Category: South Fremantle

WAFLW Round 1 wrap: Peel Thunders to opening round victory

REIGNING premiers Peel Thunder unfurled the flag and then unleashed their potential – albeit after a comical mishap in hindsight – to win by 32 points over a vastly-different East Fremantle side on the weekend. Opening up the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, the Thunder and Sharks were set to battle in repeat of last year’s preliminary final. On both occasions the Thunder emerged victorious, and this time it was 8.7 (55) to 3.5 (23).

After celebrating their 2020 WAFL Women’s flag in front of home fans, the Thunder players were so delirious they actually went to the wrong end of the field, with the defenders and forwards needing to switch and re-evaluate. Within 46 seconds, East Fremantle had a goal on the board through returning Sharks talent, Rachel Ashley. It would be the first of two goals for the talented utility who was moved forward after previously playing in defence.

After the first minute of mayhem for the Thunder, the reigning premiers steadied and took full control of the match, starting with a clever snap from Kate Bartlett and then one from star bottom-ager Ella Roberts. Having announced herself in last year’s grand final, the 16-year-old again came to the party for Peel, booting two ridiculous goals – one from long-range into the breeze and another in the second term under pressure tight on the boundary – and having an array of eye-catching moments.

East Fremantle locked down on her in the second half to limit her influence, but they could not contain the entire team, as Roberts was just one of three multiple goalkickers. Bartlett slotted three – including a final term ripper that was arguably the goal of the day to seal the match – and fellow youngster Jade Briggs booted two. With Ashley icing up a hamstring in the second half, the Sharks struggled to find avenues to goal, and aside from Ann McMahon kicking a consolation major in the fourth, went a full 36 minutes without a goal.

Roberts was clearly among the best-on in the first half before being tagged in the second half, with fellow youngsters Briggs, Courtney Rowley and Beth Schilling all showing some serious talent. From a more experienced point of view, Katie-Jayne Grieve and Nel Baxter were also impressive, as was Tanisha Anderson coming off half-back.

For the Sharks, Kate Inglis-Hodge stood out, with Amber Kinnane, Sharon Wong, Hayley O’Donnell and debutant Mylee Leitch having some impressive moments. While East Fremantle showed some potential, the loss of their experience due to AFL Women’s showed a team bringing through plenty of new faces.

The other two matches provided a couple of thrillers as Swan Districts ground out a narrow six-point win over Claremont in hot conditions yesterday afternoon. The Swans got up 2.6 (18) to 1.6 (12) at Steel Blue Oval, with the teams both going goalless in the second half. Claremont did hit back with three behinds to one, but the Tigers not taking their chances really hurt.

Young gun Bella Edgley showed some promising signs with a couple of second quarter goals – one from a set shot and another from a tight angle – to be the chief destroyer for the home team, while AFL Women’s Academy member Amy Franklin showed off her athleticism to get goalside and take plenty of grass on her way to slamming home the opening major of the day.

Franklin was a standout up forward as a target and roaming up the ground, whilst Jess Low was everywhere on the day. Emily Bennett had a great day out for the Tigers, while Rachel Ortlepp and captain Ella Smith also won their fair share of the footy despite the loss.

Swan Districts had a real even team performance across the board, with Bianca Webb and Mikayla Hyde showing off their AFL Women’s experience with great defensive efforts and athleticism respectively. Youngsters Tara Stribley and Emma Nanut had some great moments, as did 15-year-old Jamie Henry, while Emily McGuire was rock solid as usual in the back half, and Sarah Wielstra provided a tall target inside 50.

Meanwhile an inaccurate Subiaco escaped with the win against a fast-finishing and much improved South Fremantle. While the Bulldogs did not manage to breakthrough for their maiden victory, they certainly gave the Lions a scare, piling on three goals to three behinds in the final term, only to fall short by three points.

Casey Byrne was the standout goalscorer on the day, slotting home three majors for the losing side, while Ella Higgins and Lauren Vecchio both added goals to their name. Maggie MacLachlan looked to have benefited from a preseason at AFL Women’s level, kicking two majors for the winners, while Amy Hunt and Jamie Rust both slotted one apiece.

