SUBIACO has secured the last finals spot in the 2021 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s, after coming from behind to down third placed Claremont in a nail-biting one-point contest. The Lions booted the opening goal of the game, but then conceded the next three, trailing by 14 points at half-time. They kicked three of the final four goals however to run over the top of the higher ranked opponents and maintain a two-game and percentage gap on fifth placed East Fremantle with only one game remaining.
In what was billed as a tight contest by two likely finals combatants, it lived up to expectations, with a goal in the opening two minutes going the way of the visitors. Tiah Toth hit-up Kia Buckley straight in front of goal for the youngster to convert and hand her side the early lead. Claremont took control after that though, with plenty of forward entries and capitalising in front of the big sticks.
The dominant duo of Tessa Doumanis and Amy Franklin were having it on a string once inside there, with Doumanis almost kicking one on the run – though it bounced into the post – then handing one off to Franklin who took a bounce and nailed it in style. Doumanis then took her chance by sidestepping an opponent to get back on her trusty left foot and put one home, before Franklin kicked a third, beating two opponents in marking contest, getting it to ground and keeping her feel to slam it home. Up the other end, McKenzie Dowrick had a set shot in the final 90 seconds but missed, to make it a straight two-goal ball game.
Both defences held up well in the second term and neither side could really take control. Emily Bennett and Jess Low were among those standing out in the game, and Claremont captain Ella Smith rued an open goal chance that came off the side of the boot. The Tigers kept attacking in the final few minutes, but the Subiaco defence was outstanding, as Claire Ortlepp held her own.
Subiaco made its move in the third term with a couple of goals to cut the deficit to just one point at the final break, with an end-to-end play 10 minutes into the term through Holly Hyder to McKenzie Dowrick and then Madi Wilkens running into an open goalsquare. Amy Hunt put one through after a great mark off a well-weight Liana Burchell kick inside 50, as Hunt played on to just get the distance with the open square. Both sides had some chances, but the quarter mostly belonged to the Lions, as Smith’s early set shot fell short, and the Tigers were held scoreless for the term.
It set up an exciting fourth quarter which lived up to expectations, as Doumanis steadied the ship for Claremont’s first since the opening term in the opening couple of minutes. With the lead out to seven points, the Tigers were able to kill time off the clock thanks to the reliable Bennett and the defence, while Emily Elkington and Sarah Garstone were also having strong impacts across the ground. Buckley was lively for the Lions, as her attack on the contest was particularly noticeable. In fact, she was the one who got the ball to Hyder who had a shot from an almost-identical spot to Franklin in the first term, but the ball sat up on the line and was rushed through to make it a straight kick.
With the time ticking down and just over five minutes left, Dowrick took a terrific contested pack grab and made no mistake from 40m out to level the scores. Claremont was now under pressure as Subiaco was coming hard, with Low and Mikayla Western both trying their best to get it forward. Up the other end, Jamie Rust laid a massive tackle to keep it up the forward end, then Bennett won a two-on-one to lock it inside defensive 50 without a goal out the back. A quick kick from Dowrick for a behind put the Lions up by a point, and holding the lead for the first time since early in the game.
With four minutes on the clock, both sides were desperate in their attack on the footy, as Claremont had some chances in the final couple of minutes. Garstone pushed up to keep the pressure on, Western tried to dance around an opponent but was dragged down, and eventually the Subiaco defence won out, got it down to open space, and a Dowrick tackle on the attacking side of the centre square held the ball up for a turnover and the final kick to be sent inside the Lions’ forward 50 as the siren sounded for a memorable 4.4 (28) to 4.3 (27) win.
CLAREMONT 3.1 | 3.3 | 3.3 | 4.3 (27)
SUBIACO 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.2 | 4.4 (28)
Claremont: T. Doumanis 2, A. Franklin 2.
Subiaco: K. Buckley, M. Wilkins, A. Hunt, M. Dowrick.
Claremont: E. Bennett, J. Low, T. Doumanis, E. Elkington, S. Garstone
Subiaco: K. Buckley, T. Toth, M. Dowrick, H. Hyder, J. Ritchie
In the other WAFL Women’s results, Peel Thunder handed Swan Districts their first loss with a comprehensive 21-point win at David Grays Arena, whilst East Fremantle easily accounted for the winless South Fremantle by 70 points in a bottom two clash.
In the top-of-the-table clash, Peel kept Swan Districts to one behind in the second half whilst extending their half-time lead of seven points to 21 with 2.3 themselves. Kate Bartlett continued her awesome season with a couple of majors, as Kaitlyn Hayes, Cassie Davidson and Sabreena Duffy were all named in Peel’s best. Sarah Wielstra kicked a goal and was named the Swans’ best, as Kloe Taylor (one goal), and Eliza Gelmi were also among the losing side’s top players.
There was never any chance for the Bulldogs in their clash as the Sharks put the foot down from the opening bounce, piling on six goals straight to nothing in the opening term to effectively win the game by quarter time. They kept the foot down over the next two terms to lead by 72 points at the final break, but a spirited final term from the visitors – kicking 1.3 to 1.1 helped them cut the deficit to 70.
The Sharks had five multiple goalkickers, with Rosie Walsh and Chloe Riley among those players, while Kahra Sprylan and Gabby O’Sullivan also slotted two apiece and were named among the best with Philipa Seth. For the Bulldogs, bottom-age ruck Lauren Wakfer was a standout, as Liusaidh Gilchrist (one goal) and Ebony Clarkson were also impressive.
In the final round of the season, Subiaco hosts East Fremantle on Saturday, before Claremont and Peel Thunder go head-to-head on Sunday, followed by a top-against-bottom clash between Swan Districts and South Fremantle.
Picture credit: via WAFL