Subiaco back on top with fifth flag in eight seasons

SUBIACO has won its fifth flag in eight seasons, and its 16th West Australian Football League (WAFL) flag overall, by defeating South Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Saturday. The Bulldogs were looking to level the Lions on state league flags, and were eyeing off back-to-back titles following their win last year. Though much like two years ago, the same result would occur in 2021, with Subiaco getting up with an impressive win. Meanwhile Perth took out the Reserves flag, and Swan Districts completed the fairytale rise from wooden spooners to premiers in 12 months by claiming the Colts premiership.

SUBIACO 2.2 | 5.4 | 9.6 | 13.7 (85)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.4 | 3.7 | 3.7 | 5.11 (41)

Subiaco is basking in premiership glory for the fifth time this decade – which included back-to-back grand final losses as well, with only last year breaking their streak of Grand Finals which now stands at seven of the past eight in a dominant era for the Lions. After a tight first half, which saw Subiaco boot an additional goal in each quarter and extend the lead at the two breaks from four points to nine by half-time, it would be the top of the table side who would kick away in the second half. Piling on four unanswered goals in the third term, Subiaco eventually kicked eight goals to two in the second half to run away with the contest in two sides of the accuracy coin, slotting 13.7 to 5.11, with only four more scoring shots, but a 44-point win.

Subiaco only had one more inside 50, three less disposals, and were smashed in the hitouts (36-62), but made the most of their work around the ground and inside 50 to capitalise when it counted. Gregory Clark won the 2021 Simpson Medal for his best on ground performance, racking up 26 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s, laying a whopping 14 tackles and slotting two majors in the win. Harrison Marsh (25 disposals, five marks, six inside 50s and three goals) and Wil Hickmott (23 disposals, three marks, three inside 50s and two goals) also hit the scoreboard in an impressive forward-running display from the midfield. Angus Dewar and Chad Harris also found plenty of the football, and ex-AFL talent Brandon Matera was the other multiple goalkicker for the Lions with two majors.

South Fremantle had even contributors across the board as Toby McQuilkin picked up a team-high 20 disposals, as well as two marks, three tackles and five inside 50s, whilst George Wessels (19 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s) and Tom Blechynden (19 disposals, three tackles, three inside 50s and a goal) also impressed. Brock Higgins racked up a whopping 41 hitouts from 17 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s to dominate at the stoppages, with AFL Draft hopeful Jesse Motlop kicking a goal from seven disposals in the loss.

PERTH 2.3 | 3.6 | 6.8 | 7.9 (51)
SUBIACO 1.1 | 4.1 | 5.2 | 6.9 (45)

Perth spoiled the party for double the fun at Subiaco, running out 7.9 (51) to 6.9 (45) winners in the Reserves. After a tight first half which saw the Lions make the most of their chances in front of goal and lead by a point despite four less scoring shots, the Demons stepped it up in the second half. Perth booted 4.3 to 2.8, with the Lions losing that accuracy, and Perth finding it to record the six-point win. Perth had 47 more disposals, dominated the hitouts (59-33) and had six more inside 50s (45-39) by the final siren.

Jacob Peletier (21 disposals, three marks and five inside 50s) had the most disposals on the field, while Corey Yeo (19 disposals, three tackles and four inside 50s) was also busy. Connor McPartland and Brodie Gray both had 18 touches and laid a combined 24 tackles in a huge effort, whilst Mitchell Browne provided good spread with 17 disposals, four marks, four tackles, four inside 50s and a goal in the win. Corey Robinson had 18 touches, five marks, five tackles and a goal for the Lions, with Jack Beverley (16 disposals, three marks 12 tackles and three inside 50s) and young gun Matthew Johnson (15 disposals, 10 tackles) among the busy midfielders, whilst Ryan Borchet slotted three of his team’s six goals.

CLAREMONT 4.1 | 5.2 | 10.5 | 12.6 (78)
SWAN DISTRICTS 2.4 | 6.7 | 8.9 | 12.14 (86)

Arguably the story of the day was last year’s wooden spooners Swan Districts claiming a remarkable come-from-behind-win over Claremont in the Colts decider. Trailing at quarter time by nine points, then booting four goals to one in the second term to lead by 11 at half-time, the game continued to feature momentum swings. Claremont slotted five goals to two in the third term to open up a eight-point lead, but it would not be enough as the Swans came home with a wet sail, piling on four goals to two themselves to run over the top of the Tigers and win by eight points, 12.4 (86) to 12.6 (78).

Elijah Hewett amassed 22 disposals, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s in the win, with Lawson Humphries (16 disposals, three marks and two tackles) also finding plenty of it. Ayden Cartwright (15 disposals, five marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and 2.2) and Bailey Jenkin (14 disposals, eight tackles, four inside 50s and two goals) were lively in the forward half, while Tyrell Metcalf kicked a team-high three majors. For the Tigers, the AFL Draft Combine invites certainly caught the eye, as Angus Sheldrick had more touches than anyone on the ground with 27, as well as four tackles, six inside 50s and two goals. Jacob van Rooyen slotted four goals from 12 disposals and three marks but was held well after quarter time by Rhett Bazzo, whilst Eric Benning had 25 hitouts from 11 disposals, four tackles and three inside 50s. Kendyll Blurton (21 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s) and Jacquin Ciminata (19 disposals, eight marks, four tackles and seven inside 50s) were also among the Tigers’ best.

Picture credit: WAFL

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