WAFL Women’s Round 1 results:

Peel Thunder 8.7 (55) defeated East Fremantle 3.5 (23)
Subiaco 4.13 (37) defeated South Fremantle 5.4 (34)
Swan Districts 2.6 (18) defeated Claremont 1.6 (12)

Picture credit: Owen Davies / Peel Thunder

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 1 preview: Reigning premiers to host Sharks in opening game

PEEL Thunder will kick-start its premiership defence against perennial challengers, East Fremantle in a blockbuster standalone Saturday evening clash at David Grays Arena tomorrow. Starting at 5pm local time on Saturday (8pm AEDST), the Thunder will be keen to start off the season on the right note, whilst the Sharks will enjoy, for the first time in a while, not being the hunted and instead having the first crack at their successor.

Speaking to Peel Thunder coach Steve Markham during the week, the team will again be incredibly strong defensively, as it was last year. Though they also have plenty of talent up forward.

“I think our backline was strong last year, we obviously lose Demi Liddle and Shannon Whale but the replacements in Kerrilee Brown and a couple coming through is going to be really strong, it’s going to be hard to score against. “So I think that will be a real strength, and with Ella Roberts up forward and KP (Kira Phillips), Jaide Briggs I think our forward line looks pretty potent, but I think our defence will be rock solid.”

For East Fremantle, talented young ruck Rosie Walsh said the team as a whole was looking on improving their skills under new coach, and former Subiaco mentor, Simon Quayle.

“Hitting those targets, working on our kicking, on our handpasses, just those really basic skills that those little things that will get you to where you want to be,” she said. “Mia Schleicher, it’s her first year playing League as well, she played Colts last year and I definitely think she is a gun to look out for.  “Mylee Leitch – she has come up from the Colts, she has gone into the League team, she’s a small forward, really kick and knows how to put the ball through the sticks, she is pretty good.”

PEEL THUNDER COACH STEVE MARKHAM:

“We’ve done a really big preseason, the girls really didn’t have much time off, they only had about six weeks, so for some of them that week was good for them,” he said. “I think we’re in a pretty good place, you never know where the opposition is at, but playing East Freo as the premiers the year before, if you can challenge East Freo at any time you’re going pretty well so we’re excited to have them first up.”

EAST FREMANTLE RUCK ROSIE WALSH:

“We’re working on switching lanes and just playing fast,” she said. “Obviously not too fast, but when we take a mark to push back and only kick it to when they know they have that separation from their defender, but everything else is working really fast. “So switching lanes, working down the corridor, and we know that Peel like to play really good body, so they will not let you get that separation, so we’re working really hard on getting that separation, especially in the forward line and keeping that body in the backline, so not letting them go.”

Both Peel Thunder and East Fremantle are strong one-on-one and like to move the ball quickly, which makes this the match of the round. While the Thunder will be missing some of their premiership talent, the Sharks will also be without crucial AFL Women’s experience. It all adds up to a fascinating battle and one not to be missed.

In the other two matches, reigning grand finalists Subiaco travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval where they take on a vastly different looking South Fremantle. The Bulldogs did not manage to grab a win in their inaugural season last year, but they showed promise towards the end of the season, and have brought in a ton of experience for 2021. Bulldogs coach Beau McCormack said they would continue the brand of football from last year and build on it this season.

“I think our brand football we set out last year to play a brand football of high impact football and being known for a hard hitting team, and I think we, we definitely set that example last year and it’s something that we take on and have taken in again to this year, as I said, you know, tackling pressure from my point of view is a huge part of the game and we don’t have it, we get it back,” he said.

“We’ve got some really good runners, that are in the side, just trying to get it out and quick movement of the football from, one end of the ground to the other sort of fast flowing, free flowing football.”

Subiaco will head in with a new coach too after Michael Farmer took over the role from Amy Lavell this off-season. The Lions are preparing for another tilt at the flag after narrowly falling short in the 2021 decider.

Meanwhile Swan Districts will be hoping to back up a successful year where they not only made finals, but had a number of players drafted in Mikayla Morrison, Shanae Davison and Mikayla Hyde. The Swans take on Claremont in the opening round at Steel Blue Oval, with the Tigers hoping to improve on their narrow finals-missing campaign last year. With the likes of Ella Smith and Jess Low among those standing out last year, the Tigers should be another tough team in 2021.

Swan Districts will welcome a new head coach in Adam Dancey for the opening game, with team manager Jo Taylor excited about what the team could produce in 2021.

“We have a really young list again, we’ve got some more youngsters through, which is something that we’ve always sort of strived to do,” she said. “So we’re excited to see what they can do as well.”

Claremont coach Andrew Di Loreto has focused on areas that the Tigers could improve in season 2021 after narrowly missing out on finals last year.

