Author: Jason Harris

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Claremont clinch the 2019 premiership

THIS YEAR was one that WA’s most talented youngsters tasted the ultimate success by winning the 2019 Under-18 National Championships. A number of the players in that squad took to Optus Stadium on Sunday for the biggest day on the WAFL calendar. With talent scouts aplenty watching on, there was a real opportunity for one or more of these youngsters to take one major step towards their AFL dream.

After losing their first game to the Tigers this season, Peel responded to claim their other two encounters with the latest being the second semi-final two weeks ago by 34 points in a grinding affair. It would be interesting to see whether the minor premiers would be lacking a bit of sharpness having played just one game in the last three weeks. In contrast, Claremont were match hardened having had three very solid hit-outs during September. The Tigers were aiming for their 16th Colts Premiership and fourth this decade, while Peel was looking to break a 14-year drought and win the third in their history.

Read below for a re-cap of what was a grand final for the ages.

Claremont 13.4 (82) defeated Peel Thunder 11.11 (77)

He carries the same name as an NBA superstar and just like his namesake, Claremont’s Anthony Davis showed he was not afraid of the big moment by kicking the goal which won his side the 2019 Colts Premiership on a picture perfect day at Optus Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The Tigers made a enterprising start with a goal to Jack Buller after just a minute of action. Peel then spent the next few minutes looking to find a response but the Tigers were intent on determined defending. The well deserved breakthrough for the favourites eventually came through Isiah Winder from a set shot. The Tigers were in the mood for a right scrap however, and Isaiah Butters took a strong mark and subsequently goaled from 35 metres. The lively forward then made it two in a couple of minutes when he converted an opportunistic snap. The Tigers were officially off to a flyer with Ben Schuhkraft kicking the Tigers’ fourth of the quarter. The swarming pressure of Claremont was a real feature all over the ground, as well as their ability to win the ball from stoppages and perhaps post-bye sluggishness was a factor too. But you never write off a class outfit and Peel did not finish a few games clear of their opposition without being exactly that. Firstly, Jarvis Pina converted form some quick thinking following a 50-metre penalty and then Ben Middleton made the most of a mistake by the Tigers on their last line of defence to cut the margin to two points at quarter time.

Peel claimed their first lead of the game early in the second term which resulted through some hesitant Tiger defence and Winder was able to snap truly from close range. The tide had now turned and it was Peel in the ascendancy. Some quick thinking was again able to catch their opponents off guard with Jaxon Egan converting. You felt Claremont needed the next one to stay within touching distance and stop the surging momentum of the minor premiers. Kade Lines delivered one on the chest to Max Spyvee and he kicked Claremont’s first for the second term. Middleton then responded by kicking his second from a acute angle, but the best forward on the ground in the first half was Butters and he kicked his third for the half through some opportunistic play.

The half-time margin was just four points in favour of Peel and it certainly reflected the state of the game with both teams having their periods of dominance but neither having that momentum to kick right away. Jack Cooley was the lead man when it came to disposals at the long break with 18 along with five inside 50s. Joel Western showed some great dash with 11 disposals while Callum Jamieson was giving his midfielders great service with 19 hit-outs. For Peel it was Tyrone Thorne with 14 disposals and Jackson Knight with 11 and three marks. Key mover Jarvis Pina was quiet with just six disposals for the first half but you would expect him to step up to the mark.

The adage that the third term is the premiership quarter was never more apt in this tight affair and Butters produced the best possible start taking a fine mark running back with the flight to kick his fourth to see the Tigers regain the lead. Buller was then left unattended 30 metres out and duly converted to give the Tigers a mini buffer. It was nip and tuck with mistakes occurring more readily due to some outstanding pressure by both teams. Peel nabbed back the lead in this fantastic ebb and flow contest when Ben Middleton kicked his third. The key forward was shaping as a match winner when he made the most of a pin-point kick from Egan and duly kicked his fourth major for the game. You could really notice the confidence in Peel’s play and there was no greater example than Middleton. He kicked his fifth for the game from right on fifty metres and Peel had their biggest lead of the contest, that being 14 points. The big question was if the Tigers had enough left in the tank to make one last push, or whether the favourites taken the Tigers best shot. What was certain was that the final 25 minutes of the season would be a fascinating one.

The Tigers started on the front foot showing everyone that they had something left in the tank by kicking two quick goals through Schuhkraft and Charlie Malone to cut the margin to two points. Connor Heuer responded for Peel to push the lead beyond a goal but once again the Tigers responded and it was Jye Clark with a quick snap.

It was certainly looking like the Tigers now had the momentum behind them and Malone was stepping up to the mark like good key forwards do. He produced a close range snap which was, the Tigers fourth in the term and gave them back the lead. There was enough time for Peel to hit back and Thorne hit back courtesy of a high free kick. Amazingly, there was another twist and with nerves of steel belying his age, Anthony Davis kicked his first of the game with two and a half minutes left on the clock and suddenly it was the Tigers game to lose. While it was the third lead change in ten minutes, there was still time for some late drama. Peel conjured up a centre break and stormed the ball inside 50. As the clocked ticked inside the 25th minute, you had an inkling there would be a hero in an attacking or defensive sense.

And it came courtesy of the latter with an outstanding piece of play by Tigers defender Leno Thomas in smothering a goalbound kick by Jonathan Ietto in the forward pocket which then ricocheted for a throw-in. It was one of those moments that will go down in club folklore for certain. A few seconds later, the siren went and it was jubilation for the Tigers and absolute devastation for the minor Premiers whose wait for another Colts premiership goes on. It might be scant consolation for the Thunder but once again, the Colts grand final was the best game on the showcase day for WA footy.

In a sign that you don’t need big numbers to have a quality game of footy, the overall disposal numbers were reasonably low (263-240 in Claremont’s favour). Inside 50s were understandably close (43-40 Tigers) but Peel had more scoring shots (22-17). It was also a testament to the closeness of the contest that the margin did not exceed 15 points throughout the four quarters.

Tigers midfielder Jack Cooley was the deserving winner of the Mel Whinnen medal for best player afield with 33 disposals, seven tackles, seven inside 50s and five tackles. Western was not as flashy as normal but displayed another side to his game by distributing by hand with 17 handballs and 23 disposals in total along with six tackles. Butters may have only had seven disposals, but his impact was incredibly telling to the end result with four goals and Malone was magnificent in the last quarter with two goals and had 11 disposals and three marks for the game. For the Thunder, Tyrone Thorne was involved in everything good that Peel produced for the game where he had 22 disposals, eight tackles three inside 50s and two marks. Middleton was absolutely magnificent as a leading target with five goals, five marks and four inside 50s to go with eleven disposals while Zachary Rankin was tenacious with 16 disposals, six marks, six tackles and five inside 50s.

The hard work is not done for a lot of these youngsters with the various draft combines taking place. For those who are selected, the sky will be the limit. And while there will be disappointment for those who miss out, there are plenty of examples of players who go through adversity and come out a lot stronger for the experience.

West Australian weekly wrap: Tigers book grand final date with Peel after hard-earned victory

FAMILIAR foes met on Sunday in the 2019 West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts Preliminary final, as Claremont and West Perth looked to book a place in the decider against Peel next Sunday. Their encounter two weeks ago was a thrilling affair with the Tigers holding on for a five-point victory against a charging opponent. The Falcons got back to winning ways when they defeated East Perth in the first semi, while the Tigers went down to minor premiers. With a season of hard work on the line, it would be a test of both sides’ mettle to see who could handle the pressure the best.

WAFL Colts: Preliminary Final

The top two teams of the home the home and away season will decide the 2019 WAFL Colts Grand Final after Claremont overcame a stubborn West Perth outfit to prevail by 21 points at Fremantle Oval on Sunday morning.

