THERE was a taste of Spring in the air as the teams made their way out onto the playing arenas for Round 18 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts. While the top five had been decided, there was no shortage of tricky tests, with a team who will not be playing in September claiming another big scalp.
WAFL Colts Round 18
Peel Thunder 14.10 (94) def. South Fremantle 3.5 (23)
Peel Thunder will finish the home and away season as minor premiers after ruthlessly dispatching of South Fremantle to the tune of 71 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
South Fremantle had been the master of this fixture in recent seasons, but Peel were more interested in the present as they looked to seal top position and move the Bulldogs one step closer to collecting the unwanted wooden spoon.
The opening half was a illustration of dominance as the visitors kicked eight goals to two behinds to take a 52-point lead into the half time break. Peel had six individual goalkickers for half with Tyrone Thorne and bottom ager Jaxon Pitts leading the way with two goals each.
Peel once again managed to keep their opponents goalless while adding another two goals to their tally in the third term. The final quarter was by far the best quarter of the game with both sides going goal for goal. While Peel ended up winning the term, it was good to see the Bulldogs show some fight despite being outclassed throughout the contest. The general stats were pretty close when you consider what the final margin was. The deciding factor was that Peel were able to hit the scoreboard on a frequent basis and amassed 24 scoring shots to just eight by South Fremantle.
Peel are well worth the honour of premiership favourites heading into September having been the best team in the competition in the second half of the season. Once again it was a even spread of contributors for Peel led by Thorne who amassed 25 disposals, seven tackles four inside 50s and five goals. Jack Sears was a major winner with 28 along with five inside 50s while Zachary Rankin was a hard worker all game with 21 disposals, eight tackles and six inside 50s. Meanwhile as it has been for most of the campaign, it was left to far too few for the Bulldogs. The trio of Ira Jetta (27 disposals, eight inside 50s and one goal), Jack Musika (25 disposals, six inside 50s and five tackles) and Manfred Kelly(21 disposals, eight tackles and five inside 50s) were very dependable yet again.
East Fremantle 9.12 (66) def. East Perth 5.8 (38)
The recent giant-killing ways of East Fremantle continued on Saturday as they knocked off yet another finals bound side their fourth in succession – this time it was East Perth to the tune of 28 points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday morning.
The resurgent Sharks carried their recent fine form into the first half of this contest, building a 25-point lead at the long break. The load was shared with five individual goalkickers and the home teams defence was also more than filling their end of the bargain by restricting the Royals to just four scoring shots for the first 50 minutes of action. East Fremantle increased their lead in the third term, kicking two goals to nil leaving the visitors marooned on just one goal for the first three terms.
The visitors who had a lot riding on this encounter having come into it in second place needed to respond to regain a sense of confidence. To their credit, East Perth won the fourth quarter by four goals to two, but the damage had well and truly been done before then. In a quirky statistic, there was no multiple goalkickers on the day with 14 players each kicking one major. The Royals slipped to third and would be hoping for a Subiaco win later in the day against Swan Districts to hold onto that position.
Luke Jackson gave another showing of his all-round talents with 24 disposals, 27 hit-\outs and a goal. Chad Warner was terrific throughout the four quarters with 30 disposals and six tackles, while Trent Rivers picked up 25 disposals, six inside 50s and four marks. For the Royals, Adam Boules continued his terrific season with 31 disposals, six marks and six tackles while Harley Sparks found life tougher on the back of his 47 disposal showing, this week collecting 22 touches and eight marks.
Claremont 11.8 (74) def. West Perth 8.9 (57)
Claremont reclaimed second position on the ladder after a composed 17-point win against West Perth at Claremont Oval on Saturday morning.
After a entertaining first quarter of action with seven goals scored between the two Premiership contenders, Claremont opened up a handy break in the second term kicking three goals to nil and led by 22 points at the long break. Benjamin Elliott kicked his third goal early in the second half to give the home team a five goal margin. While the Falcons were getting the ball into their forward 50, the conversion was certainly lacking.
The difference was that the Tigers were more clinical and managed to increase their lead to 33 points at three quarter time. The Falcons certainly upped their intensity in the early stages of the fourth term with four of the opening five goals of and cutting the margin to 10 points. However, as what so often happens when a team makes a big run, they end up running out of steam and the Tigers were able to steady and clinch a very important victory.
Kade Lines was a key figure in the end result for the Tigers with four goals to go along with 13 disposals and five inside 50s. Jack Cooley had 24 disposals and five tackles and four inside 50s while Joel Western had 23 and three marks. The loss was the third in succession for the Falcons and while at one point seemed a likely prospect to seal a double chance, the Falcons seem likely to face a do or die clash in the first week of the finals. The prolific duo of Tyron Hindmarsh and Koopah Todd each collected 28 disposals and laid five tackles each for the Falcons.
Subiaco 12.8 (80) vs Swan Districts 8.8 (56)
Subiaco were the second team to put a dent in the double chance hopes of a finals bound team when the Lions defeated Swan Districts by 24 points at Kalgoorlie on Saturday evening. After a tight opening half, the Lions booted seven goals to five to gain some separation on their opponents and guarantee a big win with the season winding down.