“We had some areas we wanted to focus on in terms of evolving the way that we play,” Di Loreto said. “We’ve obviously got a bit of a shorter run up but with all that in mind I’m really happy with the commitment level and the development of our girls, I’m really keen to see them in action and obviously have a test and see where we’re at in a couple of weeks.”

WAFL ROUND 1 MATCHES:

Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle @ David Grays Arena, Sat Feb 20, 5pm
South Fremantle vs. Subiaco @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval, Sun Feb 21, 1pm
Swan Districts vs. Claremont @ Steel Blue Oval, Sun Feb 21, 2pm

Picture credit: WAFL

South Fremantle keen to become a destination club

SOUTH Fremantle are gearing up for their second season in the Western Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s with coach Beau McCormack excited by the young group of players making their way through the club.

“We’re trying to really emphasise South Fremantle as a destination club for females and the other clubs that have been around so we’ve been trying really hard to get an influx and we’re lucky enough to have had around about 19 new girls come to the footy club, this year as well so got a huge spread of girls,” he said.

Coming off the back of a shortened preseason – a similar story to last year – South Fremantle has taken everything in its stride whether it be having to accommodate for lockdown or being flexible with training programs throughout its preseason period to ensure the Bulldogs are in tiptop shape ahead of Round 1.

“We had a shortened introduction last year, three weeks and thrown into league football and this year we were doing our preseason and then had the word that the season was going to be brought forward so again we’ve had a shortened run up I guess. But preseason so far the girls have worked really hard. We have had some challenges with COVID as everyone has, and during some lockdowns the girls have, pushed each other and posted workouts and driven each other to continue to train, albeit with a partner. So, you know, we’re heading in a really good direction.

“We had a scratch match on the weekend and, you know, the fitness levels seem to be, on par with East Fremantle from what we saw so that was a good thing. Gives us a base to work on and see where we’re at and gauge the work they’ve done throughout the preseason,” McCormack said.

McCormack also touched on the difficulties his side along with the other teams in the competition have to encounter on a weekly basis as the players try and juggle a high intensity regime in their personal life.

“Trying to balance work and training and days, and games of roll and stuff at the moment it’s. You just have to have, as we do, a huge bit of flexibility around that, we obviously want girls to come to as many sessions as they can, but our stance on it is, is, family, work, and football, in that order.”

Although 2020 was a difficult season, with the Bulldogs unable to register a win and still finding their feet in the competition there is hope for improvement in the upcoming year as they aim to market South Fremantle as hot property for players to come to. Bursting at the seams with young talent and players in the state programme McCormack did not waste any time highlighting the players looking to make a name for themselves in the squad ahead of this season touting Pia Durk as another star in the makings thanks to her “tough attack on the footy” while there is plenty of promise around Evelyn Burry who “takes the game on and runs hard of half back.” Ash Reidy has also drawn the attention of McCormack with the youngster playing in the Grand Final at the Rogers Cup last year.

“She’s just super strong around the contest, has some great marking ability and her kicking as well so with Ash in full flight she will be the pretty exciting, she’s part of the Fremantle next generation Academy as well over here so you know they’ve already picked up on that, and if we can keep Ash fit and get her fitter as far as her knee I mean, we’re excited to see what she can bring to the team.”

However the side will be without star Taylah Cruttenden who became a regular for South Fremantle last year with the youngster committing to athletics ahead of the World Athletics in Kenya later this year. They could also be without the services of 2020 club leading goal kicker Poppy Stockwell for large chunks of the season given her cricket commitments. But with one door closing, another opens, as McCormack shed some light on a couple of exciting prospects set to take to the park and despite some only being new to the sport boast a wealth of raw potential and talent.

“We’re lucky enough to have Luce Gilchrist, who has been playing for a couple years in the Perth Football League Amateurs for Kurt and Wesley, an outstanding midfielder with just run and carry. It’s pretty phenomenal she’s still learning a game. “But Lucy is as ex-400m runner as well so she’s just can run all day long and skills. “Skills to clean up as she acknowledges, but it’s pretty exciting to watch.”

“We’ve got another young girl, Lauren Wakfer, her grandfather played at South Fremantle. She’s a young 16-year-old girl who’s in the state program. “Had a bit of timeout last year, with an injury and that but is growing every session and is exciting to watch. “In the scratch match on the weekend as well for a young girl, and her ability to go and ruck against some of these seasoned girls. “[She] just puts her body on the line, and just does it all with a massive smile and loves every minute of it so she’s really exciting.