The teams could not ask for better conditions with temperatures around 18 degrees and beautiful sunshine at bounce down. West Perth had the better of the first term with five scoring shots to two and taking a eight point lead into the first break. Just like he did in the the semi final, midfielder Tyron Hindmarsh started the game with real purpose collecting 11 disposals.

Kade Lines gave Claremont their first lead of the contest early in the second with two quick-fire goals. Anthony Davis then pushed the lead to double figures but Koopah Todd kicked West Perth’s first goal of the quarter to narrow the gap to four points. There was nothing between the two teams and that was emphasised with Lachlan Rewell gave the Falcons back the lead on the stroke of half-time.

The Falcons key running fleet of Callum Johnson, Tyron Hindmarsh and Koopah Todd were all having big games with each having 17 disposals in the first half. One of Claremont’s key movers Jye Clark was very solid with 11 disposals, four inside 50s and two tackles.

The third quarter is often seen as the pivotal period of the game and that certainly rung true in this contest with so little separating the two teams. Jacob Blight kicked truly for his first of the game as the Tigers reclaimed the lead in this engrossing affair. There was no quarter asked for and none given as each team was looking to break the game open. Once again the Tigers looked to open up a mini break through a major to Davis, but yet again they were pegged back when Ewan Brazier kicked truly. The biggest margin of the day had been 11 points with consecutive goals being hard to come by. It was basically anyone’s guess regarding who would prevail in the final 25 minutes.

After a cagey first few minutes of the term where both teams missed opportunities, it was the figure of Tigers key forward Charlie Malone who converted and gave Claremont a 12-point buffer. There had been 13 goals kicked to the 15 minute mark but it was undeniably the major by Cameron Anderson which was the biggest moment of the game. It pushed the lead out to 18 points and with under ten minutes remaining the task seemed a very steep one for the Falcons. Brazier gave West Perth a glimmer when he kicked his second, but the Tigers steadied and returned to the grand final stage for the fourth time in five seasons, a fine achievement in anyone’s language.

Despite the defeat, it has been a major step in the right direction for West Perth who returned to finals footy in 2019 after missing out on September action for the previous three seasons. They will certainly be among the contenders for next season. Meanwhile, while it may be a new group, this bunch of Claremont youngsters have carried on the fine September tradition of this club. They will be looking to go one further than their disappointing 2017 effort where they lost to East Fremantle by 54 points.

Nothing separated the teams in terms of disposals West Perth (283-277) and inside 50s (Claremont 40-39) but Tigers got more value for their entries conjuring up six more scoring shots (21-15) which in a tight game proved a big difference.

It was a measured performance by the Tigers with no true standout but every player playing a role which is key at this time of the season. Jack Cooley topped the disposals tally with 21, to go along with five inside 50s, four marks and three tackles. Ronin O’ Connor was tough and disciplined inside the defensive 50 with 17 disposals and six tackles. The in-form Callum Jamieson did not have quite the dominant game against these same opponents two weeks ago but was still impactful with 18 hit-outs along with 11 disposals, and four tackles.

For the Falcons, Tyron Hindmarsh put in a tireless effort with 31 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s. He was well supported by Koopah Todd with 25 disposals, eight marks, seven inside 50s and a goal while Callum Johnson had 27 disposals, nine tackles, five tackles, five marks along with a goal.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Peel books Grand Final ticket

THE final four teams took to the respective playing surfaces in picture perfect conditions on Sunday morning with a number of intriguing questions to be answered. The week off can be of real benefit at this time of the year. Conversely, it can also be a curse and therefore it would be fascinating to see how Peel would return to action against a buoyant Claremont outfit. Meanwhile, old rivals West and East Perth met knowing full well that there was no second chance for the loser.

WAFL Colts wrap: Finals Week 2

West Perth 11.8 (74) defeated East Perth 6.5 (41)

West Perth won their way through to a Preliminary final re-match with Claremont after a classy 33-point victory against rivals East Perth at a sun-drenched Leederville Oval on Sunday morning.

It was a keenly contested first ten minutes of play with the ball moving freely to either end but both defences holding strong. A quick passage of play doing the middle with Koopah Todd prominent led to the first goal for West Perth kicked by Ewan Brazier. Of the two teams, the Falcons looked to have adjusted to the occasion the better and Brazier soon had his second on the board. Lachlan Rewell then took a strong mark for the Falcons and duly converted to put the Falcons out to a 19-point advantage with the tackling pressure a real feature of the Joondalup-based side’s performance to that point. The Royals needed to respond quickly and did so through a terrific set shot goal by 16 year-old Kade Dittmar from 50 metres. The Falcons continued to take the ball inside 50, but were not able to further to their score, taking a 13-point lead into the first break. Powerfully built midfielder Tyron Hindmarsh was shaping as a key figure in this contest, having nine disposals in the first term.

The Royals started the second quarter well kicking their second goal in a row through Sebit Kuek. Undeterred, the Falcons steadied through the lively Brazier who took a strong mark and kicked his third for the game however he appeared to sustain a leg injury in the aftermath and left the ground for assessment. Todd was then able to take advantage of strong forward play from his teammates and finished from close range. The Falcons certainly had their opponents rattled, leading to some undisciplined play and a fifty metre penalty after a lively scuffle involving a number of players. Lachlan Scurria who had already taken a mark was the beneficiary of the aftermath and kicked the Falcons’ third of the term. East Perth was trying to find a way back into the contest, but that four goal buffer was proving tough to breach.

It was a professional first half performance by West Perth who completely dominated the use of the ball (169-85 in disposals) and (42-15 in marks). The shining light for the Royals was that even though they had minimal disposals, they were still taking the ball forward only trailing the Falcons by one in the inside 50 stakes (21-20). Key defender Heath Chapman was the leading player on the ground when it came to disposals amassing 16 along with six marks for the Falcons. Callum Johnson was tenacious with 15 and three tackles and Ewan Brazier was the best forward on the ground with three goals. Adam Boules was the only player to tally double figures for the Royals with 10.

The early stages of the third term would prove pivotal to the outcome of the contest but it was evident that the pressuring ability of the Falcons was a class apart from their opponents. This was exemplified by Todd’s tackle deep in the forward line which won him a free kick and he duly nailed his second major for the game. The ball movement of the Falcons was a sight to behold and they had East Perth at sixes and sevens. Goals to bottom-ager Jordan Berryand a third to Todd had all but moved them into a Preliminary final. The Royals were on the precipice and needed goals in a hurry. They got one from bottom ager Jaylen Colegate but after three goals in as many quarters, needed a minor miracle to keep their season alive.

If the Royals were wanting to conjure up something special in the final term, they needed a quick start and they got just that courtesy of a soccered goal to Harley Sparks. The Royals were looking as vibrant as they had been all day. Sparks was leading the charge and the midfielder kicked his second of the term narrowing the gap to 26 points with 14 minutes left. But it would take just one goal to end all hopes of a fairytale and Hindmarsh put the result beyond any doubt with a fine snap under pressure with Cooper Blackburn putting the icing on the cake soon after. Spider Lockitt kicked a late consolation, but the Falcons well and truly deserved their 33 point triumph. While some players will move up the playing divisions, there is enough talent coming through to keep them in the contending bracket.

West Perth had 130 more disposals than their opponents (340-210) and 51 more marks (93-42). Although they had less inside 50s, (41-39), they managed eight more scoring shots for the game which highlighted their efficiency throughout the contest. While the overall margin was convincing, it was the execution by foot which was a delight to observe and was certainly one of the more accomplished performances in the 2019 Colts season. While West Perth were defeated by Claremont last week, if they can re-produce this performance in seven days time against the Tigers, they will be very hard to beat.

