IF you want to win the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s flag this year, you will have to get through Swan Districts. Heading into the top of the table clash, it was evident we would find out which team is the real deal, and now we know for sure. Despite Claremont heading into the game only one win behind their opponents, they were convincingly beaten by the Swans in what turned out to be a somewhat one-sided affair. The first quarter was as even as it gets, with both teams heading into the first break tied. The final three quarters belonged to the Districts as they put their opponents under immense pressure, as they ran out victors 7.4 (46) to 2.1 (13).
The two best teams in the competition heading into the match unfortunately played each other on the same weekend as a representative competition. This meant both sides put a significantly weaker side than previous weeks, but this didn’t matter. Both teams went into the game with talent all over the ground and this showed in the first quarter. The game was even all over the ground, with physical contests and hard-won clearances going either way. The Swans kicked the first goal through Hayley Cole, who was the recipient of some terrific hands in traffic from the home team. The lead was short-lived however, as Claremont responded immediately through Ella Smith, who capped off her blistering start to the game with a major of her own.
The armwrestle continued as neither side could gain an advantage, with the Swan Districts’ second goal followed up by another immediate response from the Tigers. At quarter time, it looked as if the match would be a closely fought contest. This all changed in the second quarter though, when Swan Districts were able to break away, tackling hard and forcing their opponents into turnovers, all the while hitting the scoreboard themselves. The third quarter saw Claremont raise the fight to their opposition but failed to capitalise on the scoreboard. Meanwhile, the Swans took their chances inside 50, and the quarter ended with two goals to nil in their favour. Two more goals to Swan Districts in the fourth sealed the win as their undefeated streak continues, and will be hopeful regarding the availability of Aimee Ralph, who was replaced on report. The Tigers slipped to third following the loss, and will be monitoring the wellbeing of Madeleine Scanlon, who was concussed during the match.
For the Swan Districts, the backline duo of Lauren Osbourne and Emily McGuire were remarkable in not only consistently thwarting the forward 50 entries of the Tigers, but also generating some key run from the backline. At different stages, both displayed composure under pressure, and were able to extract the ball from the backline and rebound out of the defensive 50 to find a teammate up the ground. In typical fashion, Jessica Cox was fantastic around the stoppages, and Ralph continued to dominate in the ruck. Taylah Edwards kicked two goals, while Cole, Ralph, Mikayla Morrison, Hope Ugle-Hayward and Chanel Jetta kicked one each. For Claremont, Rachel Ortlepp was exceptional in a losing side, taking plenty of intercept marks and generating some much-needed ball movement out of the backline. Katherine Bennett battled bravely through the midfield, despite the constant pressure. The goal kickers were Smith and Brooke Whyte.
In Round 7, Swan Districts will travel to take on East Fremantle on Sunday as they look to keep their undefeated streak alive. Meanwhile, Claremont will be looking to bounce back against South Fremantle on Saturday morning, who are still searching for their first win.
In the other games across the round, Subiaco smashed the struggling South Fremantle on Saturday afternoon 11.12 (78) to 1.0 (6). For Subiaco, the goal kickers were Kia Buckley and Tarnee Tester with three goals each, Amy Hunt and Kate Pocsidio with two goals each and Abbey Dowrick with one goal. The best players were Buckley, Dowrick, Tester, Ellie Blackmore and Jessica Ritchie. For South Fremantle, Hunter Cronin kicked the only goal for her side. The best players were Kiara Templeman, Ebony Clarkson, Casey Byrne, Tahlia Holtze and Liusaidh Gilchrist.
At New Choice Homes Park, Peel Thunder made easy work of their opponents, defeating East Fremantle 9.5 (59) to 2.7 (19). For Peel Thunder, the goal kickers were Kira Phillips with three goals, Bailey Molloy and Kate Bartlett with two goals apiece, and Ebonee Hardie and Katie Jayne Grieve with one goal each. The best players were Ebony Bilcich, Greta Mckinley, Abby Barnden, Molloy and Skipper Van Peer. For East Fremantle, the goal kickers were Stephanie Dalton and Kahra Sprylan with one goal each. The best players were Madeline Ross, Larissa Versaci, Sprylan, Nadya Browne and Ashleigh Gomes.
Picture credit: WAFL