“We have a new girl this year, she has only played one season of football I believe if I’m correct and her name is Makaela Tuhakariana. “She comes from a rugby background but she has burst of speed, and a sidestep that is just blowing people’s minds. “She has exquisite skills even at this stage, she can kick while running flat out. “She brings a tackling pressure obviously from rugby that you know we got some work to do on her technique but she’s not shy, in definitely impacting the contest and a person, in her way so she’s very exciting to watch and I’m sure there’s going to be some, some big things for Mikayla going forward.”

Casting an eye ahead to the upcoming season, McCormack’s main aim for the side was to play a brand of football that was hard hitting and free flowing to ensure that they could capitalise on their strengths.

“I think our brand football we set out last year to play a brand football of high impact football and being known for a hard hitting team, and I think we, we definitely set that example last year and it’s something that we take on and have taken in again to this year, as I said, you know, tackling pressure from my point of view is a huge part of the game and we don’t have it, we get it back,” he said.

“We’ve got some really good runners, that are in the side, just trying to get it out and quick movement of the football from, one end of the ground to the other sort of fast flowing, free flowing football.”

WAFL Women’s to return on February 20

THE wait for the return of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition is almost over, with the 2021 season fixture released this week and teams set to do battle from the weekend of February 20. Initially touted to start next weekend, the season was pushed back a week, with the 2021 WAFL Women’s Grand Final to be played on the weekend of July 3.

Before that though, the six teams – Claremont, East Fremantle, Peel Thunder, South Fremantle, Subiaco and Swan Districts – will face off in 15 rounds, where they will play every other team three times, and have two league-wide byes along the way. The earlier fixture allows those players from Fremantle and West Coast AFL Women’s teams to continue match fitness whilst trying to force their way back into the sides, while also enabling the entire season to wrap up prior to the 2021 AFL Women’s Draft which has been touted to be moved a couple of months earlier than its annual October date.

Round 1 kicks off with reigning premiers Peel Thunder able to unfurl the flag at David Grays Arena up against the previous premiers, East Fremantle. Runners-up Subiaco will head to play last year’s wooden spooners, South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, while Swan Districts hosts Claremont at Steel Blue Oval. Fans will not have to wait long for a WAFL Women’s Grand Final rematch, with the Thunder and Lions set to do battle in Round 2 on the weekend of February 27.

The two bye weekends are on April 3 and May 15, with the 2021 AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships to be played in the second week of April as well. For those interested in some young guns to watch for the upcoming season, it is hard to look past Peel Thunder jet, Courtney Rowley who has been a strong performer at the level for a number of years now. Coming into her top-age year, Rowley is touted to be the top West Australian talent, with the smooth-moving skilful outside player one who shares similar traits to St Kilda’s Georgia Patrikios.

Another player to keep an eye on is Subiaco’s Charlotte Thomas, with her ball use sublime playing off half-forward. She is so clever around goals and can hit the scoreboard, but also push up the ground and have an impact as well. Speaking of hitting the scoreboard, Amy Franklin is a 180cm key forward who can clunk grabs, but then cause sleepless nights for defenders because when the ball hits the ground she can burst away with great acceleration for a player of her height.

A number of other names to keep an eye out on include East Fremantle’s Chloe Reilly who has terrific goal sense and knows who to take marks, whilst Peel Thunder’s talent does not stop at Rowley, with Bethlyn Pasco and Beth Schilling also amongst the talent there. Swan Districts’ Emma Nanut was a reliable source of composure in the back half for the Swans last season, but is versatile just about anywhere, while South Fremantle’s Tayla Whincup and Poppy Stockwell are other names to remember throughout the 2021 WAFL Women’s season.

Some over and mature-age talent to remember include Subiaco’s Abbey Dowrick – sister of West Coast’s McKenzie – as well as Claremont’s Jess Low and East Fremantle’s Rosie Walsh, who all earned AFL Women’s Draft Combine invites last year. Swan Districts’ Nyra Anderson remains a natural ball winner, while her teammate Sarah Wielstra is an example of a player who came a long way in a short time and will be one to watch this year.