Player of the game

There were plenty of contributors for the Falcons but the man who set the tone from the early stages was Koopah Todd. The midfielder has had many more prolific games in terms of disposals this season (17), but his all-round game was superb. The top-ager floated forward at will and was able to hit the scoreboard with three goals, along with five marks, six inside 50s and three tackles with couple of goal assists for good measure. If he can keep up that level of production in the weeks ahead, West Perth stand a good chance of winning the Colts premiership.

Other notables

Todd had plenty of support with midfield companions Callum Johnson (30 disposals and seven tackles) and Tyron Hindmarsh (25 disposals, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal) playing their role with aplomb. Heath Chapman was superb down back, reading the play terrifically well with 26 disposals, seven marks and six tackles. Kade Dittmar ran hard throughout for the Royals with 15 disposals and six inside 50s while Harley Sparkstried to lift his side late finishing with 22 disposals, four inside 50s and two goals.

Peel Thunder 8.15 (63) defeated Claremont 4.5 (29)

Peel Thunder is the first team into the 2019 WAFL Colts Grand Final after a 34-point win against Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday morning.

A unique first quarter saw Peel kick six straight behinds, but remarkably managed to keep their opponents scoreless and led by that margin at quarter time. The inaccuracy continued in the second term, with a mixture of rushed behinds and missed shots at goal. The Tigers made the most of limited opportunities to stay in the game. Just before half-time, Connor Heuer was able to finally put the ball in between the big two sticks and break the drought. While Peel well and truly had the running of the game in a number of key areas, you wondered whether the old adage ‘bad kicking is bad football’ would come into play.

However the minor premiers were able to break the game open in the third term by kicking four goals to two with key forward Ben Middleton and classy small forward Tyrone Thorne kicking two each. They continued to be in the ascendency in the final term, kicking another three without reply and wrapping up a convincing victory.

Taking everything into account, Claremont did very well to still be in the contest as long as they were. Peel had almost double the amount of inside 50s (57-29) which led to 14 more scoring shots (23-9). They also had 66 more disposals (332-266).

Tyrone Thorne was exceptional with the state U18s representative having 25 disposals, seven tackles, six marks and three goals. Jarvis Pina was equally influential with the midfielder collecting 25 disposals and nine marks, while Bradley Oldfield produced his consummate performance with 21 disposals and nine tackles. For the Tigers who will now face the Falcons for the second time in a fortnight, it was Joel Western with 24 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s, while the blooming talents of Callum Jamieson were again on show with 18 disposals, six marks and 26 hit outs.

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.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Top five set and ready for action

THE final week of the home and away season saw the four games split over two days with double headers played at Mineral Resources Park (Saturday) and Leederville Oval (Sunday). With West Perth playing on the Saturday against South Fremantle, a victory for the Falcons would increase the pressure on East Perth who played the following day against Subiaco in their bid to lock up a double chance.

Would everything go to plan or would there be a costly slip-up with September just around the corner?

Read on to find out.

WAFL Colts wrap – Round 20

West Perth 12.7 (79) def. South Fremantle 9.8 (62)

West Perth survived a major scare, defeating a gallant South Fremantle side by 17 points in the first game of the Saturday double-header at Mineral Resources Park

Despite what was on the line for the Falcons, it was the wooden spooners who started the better of the two teams leading by six points at quarter time. Tyson Headland and Tommy Taylor-Shreeve kicked goals for their respective sides early in the second term as it remained a tightly contested battle. A major to Bulldogs youngster Haiden Mead reasserted their two goal buffer which they kept until half time.

The Bulldogs had not won a game since the third of June against East Fremantle and this was one of the best halves of Football that they had produced since that victory. Tyson Headland and Manfred Kelly led a strong list of contributors for the Bulldogs with 18 and 17 disposals respectively. While bottom-ager Cooper Blackburn had a terrific half with 14 disposals, five marks and two goals for the Falcons.

With their double chance hopes on the line, the Falcons knew they had to raise their level and did so accordingly in the early stages of the third term through goals to bottom age talents Logan Foley and Luke Reilly. However, the resilient Bulldogs responded through Liam Bradford. The Falcons then answered in kind with goals to Liam Martin and a second to Reilly for the term which gave the Falcons their first lead of the game. Rohan Scurria then kicked his first and it was shaping as a decisive moment in the contest. The Falcons had kicked five goals to one and led by 11 points at the final break. South Fremantle were so good for so long and it would be a shame if they were to fade away.

It seemed that was to be the case early in the last term as Blackburn kicked his third for the game. However, the spirit of the Bulldogs was in fine fettle as goals to Jacob Sax and 16-year-old Aaron Drage put them right back in the hunt. But just as any good team looks to do, the Falcons responded through Cooper Hinchcliffe and Callum Johnson. Tyron Hindmarsh then sealed the victory as the Falcons moved back up to third spot and would have their fingers crossed that the Lions could knock off East Perth on Sunday.

West Perth held sway in terms of disposals (311-260) but inside 50s were locked up at 39. In terms of individual performances, Cooper Blackburn was a terrific four quarter performer for the Falcons with 17 disposals, seven marks, three inside 50s and three goals. Ruckman Zac Patterson was great with his work around the ground with 45 hit-outs to go with 13 disposals while Tyron Hindmarsh sealed his mantle as the leading ball winner in the competition with 24 disposals, four marks and four tackles. Hindmarsh averaged 28.4 disposals in 15 games. Meanwhile for the Bulldogs, Tyson Headland was a willing worker all day with 27 disposals, five inside 50s three marks and three tackles and was joined by Manfred Kelly with 25 disposals, seven tackles and four inside 50s.

Peel 10.14 (74) def. Perth 8.4 (52)

Peel rounded out a fine home and away season with a solid 22-point victory over Perth in the second game of the Saturday double header.

After an extremely tight first half where not much more than a goal separated the two teams, it was the premiership quarter where Peel stamped their authority on the contest. The Thunder kicked 5.2 to 0.1 in the term to open up a 37-point lead heading into the final 25 minutes.

To their credit, the home team put some respectability back onto the scoreboard in kicking four goals to one, but Peel had done more than enough to pick up the four points. In truth, the minor premiers could have won by a lot more if they had their kicking boots on as they amassed 24 scoring shots compared to 12 of their opponents. Peel will now enjoy the week off and will be watching the other four finalists with a deal of interest. A win in the second semi final in a fortnight will be enough to see them progress to the Grand Final.

The workrate of Jack Sears up and down the ground was terrific once again for the Thunder with 22 disposals and eight marks. Bradley Oldfield was in the heart of the contest with nine tackles and six inside 50s to go along with 20 disposals and bottom age duo Connor Heuer and Tyler Nesbitt combined for six goals. Meanwhile for the Demons who finish the season with five wins from 16 games talented key forward Logan McDonald kicked three goals from 13 disposals and five marks and the ever-present Simon Hayward was tireless with 33 disposals and a game-high 13 tackles with six marks and a goal to top off a fine individual campaign in style.

Subiaco 10.10 (70) def. East Perth 9.13 (67)

Subiaco have played the role of ultimate party poopers by denying their co-tenants a finals double chance at the very death by defeating East Perth by three points in a dramatic game of Football at Leederville Oval on Sunday.

After a tight beginning it was Subiaco who kicked the first goal of the day through Daniel Frost and that was soon followed by a major to Patrick Mullane. The Lions were certainly hitting in hard and making the Royals earn all their possessions. The Royals were certainly having no issue bringing the ball inside their 50 metre arc (15-5 advantage) but the difference was conversion. After seven straight behinds East Perth finally had their first goal on the board through Jake Littleton but the Lions still held a one point advantage at the first break.

