CLAREMONT Tigers have stormed to their most dominant win of the year, defeating South Fremantle by 51 points in a Round 3 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s victory. The Tigers looked on from the get-go, piling on five goals in the first term, and while the Bulldogs managed to match it with them through the middle two quarters, Claremont broke away again the last to boot 3.1 to 0.0 in the final term and win 11.7 (73) to 3.4 (22).
After having moments in her opening two games, it looked like AFL Women’s Academy member Amy Franklin was ready to tear the competition apart in Round 3. She took a strong mark early in the match, spun around and hit up Tessa Doumanis for a goal, then moments later marked close to goal and put it through the middle. By the time there were three minutes on the clock, Franklin had slotted her second, and almost had her third in the final minute, but it just missed. Luckily for the Tigers, a costly Bulldogs turnover resulted in Brooke Whyte capitalising for a fifth goal in the term.
Mikayla Western – the athletic and talented older sister of Fremantle’s equally-gifted Joel – turned it on with her X-factor inside 50 and also added her name to the goalkickers in the first term, whilst for the Bulldogs, Ella Ward got on the end of one off the back of great defensive pressure up forward from a host of young teammates.
The second term was a lot tighter, with Madeleine Scanlon having time to celebrate a goal with most of her teammates, but her first major in the competition would have to wait until later in the match as it was deemed touched on the way through. Tigers captain Ella Smith was one of the more enthusiastic celebrators with Scanlon’s would-be goal, then nailed one herself with a cheeky look over the shoulder at the goal umpire for the all clear prior to beginning her celebration.
Just when it seemed like party time for Claremont, Zoe Huggett managed to jag one back for the visitors with eight and a half minutes on the clock, as the young brigade of Aaliyah Ugle, Makaela Tuhakaraina and 16-year-old ruck Lauren Wakfer were all having an impact across the ground. However it was Adele Arnup who added another major to the board for Claremont, and the Tigers headed into half-time with a 32-point advantage.
If you had tuned into the match at half-time without a scoreboard, many would not have guessed that Claremont was so far up, as South Fremantle took it up to the Tigers, booting 1.3 apiece and showing they could put pressure on the opposition not only defensively, but on the scoreboard through scoring chances. Hunter Cronin snagged the goal of the day by turning one way and then the other to snap around her body to put it back to 23 points, only for Andie Payne to nail a goal on the run courtesy of a great handball from West Coast’s Sophie McDonald.
There were some sore bodies out there, particularly for South Fremantle as Wakfer, Kiara Templeman and Tahlia Holtze all came from the ground in the third term, with the latter two returning in the fourth quarter. Lauren Vecchio was desperately trying to lift her side in the second half, but the luck was with the Tigers, as any glimpse of an unlikely comeback was snuffed out early. McDonald watched as two Bulldogs collided next to the goalsquare and the AFL Women’s tall scooped up the ball and kicked it from a metre out.
Moments later, Jacinta Valentini backed up from hitting the post off a quick snap with a great goal off a turnover. Zoe Huggett had a snap close to goal which went off the side of the boot and bounced out of bounds, then she came off a bit ginger from the collision. There was just one more chapter to be written in Claremont’s fairytale for the day and it had to come off the boot of the excited Scanlan who, just before the siren, finally got to celebrate six points rather than one, and it sailed home perfectly.
Claremont had a remarkable 10 individual goalkickers in the match, with the likes of Whyte, Doumanis, Payne, Paige Hamilton-Smith and Matilda Husband impressing the coaches plenty. Franklin spent the second half in defence after her two-goal effort that could have been a couple more as well. For the Bulldogs, Ugle was electric, Vecchio, Holtze and Templeman were all strong, and Gabrielle Canicosa was also named among the best. Tuhakaraina showed some of the talent she possesses all across the ground and one who is incredibly dangerous with her combination of speed and power.
Meanwhile in other results, East Fremantle dominated Subiaco to grab the Sharks’ first win of the season, leaving the Bulldogs’ as the sole winless side thus far in season 2021. The defence of the home team was up to the task, kicking three goals in each of the halves – though were kept to just two points in the final term – to win 6.9 (45) to 0.1 (1).
Madeline Ross had a day out with three goals, while Gabby Radojkovich almost did, kicking three behinds for the Sharks. Alli Noakes, Larissa Versaci and Elle Sanders all kicked majors with the goal kickers standing out in the victory. Samara Pluschke and Laura McClelland were also impressive for the winners, while for the Lions, Beatrice Devlyn scored her side’s sole behind in the match. Liana Burchell, Tayla Thorogood and Sarah Walters were named Subiaco’s best in the loss.
In the top of the table clash between Peel Thunder and Swan Districts, it was the visitors who found a chink in the reigning premiers’ armour, defeating the Thunder by 28 points at David Grays Arena. With an abundance of talent on both sides, the match was fairly even throughout the first half as the Swans led by three points at quarter time and two points at the half, before putting the foot down. Seven goals to three in the second half sent a message to the rest of the competition that the black and whites mean business in the 2021 season.
Mikayla Morrison slotted four goals for the Swans, with Sarah Wielstra best-on for her work through the ruck and up forward with two majors, as did developing tall Sarah Lakay. Nyra Anderson and Taylah Edwards both slotted a goal, while Aimee Ralph, Jaime Henry, Melisha Hardy and Ashley Sharp were named amongst the best. For Peel, the most dominant forward in the competition in Kate Bartlett still slotted three majors, while State Academy member Aisha Wright kicked two in the loss. West Australian Under 19s co-captain Jaide Britton was best-on for the Thunder, while Chloe Wrigley and Nel Baxter were also amongst the best.
Next week the Thunder will look to bounce back in another home game, this time against South Fremantle, whilst the unbeaten Swan Districts travel to play East Fremantle. Subiaco hosts Claremont at Leederville Oval in a Saturday evening fixture with the other two games played at 2pm on Sunday, local time.
WAFL WOMEN’S ROUND 3 RESULTS:
East Fremantle 6.9 (45) defeated Subiaco 0.1 (1)
Peel Thunder 5.8 (38) defeated by Swan Districts 10.6 (66)
Claremont 11.7 (73) defeated South Fremantle 3.4 (22)