Picture credit: Owen Davies/Peel Thunder

Anderson stars as Under 18s get job done over WAFL Women’s

WESTERN Australia’s brightest young stars put on a show and made the most of their opportunities to come away with a 17-point win over the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s All-Stars side in terrible conditions. The Under 18s All-Stars held up well defensively considering the WAFL Women’s side maintained large portions of forward half possession but could not capitalise on the scoreboard with just one goal from eight scoring shots. It was the work of over-age talent Nyra Anderson who was a clear best on ground, starring for the winners and showing her strength and clean hands at ground level.

Along with Anderson, middle-ager Courtney Rowley had a massive first half, and another young talent in Jaide Britton had a huge second half, to assist Anderson and help the teenage side get over the line. For the WAFL Women’s team, Tessa Doumanis was lively up forward and should have had a few more than her one major, as well as had a hand in a few other scoring chances. Along with Doumanis, Sarah Garstone tried hard out of defence, while Tiah Haynes and Chloe Wrigley were also prominent.

Rowley had a huge first term for the Under 18s, seemingly everywhere on the ground and winning it with ease. Despite her performance in the back half and along the wing, it was the All-Stars who looked dangerous early with back-to-back behinds after a rushed behind and missed set shot from Deni Broadhurst had them with the early lead. Liusaidh Gilchrist had a great spoil at half-back as the Under 18s were attacking through the likes of Amy Franklin and Rosie Walsh, but it would be a nice contested mark from Chloe Reilly that earned the first set shot on goal.

Her set shot looked good in the driving rain, but cannoned into the post. It changed the momentum of the game however, as Shakira Pickett and Anderson were busy around the stoppages. Garstone was doing her best under pressure but the wall at half-forward was set up for the Under 18s to control forward half possession. After not much movement on the scoreboard, it took a nice snap from Emily Bennett out of nothing with an open goalsquare to seize the moment and hand her side the quarter time lead.

The second term was almost a counter contrast early after it took 13 minutes for the first goal in the opening quarter. This time, it was some magic out of the middle from Mikayla Morrison leading to a nice Poppy Stockwell mark not long after who made sure of her set shot from 30m out straight in front. It was scrappy, contested footy considering the conditions, but Lou Knitter Medallist, Wrigley was working hard on the inside. Breanne Spencer was a rock in defence with a number of intercept marks, and despite Rowley having a massive game at half-back, it would be the All-Stars who responded on the scoreboard.

Doumas won the ball nine and a half minutes into the term, sidestepped an opponent and was helped via a Zoe Gillard shepherd to put one home off her slick left boot. The WAFL Women’s were back within a kick at half-time with Maggie MacLachlan and Brianna Hyde both having some great defensive moments to keep the opposition at bay considering the possession dominance in that term.

The third term started like the second ended, with the WAFL Women’s team having plenty of chances attacking. Sara Wielstra and Jayme Harkin combined for a quick snap on goal and then Wrigley had one two, but both failed to register a score. A costly 50m penalty handed Dana East plenty of meterage and the Under 18s’ first look forward, but the WAFL Women’s defence was again up to the task. Rowley looked to set Anderson a task in a one-against three contest, but the 19-year-old seemingly did well, bringing it to ground and then using her clean hands off the next stoppage.

Anderson was not only working into the game, she was having a huge say in it. A sharked ball by Grace Wilkie at half-forward saw her pump it inside 50 midway through the term to a one-on-one. In slippery conditions, Anderson kept her feet and just managed to get boot to ball for it to dribble home and extend the lead out to 10. MacLachlan nearly had a goal of her own with a quick snap which missed, but it was Anderson again who bobbed up with a great effort against two opponents at ground level to collect and calmly spin, giving off the handball to the loose teammate in Lauren Quaife who kicked the easiest of goals for her side with two minutes on the clock.

The deficit could have been even greater for the WAFL Women’s side had it not been for Garstone’s intercepting in defence, with the Fremantle delistee certainly putting her hand up to be reconsidered. With a 17-point deficit to their name, the WAFL Women’s team needed something special in the last term, but much like the second term, it was all the Under 18s early. Britton was having a purple patch with a number of good touches, and Franklin pushed forward again had a snap but just missed to the right. Another rushed behind followed and it was the Under 18s peppering the goals now with consecutive behinds.

In the nine-and-a-half-minute mark of the final term, Reilly tried something special off the outside of the boot in the forward pocket, but was touched off the boot before it sailed home. It was her side’s fourth consecutive behind, but they were all but home and hosed. Despite this, the WAFL Women’s side rallied in the last seven minutes to have multiple scoring opportunities that had they gone through, could have seen them steal the win. Unfortunately despite Doumanis having a couple of set shots, and handing a couple more off, all four set shot chances either fell short or missed marginally.