Jack Borchet gave the Lions some breathing space early in the second term with a mark and goal. However, the extremely talented Rhai-arn Cox out-bodied his opponent in the square and goaled giving the Royals the quick reply. Liam Dellamarta soon followed with a fine snap to give the Royals the lead. The Royals were now running over the top of their opponents and their ground pressure paid dividends when Sam Van Diemen snapped truly to give the top four outfit their biggest lead of the game that being 13 points. The Lions looked to get some ascendancy back in the game but were just missing the finishing touches. Jacob Peletier was the man to answer the call late in the second term as he finished with aplomb and cutting the margin to five points at the long break.

The Lions were doing a remarkable job to be as close as they were to think they had only amassed 12 inside 50 for the game compared to 27 of their opponents. Cooper Sparks, Sam Van Diemen and Adam Boules led the way in terms of disposals with 12 while Abraham Clinch had the same tally for the Lions. The first few minutes of the third term would tell a story whether the Lions would be able to sustain their attack on the footy or whether the Royals could use their greater attacking prowess to finish the job.

The Royals were the first team to hit the scoreboard early in the third term through Kyle,Robinson and the well built forward soon doubled his tally extending the lead to 16 points. Next goal was pivotal and the Lions needed it to keep in touch and managed to get it through Blake Morris. Cox then took a fine mark when it looked like his opponent was in better position and he managed to goal and push the lead out back to 16 points. The Lions were one persistent opposition however, and Frost kicked his second after a fine contested mark on the siren. The Royals were in the box seat to claim the four points but you sensed they would have fight tooth and nail as the Lions would throw everything at them.

East Perth got off to the quick start through Max Fabre and the two influential figures of Robinson and Boules combined to push the lead to four goals and seemingly clinch the game for the Royals. However the Lions would just not lie down and goals to Ben Golding and Borchet. It cut the margin to under ten points with seven minutes remaining. When Golding kicked his second of the quarter courtesy of a down the ground free the equation for the Lions was a goal required in two minutes.

Unbelievably Golding was left unmanned at half forward and had the shot from 40 metres directly in front to at the city end to win the game. It is exactly what the midfielder did as he was then swarmed by teammates. As the clock continued to tick down the Royals could not muster another attack and were heartbroken at the final siren. The result meant that West Perth had moved into third position but Swans could overtake them with a substantial victory in the final fixture.

It was the ultimate tale of never giving up and although the Lions did not have a finals spot on the line, they did have a sense of pride and finishing the season on a real high which is certainly what they did finishing with a 8-8 record for the season. For the Royals it truly was a gut-punch. In control for so long in this contest, yet they are set to be in sudden death football from next week and blowing the comfort of a double chance.

Player of the match

It was a game of fine moments from many individuals but star players rise to the top when everything is on the line. When hope seemed lost, Ben Golding was superb with his industry and willingness to outrun his opponents. The midfielder picked up 27 disposals, eight marks, six inside 50s and nine tackles, not to mention his three last quarter goals including the match winner. All in all it was a superb performance and one that may well have caught the eye of the recruiters.

Other notables

Jacob Peletier was very handy with his dash and poise picking up 22 disposals and six marks along with a goal. Chayse Grabe-Paparone kept dangerman Rhai-arn Cox under control in the second half and picked up 15 disposals himself while Blake Morris was strong with ten marks. Adam Boules was certainly East Perth’s best with 27 disposals, nine tackles, six marks, and five inside 50s while Harley Sparks was very solid support with 26 disposals,six marks,six tackles and seven inside 50s.

Claremont 7.12 (54)def Swan Districts 8.5 (53)

Claremont got the best finals preparation they could ask for with a thrilling one point victory over Swan Districts at Leederville Oval on Sunday.

Swans got off to the best start possible and Ethan Nordahl kicking the first of the game. The second placed Tigers were locked into that position and mobile forward Charlie Malone levelled the scores. Jack Allen then gave the lead back to the vibrant Swans outfit when he earned a free kick in the forward line and duly converted. It was goal for goal and Malone when kicked his second with a fine goal from the boundary. The rest of the quarter played out without any major incident and scores were locked at 14 at the quarter time break.

After seemingly an age without a goal in the contest, it was Allen who kicked his second from the square to give Swans back the lead and Nordahl soon grabbed his second,as Swans built a nice lead. When Aiden Cartwright kicked Swans fifth for the game, they were certainly in control of the contest. Claremont needed something to stem the bleeding and it took a fortunate bounce over the head of Jake Pasini with Jake Willson kicking his first.

But Swans were in no mood to let momentum slip and Ashley Brockbernd kicked a fine goal when under substantial pressure. The underdogs went into half time with a very handy 17 point lead and looked like to be the more desperate team with Claremont having little to play for other than match practice leading into the finals. Ethan Nordahl was the leading player on the ground at half time with 17 disposals, six marks and two goals while defensive pillars Brenton Hilton and Jake Pasini had 13 and 12 respectively.

It was a cagey start to the third term but the Tigers needed to kick the first and they did just through Jack Cooley. Not long after, Jamieson Ugle slotted a fine goal from the boundary giving the Black and Whites a three goal margin. Malone was proving a real beacon in the Tigers forward line and kicked his third narrowing the gap to eight points nearing three quarter time. That was the way it stayed, but it was clear that the intensity had risen in the Tigers play and it was anyone’s call about who would claim the victory.

The first goal of the quarter was going to be vital and it went the way of the Tigers through Ben Schuhkraft. When Isaiah Butters slotted a fine goal from the boundary pushing the margin beyond a kick with six minutes left,it seemed like the Tigers had done enough. A scrambled piece of possession deep in the Swans forward line led to nothing but a point, but they had very late hope when Jax Watson kicked truly and setting us up for a second grandstand finish of the day. However the Tigers did enough to get themselves over the line by a solitary point.

In the end there were no real losers in this contest. Swans showed they could match it with a team sitting second on the ladder and in reality it was their best performance it what has been a very difficult second half of the season. For the Tigers, there was no doubt they were off their game in the first half. Perhaps it was to do with the circumstances, but also give credit to their opponents for putting the heat on them, However, like good teams do they responded and claimed another four points.

Both teams would have been thrilled with the performances of some of their key movers played. For the Tigers, Joel Western picked up 27 disposals, six marks and five inside 50s while Callum Jamieson was elite in his athleticism compiling 20 disposals and nine marks along with 24 hit/outs. Seb Bright was tireless in the midfield for Swans with 27 disposals and seven tackles along with six inside 50s. Meanwhile Ethan Nordahl had 26 touches, nine marks and two goals.

How it stands at the end of 20 rounds
1. Peel – 56 pts
2. Claremont 44 pts
3. West Perth 36 pts
4. East Perth 36 pts
5. Swan Districts 32 pts 108.6%
6. Subiaco 32pts 89.2%
7. East Fremantle 24 pts
8. Perth 20 pts
9. South Fremantle 8 pts

Week 1 of the Finals
Claremont vs West Perth- Qualifying Final
East Perth vs Swan Districts – Elimination Final
Peel- Bye

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Thunder dispose of Swan Districts to continue fine form

THERE’S two rounds to go in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts and while the minor premiership has been sown up, there is plenty of jostling within the top five. A win or loss in the next fortnight can be all-important in securing a double chance or facing a do or die encounter in the first week of the finals.

WAFL Colts wrap-Round 19

Peel Thunder 13.8 (86) def. Swan Districts 7.5 (47)

Peel Thunder inflicted a psychological blow on one of their premiership rivals as they defeated Swan Districts by 39 points at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday morning.

