WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Royals avoid elimination as Claremont books date with Peel

SEPTEMBER is always a special time for every football fan around the country as it means that finals time has arrived. These are the moments that every player lives for and where reputations are carved out. There is an extra level of significance when it comes to the Colts players with recruiting scouts from all AFL clubs watching with keen interest. A strong finals series can see them move one step closer to their senior footballing dream.

WAFL Colts wrap – Finals Week 1

East Perth 8.5 (53) def. Swan Districts 4.5 (29)

East Perth has progressed on to week two of the finals by eliminating 2018 runners-up Swan Districts by 24 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday morning.

The teams split their meetings in the regular season and there was not a lot between the two sides in either game. Swans trailed for the best part of three quarters before storming home to win by 16 points in Round 2. Three months later in Bunbury saw a late burst by the Royals prove the difference as they won by 16 points. So there was no sense of underlying trepidation for either camp heading into this elimination clash.

The Royals got the quick start in this contest, kicking three goals to one and led by 11 points at quarter time. The first goal in the second term came eleven minutes in through Steele Cahill and was soon followed by another to Sebit Kuek. You never want to drop too far behind in a game, especially in an elimination clash Swans found themselves in a 25-point hole at the long break. While Swans were getting their hands on the ball, one thing they needed to fix was their forward entries only having 14 compared to 24 for East Perth. Bottom age midfielder Adam Boules was the lead player on the ground in terms of disposals at the long break with 18 along with four tackles and three inside 50s. Meanwhile, 16 year-old Kade Dittmar was bringing the energy and tenacity required in games like this with eight tackles. In terms of Swan Districts, the ever reliable Sebastian Bright was leading the way with 12 disposals and nine tackles.

A goal to Brock Fisher early in the third term meant that the margin was back to within three goals, but the Royals hit back hard to goals by Cahill and bottom ager Jy Thompson. Despite taking the ball inside 50 in a more frequent fashion, the end product was certainly lacking and Swans were unable to truly eat into the margin. The equation was simple but extremely challenging at the same time, Swans needed at least six goals in the final 25 minutes while keeping their opposition near enough to goalless to keep their season alive.

East Perth looked to blunt any opportunity for a comeback at the start of the fourth term. When Ethan Nordahl kicked the first goal of the term, there was only 12 minutes left on the clock. However, they were certainly going to leave everything out there and cut the margin further when Kade Wallrodt kicked his first for the game. It was all hands to the pump for the Royals defence as Swans were attacking at will but the leaders were holding firm. Against the run of play, Luke Furlong put the result beyond doubt when he kicked East Perth first for the term and that sealed East Perth’s fate to play the loser of the Claremont and West Perth clash next week.

After the heartbreak of seeing the double chance slip through their fingers in the last minute last week, it was a fine response by the Royals who led for the great majority of this final and were deserved winners. For Swans, it told a story about how the second half of the season went. The effort was there, it was just the lack of goal scoring quality which was absent when it truly mattered. Swan Districts had 46 more disposals (322-277) but East Perth were able to conjure up four more scoring shots (13-9). The game was won in the first half when the Royals opened up a four goal break. Swans had the better of the game in the second half, but East Perth’s resilient defence was able to stand strong.

Adam Boules was tremendous throughout the four quarters for East Perth and finished with 28 disposals, eight tackles and inside 50s. His midfield companion Cooper Sparks also had plenty of tenacity and had 12 tackles to go with 19 disposals. The ruck combination of Joshua Ladhams and Sebit Kuek were terrific for the Royals combining for 49 hit-outs, 28 disposals and 13 marks. Meanwhile for Swan Districts, Sebastian Bright was tireless with 25 disposals, 13 tackles and five inside 50s. Kade Walldrot also tried hard with 23 disposals, five inside 50s and four tackles.

Claremont 7.4 (46) def. West Perth 5.11 (41)

Claremont are just two games away from a grand final appearance after defeating a wasteful West Perth by five points at Joondalup Arena on Sunday morning.

Just like the clash on Saturday, the teams split their meetings in the regular season. West Perth won the first clash by 15 points way back in Round 2. But perhaps a more accurate gauge was when the Tigers claimed a 17-point victory three weeks ago. While both teams would have loved to progress to the second semi final against Peel next week, they could relax through the knowledge that there is a second chance for the loser.

Due to the fact that West Perth’s seniors were playing their elimination final at Joondalup Arena later on in the day, it was a advantage for the Colts side to be playing there despite Claremont finishing higher on the ladder. The game began in heavily overcast conditions with showers forecast. Claremont dominated the first quarter in terms of taking the ball inside 50s (16-5) without hitting the scoreboard.

The Falcons made them pay early in the second term by opening up a nine point lead when Liam Foley goaled. The teams then traded goals and the Falcons were able to hold onto their margin for the rest of the half. The overall statistics told an interesting story. West Perth had more in terms of disposals (165-141) and scoring shots (9-5) but Claremont had taken the ball more inside their attacking arc (25-17).

Callum Johnson was leading the way for the home side with tremendous effort compiling 16 disposals, making nine tackles and kicking a goal. His ruckman Zak Patterson was terrific in giving his midfielders first use with 20 hit-outs. For the Tigers it was Jack Cooley with 15 disposals, five tackles and four inside 50s.

The third quarter was terrific tight finals footy with no quarter asked for and none given in response. Claremont were able to finally get their attacking game into gear in the greasy conditions during this term much like they did last week against Swan Districts. Ben Elliott became the first multiple goalscorer of the contest which put the Tigers in front for the first time since late in the first term. One quarter to go and the Tigers took a slender four point lead into the deciding term. It had been a game of momentum to this point so it was up to the Falcons to see if they could respond.

They were edging their way back through behinds, tying the game at 34 apiece. Jack Buller gave back the Tigers the lead and that was followed by Logan Young. West Perth now needed three scores in little over five minutes to claim an unlikely victory. They got a extremely late goal through Tyron Hindmarsh, however the game was over by the time the umpire bounced the ball in the square. With that, the Tigers moved onto the major semi final against minor premiers Peel next week, while West Perth will play old rivals East Perth in the first semi.

It was a game of missed opportunities for the Falcons especially when they had all the play in the early stages of the fourth term. But as the old adage goes, bad kicking is bad football and the Tigers clinical play made them pay. There was nothing much between the two teams when it came to disposals (295-285) and inside 50s which Claremont ended up winning by just one (41-40).

In terms of individuals, it was Callum Jamieson who was sensational, with the ruck-forward covering every inch of grass amassing 28 disposals, six marks, six tackles and 15 hit-outs. Jack Cooley was terrific in his usual fashion with 26 disposals, six tackles and six inside 50s while Anthony Davis was rock solid with 23 disposals and six marks. The Falcons were led by a terrific in and under display by Callum Johnson with 28 disposals, 12 tackles and a goal. His fellow midfielder Tyron Hindmarsh also tried hard with 26 disposals, eight tackles, four marks, five inside 50s and a goal.

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