.
The big question coming into this game was how would Subiaco perform coming off the bye especially as they had plenty of momentum coming into the finals after recording eleven straight wins. However, Swans arguably had one of their best wins of the season last week when they upset second placed Peel Thunder in the qualifying final. So while Subi went into the contest as clear favourites, Swans was certainly not without their chances.
A perfect sunny spring day greeted both teams as both teams ran onto the ground. Swan Districts made the perfect start with a mark to Kade Walldrot and the resulting 50-metre penalty made his shot for goal even more certain. Walldrot then made it two goals in as many minutes as the underdogs got off to the best possible start. The Lions were looking to get their hands on the ball to assert some forward line pressure and a fumble by Brenton Hilton on the last line of defence gave Nathan French a gift from close range to open the minor premiers’ account. A great pack mark and goal by the highly rated draft prospect Luke Foley then gave the Lions their second, but the visitors quickly replied as Walldrot kicked his third of the term.
Swans were looking assured with the ball in hand as their confidence from last week’s win was flowing over to the early stages of this contest. The signs were there for a terrific contest when Jordan Faroane kicked truly for the Lions from 45 metres. However, from the following centre clearance, Swan Districts took the ball forward and a clever soccer goal by Ethan Nordahl put them back in front by a goal.
Subiaco had the last word in a captivating first quarter of free flowing end to end footy when Jake McKinnon kicked a goal from a 50-metre penalty to level the scores at 4.1 apiece at the first break. Zane Shellabear Healy then gave Subiaco their biggest lead of the game with a early goal to start the second term and there were signs that the Lions were getting their game into motion.
The stakes were clearly raised with both teams cracking in very hard and every tackle having a real impact. Faroane kicked Subiaco’s second for the term and that was soon followed by French kicking his second as the Lions were now moving towards top gear. Foley then joined in on the goalscoring blitz by kicking his team’s third in as many minutes and in doing so becoming their third multiple goalscorer for the game.
In the blink of an eye, Swans were on the ropes and desperately needed a goal. It came courtesy of a kick inside their forward 50 by Jarred Cameron which hit Walldrot on the chest and gave him his fourth for the game. However it was becoming clear that Swans’ needed another outlet other than the bottom ager if they wanted to stay with the minor premiers. This was certainly the case as Subiaco had multiple goalscoring options and that was illustrated when Jack Mayo delivered a great kick inside 50 which French was able to run into open space and kick his third.
The five goal to one second quarter by Subiaco shaped as being a pivotal in the outcome of the contest with Foley (14 disposals two goals ) and French 14 disposals (two goals) having a outstanding impact. While Swans’ were far from being out of the contest (24 point deficit), they clearly needed a lot more from their key movers such as Riley Garcia (seven disposals), Jarrod Cameron (five disposals), Joe Hinder (four disposals) and Patrick Farrant (two disposals).
Sixteen year-old Mitch Georgiades got the home team off to the best possible start in the third term by taking a good mark and goaling from close range. Swans were struggling to get any momentum in their forward line and their plight was summed up when Cameron had a straight kick from 50 metres touched on the line. Subiaco then went down the other end where Nicolas Martin snapped truly from close range. The Lions hunger for the contest was infectious all over the ground, not giving their opponents a inch of space. All the visitors were able to conjure up in the third quarter was a solitary point and a damning statistic was since the start of the second quarter, the Black and Whites had been outscored 7.5 to 1.1.
Taj Schofield kept up the Lions’ dominance at the start of the fourth term with a goal from a set shot goal from 45 metres. While a rare second half forward thrust by Swans’ had finished without reward a few minutes beforehand, that failed to deterHinder with the rebounding defender producing a fantastic piece of individual play to kick their first goal since half time, however Subi got the instant reply through Martin. Nordahl got a late consolation goal from a strong mark in the forward pocket, but just like they had done all game, Subiaco had the final say through Benjamin Golding and in reality the final margin of 46 points was a fair reflection of the game.
The final siren sounded and the reality that Subiaco were into the decider swept through the playing group as the celebrations was clear to see. However they will know that the hard work is not done as they aim to win their first Colts premiership since 1989 and remarkably just the third in their illustrious history after their first triumph in 1974.
Just like their big brothers in the seniors, the young Lions have a remarkable ability to flick the switch at any moment which instantly leave their opponents flat-footed and seemingly without any answers. It is also a very scary prospect for the other eight sides that the Lions have a remarkable amount of depth across all grades (their reserves finished top and are in the Preliminary final).
Meanwhile, it was a tough day for Swan Districts as they fell to their fourth straight loss against Subiaco this season with none of the losses have been under three goals. However their win last week gives them another bite of the cherry as they play Peel for the second time in a fortnight at Fremantle Oval next Sunday. They will need their forward line to be in better form as three goal kickers is not going to win a major final at any level.
Subiaco held sway in all of the major categories, but a key factor was the extra amount of scoring shots they were able to generate compared to their opponents (24-13). The second term was the key quarter with Subiaco outscoring their opponents five goals to one. Two of the key players in that quarter wasFrench and Foley who each kicked two goals in that term.
French finished the game with 25 disposals, three marks and three goals, while AFL combine invitee Luke Foley switched seamlessly between midfield and the forward line finishing with 22 disposals, five marks, five tackles and two goals. Madoc Plane subdued the influence of Jarred Cameron when he was stationed in the Swans forward line and finished with 10 disposals, while his fellow defenders in Kyle Stainsby and Samuel West were also key figures in shutting down the other attacking weapons of Swan Districts.
Walldrot was a beacon of hope in the forward 50 for Swan Districts until the forward entries dried up after half time. However, the bottom ager still had a impact around the ground finishing with 15 disposals nine marks and four goals. The back six of Swan Districts had their hands full throughout the game, but one player who could hold his head up high was bottom ager Pasini who kept Subiaco focal point Mayo goalless while taking five marks himself.
Peel Thunder 8.14 (62) defeated East Fremantle 9.6 (60)
In the first semi-final, Peel Thunder withstood a surging East Fremantle side to defeat the reigning premiers by two points and eliminate them from the finals race while progressing to the Preliminary final where they will play Swan Districts looking to gain revenge from last week’s defeat.
Peel Thunder led throughout the large majority of the contest, but a inaccurate third term where they could only kick 3.7 to 1.0 left the door ajar for the Sharks to make one last push as they trailed by 20 points with a quarter to play.
The defending premiers did just that kicking 5.3 to 1.3 and hitting the front for the first time in the game with nine minutes remaining. Determined not to bow out in straight sets after their defeat to Swans last week, Peel regained their composure and kicked the winning goal with only three minutes remaining and managed to hold on to record the thrilling victory. Over time we have seen teams blow opportunities to win games with wasteful kicking on goal and Peel was very nearly one of those teams with seven more scoring shots on the day, but luckily on this occasion that did not prove to be the case.
Lachlan Riley and James Sturrock led the way in terms of possessions with 25 and 22 disposals respectively while bottom age talents Jack Sears and Ben Middleton were important with two goals each. The Sharks spread the load when it came to goalkickers with eight, but only bottom ager Trent Rivers was able to put multiple goals on the board with two. Rivers produced a great all-round performance with 19 disposals and six marks while Milan Murdock produced his typical in and under performance with 23 disposals and 13 tackles.