This game was the only one in the penultimate round that saw two teams in the top five go head-to-head. Swans and Peel had a almighty tussle at the head of the table for the first half of the season. However since Round 10, the teams have gone in opposite directions. Swans have won just one of seven games, while the minor premiers have reversed that with six wins from seven. So this game was a real test for Swans and whether they could find some of their early season form. Jake Pasini and Jax Watson were missing for the home side after earning call-ups to the senior side while Tyrone Thorne was given the same honour for Peel.

The players ran onto to a damp surface after some extremely heavy overnight rain so that added another element to the contest. Peel kicked the first goal of the game through Jackson Knight and that advantage was soon doubled by bottom ager Tyler Nesbitt. Despite some sustained forward line pressure Swans could not put the ball in between the big two sticks and Peel took the ball down and kicked their third through Bradley Oldfield. Swans had two more forward 50 entries for the first quarter but found themselves 17 points behind.

The home team eventually opened their account early in the second quarter through Ashley Brockbernd. However, Peel had all the answers with Jaxon Egan kicking his first on the run from 40 metres. A bad turnover by Swan Districts in defence was penalised in the harshest fashion when 16 year old Zac Trigwell kicked his first. To their credit, Swans managed to keep in touch through a second to Brockbernd. It was level pegging that quarter as Peel kept their 17-point margin for the term. Killian Rawson was the leading disposal gatherer for Peel with 14 to go with five marks, while Brockbernd was Swans’ best with 14 along with five inside 50s.

The question heading into the third term was whether Swans could kick consecutive goals and put Peel under scoreboard pressure. But it was Peel who started the stronger with bottom age talent Connor Heuer winning a free kick for holding the ball and converting from close range. Big man Bailey Kane converted at the other end to keep Swans within touching distance yet again. They then managed to kick consecutive goals with a quick kick from Seb Bright bouncing though an unmanned square. The pressure of the home side was now clearly noticeable as they looked to narrow the gap further. But Peel are top of the ladder for a reason and they responded through the steady figure of Oldfield for his second of the game. They continued to regain control courtesy of a major to Jaxon Pitts and when Oldfield kicked his third they had pushed the lead out to a game high 30 points with one quarter remaining.

Jack Sears then removed any doubt over the final outcome by kicking his first early in the last term and pushing the lead to six goals. Oldfield then put cream of the cake of his best on ground performance by kicking his fourth of the contest. Kade Walldrot put some respectability back on the scoreboard for Swans, however Sears responded in kind for the visitors. The two teams traded goals towards the tail end of the contest and it was the minor premiers who prevailed by a comfortable 39 point margin. Peel edged the overall disposal count (321-319) and had a narrow advantage in inside 50s (45-39). But at the end of the day it was the scoring shots which was the difference with the visitors holding an advantage (21-12).

Star of the day

There were some impressive performers but in terms of pure difference makers it was Bradley Oldfield. One of the more experienced players on the ground, Oldfield often does not often rack up massive numbers, but what he does with his disposals is what counts the most. The 18 year-old showed his poise by amassing 23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and four telling goals. His importance come September is undeniable and other teams will certainly have to shut the midfielder down if they are going to stop Peel walking away with the premiership.

Other notables

The defensive pillars for Peel were also key to the outcome with Killian Rawson (23 disposals and eight marks) and James Ewing (20 disposals and six marks) keeping their opponents at bay. The foot skills of Rawson running off half back were a particular highlight. Jack Sears was also a lively figure in and around the forward 50 with 16 disposals, six inside 50s and two goals. For the home side, Ashley Brockbernd had 25 disposals, six inside 50s, five marks and two goals while Brenton Hilton worked exceptionally hard down back with 24 disposals and 11 marks.

In other games

Perth 13.11.(89) def. East Fremantle 12.8(80)

The fairytale run of East Fremantle was halted by a resilient Perth outfit as the Demons ended their long losing streak by claiming a nine-point victory at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday morning.

In contrast to their opponents who had defeated four finals bound opponents in succession, Perth had won only one of their last eight games. The Demons started on the front foot in this encounter with one of their best quarters of the season kicking six goals to two with Hamish McFarlane scoring two majors. The Sharks responded in the second term with four goals to one and narrowing the gap to seven points at the long break.

The ebbs and flows of the contest was now in full swing as the home side kicked the first three goals of the third to push the lead out to game-high 26 points. However the in-form Sharks responded with relish kicking four goals in a row and cutting the margin to a solitary point with one quarter to go.

The Sharks grabbed their first lead of the game early in the term throughOwen Dunn and regained ascendancy through Trent Rivers. But the Demons had the final say in this excellent clash between two bottom four sides when bottom ager Hamish Dickins and then McFarlane kicked the goals which got them the hard earned four points.

Simon Hayward was his usual workhorse self with 22 disposals, seven tackles, seven inside 50s and two goals while Elijah Taylor was silky with 16 disposals and two goals. Rivers was a ball magnet for the Sharks with 30 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and two goals.

Subiaco 8.8(56) def. West Perth 7.9(51)

Subiaco played spoiler this week knocking off finals bound West Perth by five points at Leederville Oval on Saturday morning.

The reigning premiers who have had a disappointing campaign, led for just over ten minutes of the game. Bottom ager Lachlan Henderson was the hero kicking the major which decided the game with only two minutes remaining.

The loss could prove very costly for the Falcons as a victory would have seen them move up to third spot ahead of the dormant East Perth and in box seat for a double chance. But not for the first time, they wasted a opportunity and now need to defeat South Fremantle and depend on their conquerors from this week to do them a favour by knocking off the Royals.

Abraham Clinch led the Lions with 30 disposals, four marks, four tackles and five inside 50s and he was supported by Ben Golding with 22 disposals and 10 tackles. Meanwhile for the Falcons, Callum Johnson and Tyron Hindmarsh each had 31 disposals while ruckman Zak Patterson was colossal with 21 disposals to go with 36 hit-outs and four inside-50s.

Claremont 18.12(120) def. South Fremantle 6.6(42)

Claremont clinched a double chance for the finals after a emphatic 78-point thrashing of wooden spooners South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on Saturday Morning.

The Tigers set up their big win in the first half kicking six goals to two in the first quarter and extending their advantage to 49 points at the long break. The second half was just an exercise respect for the Bulldogs, while for the Tigers they looked to build their percentage.

The visitors kicked seven goals to two and 12 individual goalkickers for the game told a story about their team-first approach. Claremont only took the in their forward 50 arc 44 times, but their efficiency was first class conjuring up 30 scoring shots. In comparison, the Bulldogs took the ball in 36 times but only had 12 scoring shots.

Jack Cooley was a tireless worker for Claremont with 28 disposals, seven tackles and five inside 50s while Fremantle next generation academy member Joel Western was classy picking up 26 disposals, four inside 50s and a goal. Charlie Malone was a towering presence with four goals to go along with five marks and 17 disposals. Meanwhile for the Bulldogs, Eric Botha tried his heart out with 18 disposals, seven tackles, six marks and four inside 50s while Nathan Spooner did likewise with 18 hit-outs to go with 19 disposals and nine marks.

With the top two locked in the main points of business to be sorted out in round 20 are the third position which will earn a double chance, and who will be in a elimination final. A win by East Perth next Sunday against Subiaco will give them third spot, but any slip-up and West Perth or Swan Districts can make them pay.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Peel clinches minor premiership in style

THERE was a taste of Spring in the air as the teams made their way out onto the playing arenas for Round 18 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts. While the top five had been decided, there was no shortage of tricky tests, with a team who will not be playing in September claiming another big scalp.

WAFL Colts Round 18

Peel Thunder 14.10 (94) def. South Fremantle 3.5 (23)

Peel Thunder will finish the home and away season as minor premiers after ruthlessly dispatching of South Fremantle to the tune of 71 points at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.

South Fremantle had been the master of this fixture in recent seasons, but Peel were more interested in the present as they looked to seal top position and move the Bulldogs one step closer to collecting the unwanted wooden spoon.

The opening half was a illustration of dominance as the visitors kicked eight goals to two behinds to take a 52-point lead into the half time break. Peel had six individual goalkickers for half with Tyrone Thorne and bottom ager Jaxon Pitts leading the way with two goals each.

Peel once again managed to keep their opponents goalless while adding another two goals to their tally in the third term. The final quarter was by far the best quarter of the game with both sides going goal for goal. While Peel ended up winning the term, it was good to see the Bulldogs show some fight despite being outclassed throughout the contest. The general stats were pretty close when you consider what the final margin was. The deciding factor was that Peel were able to hit the scoreboard on a frequent basis and amassed 24 scoring shots to just eight by South Fremantle.

Peel are well worth the honour of premiership favourites heading into September having been the best team in the competition in the second half of the season. Once again it was a even spread of contributors for Peel led by Thorne who amassed 25 disposals, seven tackles four inside 50s and five goals. Jack Sears was a major winner with 28 along with five inside 50s while Zachary Rankin was a hard worker all game with 21 disposals, eight tackles and six inside 50s. Meanwhile as it has been for most of the campaign, it was left to far too few for the Bulldogs. The trio of Ira Jetta (27 disposals, eight inside 50s and one goal), Jack Musika (25 disposals, six inside 50s and five tackles) and Manfred Kelly(21 disposals, eight tackles and five inside 50s) were very dependable yet again.

East Fremantle 9.12 (66) def. East Perth 5.8 (38)

The recent giant-killing ways of East Fremantle continued on Saturday as they knocked off yet another finals bound side their fourth in succession – this time it was East Perth to the tune of 28 points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday morning.

The resurgent Sharks carried their recent fine form into the first half of this contest, building a 25-point lead at the long break. The load was shared with five individual goalkickers and the home teams defence was also more than filling their end of the bargain by restricting the Royals to just four scoring shots for the first 50 minutes of action. East Fremantle increased their lead in the third term, kicking two goals to nil leaving the visitors marooned on just one goal for the first three terms.

The visitors who had a lot riding on this encounter having come into it in second place needed to respond to regain a sense of confidence. To their credit, East Perth won the fourth quarter by four goals to two, but the damage had well and truly been done before then. In a quirky statistic, there was no multiple goalkickers on the day with 14 players each kicking one major. The Royals slipped to third and would be hoping for a Subiaco win later in the day against Swan Districts to hold onto that position.

Luke Jackson gave another showing of his all-round talents with 24 disposals, 27 hit-\outs and a goal. Chad Warner was terrific throughout the four quarters with 30 disposals and six tackles, while Trent Rivers picked up 25 disposals, six inside 50s and four marks. For the Royals, Adam Boules continued his terrific season with 31 disposals, six marks and six tackles while Harley Sparks found life tougher on the back of his 47 disposal showing, this week collecting 22 touches and eight marks.

Claremont 11.8 (74) def. West Perth 8.9 (57)

Claremont reclaimed second position on the ladder after a composed 17-point win against West Perth at Claremont Oval on Saturday morning.

After a entertaining first quarter of action with seven goals scored between the two Premiership contenders, Claremont opened up a handy break in the second term kicking three goals to nil and led by 22 points at the long break. Benjamin Elliott kicked his third goal early in the second half to give the home team a five goal margin. While the Falcons were getting the ball into their forward 50, the conversion was certainly lacking.

The difference was that the Tigers were more clinical and managed to increase their lead to 33 points at three quarter time. The Falcons certainly upped their intensity in the early stages of the fourth term with four of the opening five goals of and cutting the margin to 10 points. However, as what so often happens when a team makes a big run, they end up running out of steam and the Tigers were able to steady and clinch a very important victory.

Kade Lines was a key figure in the end result for the Tigers with four goals to go along with 13 disposals and five inside 50s. Jack Cooley had 24 disposals and five tackles and four inside 50s while Joel Western had 23 and three marks. The loss was the third in succession for the Falcons and while at one point seemed a likely prospect to seal a double chance, the Falcons seem likely to face a do or die clash in the first week of the finals. The prolific duo of Tyron Hindmarsh and Koopah Todd each collected 28 disposals and laid five tackles each for the Falcons.

Subiaco 12.8 (80) vs Swan Districts 8.8 (56)

Subiaco were the second team to put a dent in the double chance hopes of a finals bound team when the Lions defeated Swan Districts by 24 points at Kalgoorlie on Saturday evening. After a tight opening half, the Lions booted seven goals to five to gain some separation on their opponents and guarantee a big win with the season winding down.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Royals rise to second with win over South Fremantle

WE have finally arrived in the final month of the regular season. While the top five has been decided, jostling between the teams will be fascinating to observe. Just half a game separated second and fifth on the ladder meaning no team could afford a off day otherwise they could quickly slip down the ladder which could prove pivotal come finals time.

WAFL Colts wrap – Round 17

East Perth 10.12 (72) def. South Fremantle 5.7 (37)

East Perth continued their fine stretch of form by defeating a gallant South Fremantle by 35 points at Leederville Oval on Saturday morning.

It was the tale of two teams going in opposite directions. East Perth had won five of their past six games and were a premiership dark horse, while the Bulldogs had lost five on the bounce and were sitting last on the ladder. But the Royals knew every game from now was massively important.

It was an open beginning to the match with the ball moving freely to either end but the pressure from both defences being at an extremely high level. The home side were beginning to pepper the goals but a breakthrough was still to come as we ticked past the 20 minute mark. Eventually, the perseverance of the Royals paid off as Sam Van Diemen kicked the Royals’ first goal from 40 metres. That was soon followed by a major to Harley Sparks and the Royals had a 15-point break at quarter time. For all their endeavour, South Fremantle were yet to register a score in the first 25 minutes

That soon changed when Eric Botha converted from close range after some fine work further up the ground. South Fremantle were certainly making East Perth work hard across the ground and it had turned into a attritional battle. After many missed chances, East Perth finally kicked their first for the term courtesy of quick hands by Sebit Kuek and finished by Max Fabre. But to the Dogs credit, they were committed to give their higher placed opponents a real contest. A kick by the exciting bottom ager Ira Jetta found fellow youngster Aiden Hall and he duly converted cutting the margin to 12 points at the long break.

The Royals had 41 more disposals (175-134), four more inside 50s (24-20) and seven more scoring shots (10-3) but the visitors were well and truly in the contest. However, they would have to find a way to curve the accumulative talents of Harley Sparks who had amassed 25 disposals, four tackles and four inside 50s. Ira Jetta had shown flashes of his brilliance with 10 disposals and four inside 50s for the visitors.

Kyle Robinson gave the Royals a perfect start to the second half and that was soon followed by one to Luke Furlong and within a blink of a eye the margin of the game which was 24 points. Furlong then kicked his second on the run and the game was well and truly on East Perth’s terms now.

South Freo needed to find something quickly if they were not to be blown away and Jetta delivered a pin-point pass to Shannon Neale who converted truly. However bottom-ager Luke Lombardi kicked a fine goal on the run from just inside 50 in response to give the Royals back their five-goal lead. The Royals were not at their free-flowing best, but still were doing enough to keep a committed opponent in check.

Kuek started the final term in fine fashion kicking a goal from the boundary. Botha then responded for the Bulldogs as they continued their committed performance. Some smart work by Neale on the goal line give him his second and brought the margin back to 27 points. It was soon three in a row to the Bulldogs when Jermaine Pickett scored his first and they were getting full reward for their effort. Time was against the Bulldogs in terms of producing an inspiring comeback, but you could certainly see the confidence ooze out of their play.

Despite all their efforts the final say in this game went to the home team. Firstly, Robinson mopped up own crumb and snapped truly from 15 metres. And with the siren blowing in the background, Kuek put a cherry on top of the cake with a goal from 45 metres and he was duly mobbed by his teammates. It was not their best performance this year, but these are the games that really decide whether you have the will to get yourself over the line.

When you take scoring into the equation (22-7), you may think that it was fortunate that South Fremantle did not receive a real belting. But on the other hand, the visitors took it into their 50 on 37 occasions, only five fewer than their opponents. The lack of a third forward that could help out Botha and Shannon Neale really hurt. The snakes and ladders of the top five see East Perth take advantage of some of their rivals misfortune this round and work their way to second position. It is the highest they have been placed since the first week of the season.

Star of the day.

When you have a season-high 47 disposals, there can be only one name with that man being Harley Sparks. The 17-year-old (turns 18 in September) has a terrific ability to get to every contest and is able to distribute the ball to the outside runners. While he could be excused for dropping off in the second half after he amassing 25 disposals in the first half, Sparks certainly kept running to the very end and produced 13 touches in the last quarter. If he continues in the same vein and has a strong finals campaign, the midfielder may well be a smart smoky pick around draft time.

Other notables

Adam Boules produced a valuable contribution in midfield for the Royals with 27 disposals, eight marks, six tackles, and five inside 50s. Liam Dellamarta was accomplished with 26 disposals, nine marks, five tackles and five inside 50s. While Ruckman Josh Ladhams was colossal around the ground taking strong marks across half back and in the forward line. The accomplished big man had 19 disposals, nine marks and 36 hitouts. For the Bulldogs, Jack Musika never stopped working hard in his usual fashion and had 22 disposals and 11 marks, while George Wessels worked himself into the contest and had 22 disposals, eight tackles and seven marks.

Peel Thunder 12.4 (76) def. Claremont 9.6 (60)

Peel Thunder showed they are still the team to beat in the 2019 Colts competition after recording a 16-point victory over Claremont at David Grays Arena on Saturday morning.

Peel were desperate to taste that winning feeling again after falling to defeat for only the second time this season in their last game against East Fremantle. Meanwhile, Claremont had won four in a row and wanted to cut the margin between first and second to just one game, while inflicting a mental blow on their opponents.

The home team did not trail throughout the contest and set up their victory in the first term kicking six goals to three with Jackson Knight kicking three of them. While Claremont trimmed the margin back to 16 points at the long break, they seemed to be always playing catchup. Ben Middleton kicked two goals in the third term as they pushed the margin out to 35 points with one quarter to play. Although the Tigers never gave up on the course, kicking three goals to none in the final 25 minutes, it was little more than consolation as Peel got some revenge for their round six defeat.

Tyrone Thorne can normally effect the nature of the contest with his goalkicking and defensive pressure but today the state/U18s player got his hands on the ball plenty of times picking up 25 disposals, five tackles and three marks. Knight was influential when the game was on the line and he ended up with a fantastic all-round stat line of 15 disposals, six inside 50s, five tackles, five marks and three goals. The steady hand of Bradley Oldfield was also important with 24 disposals, six marks and two goals. For the Tigers who slip to third with the defeat, Jack Cooley and Jye Clark each had 29 disposals.

East Fremantle 11.10.(76) def. West Perth 8.11.(59)

The outstanding late season form of East Fremantle continued as they knocked off another finals bound team in West Perth to the tune of 17 points at Joondalup Arena on Saturday morning.

The Sharks while out of finals contention were keen on playing the spoilers role having defeated Swan Districts and Peel in consecutive weeks. Meanwhile, West Perth were coming off the bye having lost last time out against rivals East Perth which was their first defeat in five games.

The Sharks displayed their A-game from the opening quarter, kicking five goals to one and going on with the job in the second term extending their lead to 39 points at the long break. Although the Falcons kicked seven goals to three in the second half, they did not get closer than 16 points.

The WA state 18s title winning quartet of Chad Warner, Trent Rivers, Jai and Luke Jackson were elite again for the Sharks combining for 114 disposals and five goals between them. Luke Jackson gave his on-ballers great service with 36 hit-outs. Bottom age talent Logan Foley competed well for the Falcons with 12 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and two goals.

Subiaco 15.8(98) def Perth 6.4(40)

Subiaco produced one of their best all-round performances of the season with a 58-point win over Perth at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday afternoon.

This clash was all about pride with both teams out of finals contention. Perth especially would have wanted to show something after the ignominy of a goalless game against Claremont two weeks ago. However that drought continued in the first quarter as Perth was kept scoreless while the Lions put on four goals. The second term was more even with three goals each, but that trend suited the Lions as they led by 25 points at the long break. The second half saw the visitors kick eight goals to three and seal their fifth win of the season.

The margin could have been even more when you take into account that the Lions had 45 more hitouts (70-25), 30 more inside 50s (53-23) and 13 more scoring shots (23-10). The Lions duo of Abraham Clinch and Ben Golding have been prolific for the reigning premiers throughout the 2018 season. Again they were magnificent with the duo combining for 60 disposals and 17 tackles while Clinch also kicked two goals. Kane Foley was a terrific target up forward with three goals. Meanwhile for the Demons, Hamish McFarlane made the most of limited opportunities with three goals while Nathan O’ Driscoll was terrific and tireless in a well beaten side with 29 disposals and ten tackles.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Swans back on winners list after downing South Fremantle

THERE was only the one game this week in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts, with bottom placed South Fremantle taking on last years runners-up Swan Districts. Despite being the only game on the fixture list, there was plenty on the line especially for the Black and Whites.

WAFL Colts wrap: Round 16

South Fremantle 5.11 (41) defeated by Swan Districts 11.6 (72)

Swan Districts got the victory they were after, claiming a composed 31-point victory over South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval on Saturday morning.

Of all the teams in the top five, Swan Districts were certainly in the poorest of form after losing their last five games in a row. While their finals status was not in doubt they would dearly liked to get on a winning streak before the big games arrive in a months time.

The first quarter was an even affair with both teams kicking two goals each and the home team holding a slender three-point lead at the first break. The visitors made a strong start to the second term with Atem Deng kicking two quick goals. The athletic utility was having a outstanding quarter and he soon kicked his third for the quarter pushing the lead out to a game-high 16 points which was extended by an another point at the long break.

The statistics showed that Swans had a 75 disposal advantage (179-104) over their opponents with Ethan Nordahl leading all players with 20 while Ashley Brockbernd (14), Brenton Hilton (14), and Deng (13) all providing able support. Bottom ager Ira Jetta was a livewire for South Fremantle with 15 disposals, six tackles, four inside 50s and a goal.

Swans kept on with their momentum early in the third with Nordahl adding to his fine game to this point with a goal and that was soon followed by a major to bottom ager ager Jamieson Ugle. It was now five goals on the trot to the visitors and South Fremantle needed to find something quickly if they did not want to be blown away. However, that is exactly what happened with three further goals to the visitors which included Deng kicking his fourth for the game. Swan Districts had put the game well and truly to bed and the only question was how much the final margin would be. Meanwhile for South Fremantle, the final quarter was going to be all about pride having only amassed a total of four points in the second and third quarters.

The two quarter goal drought was finally broken for the Bulldogs early in the fourth term when Nash Miller converted but Swans ruckman Ryan Letessier quickly responded. Bottom-ager Aidan Hall then kicked South Fremantle’s second of the term and that was soon followed with a goal to 16-year-old Jermaine Pickett. It was a nice way for the game to finish for the Bulldogs, winning the quarter three goals to one and their younger members of the 22 running the game out very nicely. However, all Swan Districts were concerned about on their trip down to Fremantle was picking up the four points and getting their season back on track which is what they did as they climb above East Perth into fourth on the ladder.

Swans amassed over than 130 disposals more than their opponents (375-241) but despite controlling the tempo of the game, the home team had plenty of opportunities to convert, taking the ball inside 50 four more times (42-38), but their overall conversion let them down.

The victors had a range of very good contributors across the board. Brenton Hilton led the way from from the half-back line in his usual composed fashion tallying 31 disposals and eight marks. In midfield, Nordahl was prevalent with 30 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four inside 50s. While up forward Deng’s three goal burst in the second term certainly helped set up Swan Districts’ first victory since round eight finishing with four for the game along with three marks and 20 disposals. A special mention goes to Jack Allen who has not played for Swans since late April due to school footy commitments. His impressive form from there translated to his club side combining time in the ruck and up forward finishing with 14 disposals, 14 hit-outs and a goal.

The Bulldogs remain rooted to the bottom with just two wins for 2019. Jetta set the standard that his teammates can hopefully follow in the weeks ahead as he finished with 33 disposals, six tackles, five marks and eight inside 50s. Souths’ inability to get their hands on the ball was illustrated by the fact that they had only one other player top 20 disposals and that was Manfred Kelly who had 24 and five tackles.

WAFL Colts weekly wrap: Sharks play spoilers again to end Peel’s winning run

THERE was only three games in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts competition this week, but there was certainly no lack of storylines.

WAFL Colts wrap: Round 15

East Fremantle 10.9 (69) defeated Peel 8.9 (57)

A rejuvenated East Fremantle caused one of the upsets of the WAFL Colts season by defeating the red hot Peel Thunder by 12 points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday morning.

The Sharks came into this game full of confidence having knocked off Swan Districts to end a nine-game losing streak, but it was the ladder leaders who started the contest in ominous fashion kicking the first three goals of the game to take an 18-point lead into the first break.

Bottom ager Isiah Winder kicked his second goal early in the second term to extend the lead, but Dylan Curley quickly responded for the Sharks. Jonathan Ietto pushed the lead back out to four goals, but from that moment it was all East Fremantle. The home side kicked four straight goals to narrow the gap to a single point at the long break.

It was an outstanding quarter by the Sharks which belied their lowly position on the ladder who outscoring their in-form opponents 5.2 to 2.3. The Sharks had more of the ball in the first half (153-124) with Luke Jackson giving his midfielders terrific service with 17 hit-outs for the first half. Trent Rivers was prominent with 14 disposals and four inside 50s while Jackson Knight led the way for Peel with 13 disposals and seven tackles.

In what had turned in a fascinating encounter, both teams split four goals in the early stages of the third term. It remained tight and tough for the remainder of the term and the Thunder took the slimmest of margins into the three quarter time break. Peel had a 2-0 record with games decided by under a kick in 2019 while the Sharks were 1-3.

East Fremantle took their first lead for the game courtesy of bottom ager Finn Gorringe. It was a huge mental barrier to climb over for the Sharks and now it was down to the Thunder to respond and see whether they can reproduce their form from the first term. However, the Sharks were not in the mood to let their southern rivals back into the contest. Ruck/forward Reuben McGuire and Alec Evensen pushed the lead to 19 points. Peel managed to hit back with 12 minutes remaining courtesy of of bottom ager Roy George. The ladder leaders were now pressing hard but the lowly ranked Sharks were adeptly keeping the premiership favourites at bay.

Three goals to one in the final quarter was able to see the Sharks over the line and seal their second consecutive win. It is the second time they have managed to win back to back games this season with the first time occurring way back in the first two rounds of the season. Conversely, it was only Peel’s second defeat of the season and their first since the middle of May. But with West Perth also tasting defeat this round, they keep their buffer of two and a half games.

The Sharks were well worth their victory when you take the overall statistics into account. The home team had 58 more disposals (297-239) and 29 more hitouts (53-24), and while East Fremantle had four less inside 50s (37-33), they were more efficient with two more scoring shots on the day (19-17).

Although the Sharks wont play finals this season they can certainly play a spoiling role in the weeks ahead. You also wouldn’t be surprised to see some of these youngsters taste senior action before the season is out. Jackson will be one of those in line for selection as the ruck/forward hasn’t missed a beat since returning from the U18s carnival. Jackson not only controlled the ruck duties with 41 hit/outs, he also had 22 disposals and two marks. Likewise, Rivers was prominent with 25 disposals, seven tackles, six marks and five inside 50s and Chad Warner was composed throughout with 26 disposals and eight tackles. The Thunder while beaten will have appreciated the stern tests they have been given in the last few weeks. Jackson Knight produced an all-round terrific display with 25 disposals, 12 tackles, eight inside 50s and seven marks.

East Perth 8.7 (55) defeated West Perth 5.10 (40)

East Perth proved once again that they are one of the dark horses in the Premiership race after defeating West Perth by 15 points at Joondalup Arena on Saturday morning.

This clash saw the old rivals in prime form. West Perth had won four in a row while the Royals had won four of their past five with their only defeat coming in a one-point thriller against Peel Thunder last week. The Royals took a slender five point margin into to the first break. The second term was lacking in terms of goalscoring action, but that suited East Perth nicely. The visitors kicked the only two majors to extend their lead to 15 points.

Both teams had seven scoring shots and West Perth had three more inside 50s (17-14) but it was clearly evident that East Perth had made the most of their opportunities. The Royals looked to put the game out the Falcons reach early in the third team by kicking two quick goals to Luke Furlong and Cody Rodgers. The ever present Koopah Todd kicked two goals for the Falcons in the term, but the Royals still won the quarter and took a 22-point lead into the final 25 minutes of action.

To the Falcons’ credit they kept at the job at hand, chipping away inch by inch but sometimes it is not your day and the Royals were able to keep them at arms-length throughout claiming their fifth win from six starts. There was not one dominant quarter by the Royals but more so a steady build leading to a consistent performance. In some ways, West Perth will look at their wastefulness in front of goal (5.10) and overuse of the football as some reasons behind the defeat. East Perth had 44 less disposals (273-229) and four less inside 50s (36-32) yet still managed the same amount of scoring shots and walked away with the four points. But With the quality of the two teams you would expect they will meet in September.

It was an even spread of contributors for the victors with Harley Sparks prominent with 28 disposals, eight inside 50s and six marks. Joshua Ladhams has regularly had a major impact with his ruck work this season and so it proved again with 24 hit/outs which he combined with 17 disposals and eight marks. While the tenacious in and under work of Adam Boules was there for all to see again as the bottom ager added another eight tackles to his tally for the season. Boules leads the category with 91 for the season at a outstanding average of seven per game.

Meanwhile for the Falcons, Tyron Hindmarsh racked up big numbers again with 31 disposals and four tackles. The midfielder is averaging 28.50 disposals a game. WA U18s representative Jaxon Prior also got his fair share of the ball the running half back compiling 32 disposals, four tackles, four inside 50s and a goal.

Claremont 10.9 (69) defeated Perth 0.4 (4)

Continuing the WAFL’s plan to take Colts footy to the regions, Claremont and Perth played their fixture in Albany on Saturday evening. It was a game that Claremont will remember while the Demons would soon forget as the Tigers produced a superb exhibition of wet weather football by claiming victory to the tune of 65 points. The victory sees the Tigers rise with a bullet up to second place and certainly a clear premiership threat. Meanwhile, the Demons produced the lowest score of the season and are basically out of all finals contention. A staggering statistic to take into account in regards to Claremont’s four game winning streak is that they have conceded on average just 25 points in those wins. That is what you call a supreme defensive effort and something to keep an eye on as we approach the final month of the regular season.