In the end, the Under 18s made more of their goal scoring chances and were the only side to kick multiple goals in a term. Despite neither team kicking a major in the final term, it was tense and hard fought with both sides giving it a red hot crack in challenging conditions. With the AFL Women’s Draft Combine coming up, those players invited will be keen to put their best foot forward after another strong outing in what is their last of the season.

U18S ALL-STARS 1.1 | 2.1 | 4.2 | 4.6 (30)
WAFLW ALL-STARS 0.2 | 1.3 | 1.3 | 1.7 (13)

GOALS: 

U18s: E. Bennett, P. Stockwell, N. Anderson, L. Quaife.
WAFLW: T. Doumanis.

ADC BEST:

U18s: N. Anderson, C. Rowley, J. Britton, E. Bennett, A. Franklin
WAFLW: T. Doumanis, S. Garstone, T. Haynes, C. Wrigley, J. Low

Picture: AFL Photos

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Geelong Falcons vs. South Fremantle

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for another intriguing quarter final clash, set to play out between a powerhouse Victorian region and West Australian club, in the Geelong Falcons and South Fremantle Bulldogs, respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were ‘the little master’ Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong Falcons) and West Coast great Peter Matera (South Fremantle).

These clubs are seeded second (Geelong Falcons) and 10th (South Fremantle) respectively, meaning the Bulldogs will be made to pull off another upset in order to advance. Our proposed Falcons squad outvoted the Greater Western Victoria Rebels after a first-round bye, while South’s path to this stage came through Claremont and the Bendigo Pioneers. The winner will qualify for the semi finals, set to face the Port Adelaide Magpies/Dandenong Stingrays.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE FULL TEAMS

TALKING POINTS

THE STINGY DEFENCES:

While there lies plenty more glitz and glamour further afield, a solid starting point is the stingy defences of either side. Geelong’s is one of the best of the lot, boasting premiership skippers Luke Hodge and Nick Maxwell at half-back, while Geelong pair Matthew Scarlett and Tom Stewart take up the key position posts, and Steven Baker takes up the opposite pocket of Will Schofield. If you’re left wanting more, the versatile Lachlan Henderson and Matt McGuire await rotation from the bench, potentially adding a touch more height to deal with monster key forwards. The marking power is evident, as is the pure defensive nous, and leadership in spades. Baker’s addition also adds a much-needed small option, able to lockdown the liveliest of opposition forwards.

We feared there would be no match for the Geelong defence, but alas, South Fremantle’s back six comes in strong. The Bulldogs lay claim to a premiership captain of their own, in outgoing Essendon coach and Eagles champion John Worsfold, who slots in alongside fellow West Coast great Glen Jakovich at half-back. With the ever-reliable Darren Gaspar and James Clement behind them, it would take something special to penetrate South Freo’s last line. Let’s not forget Paul Duffield in the pocket, along with ‘Miracle on Grass’ hero Ash McGrath at half-back, who add a different dimension to the back six.

On paper, these defences are difficult to split. Balance is a key aspect to the equation, slightly favouring South, but versatility looks to clearly be in Geelong’s favour, with the bench depth allowing for a good range of possible lineups. The players themselves, namely Hodge, Maxwell, and Stewart can play a variety of roles down back both below and above their heights, but the key position strength remains. We’re sticking with the Falcons here, just.

THE MIDFIELD BATTLE:

Two contrasting midfields also do battle when these sides line up, with the Geelong side boasting a rich vein of ball winners, while South Fremantle’s prime movers are most significantly based on the outer. Local Cats premiership players Cameron Ling and Jimmy Bartel feature at the heart of Geelong’s engine room alongside Travis Boak, making for a durable trio which balances both sides of the game well. South also lays claim to a tagging centreman in Clinton Jones, who is joined by Fremantle stalwart Peter Bell and current Eagles star, Tim Kelly. In terms of credentials at the centre bounce, Geelong takes the chocolates. That’s without touching on the ruck battle, which looks to also favour Geelong as Matthew Primus opposes Jaymie Graham.

But on the outside is where it gets interesting, with Matera and Nicky Winmar making for one hell of a fine wing pairing. Jordan Lewis and Jack Steven are no slouches, but would have their hands well and truly full with those two for opposition. Steven’s prime running power would serve him well, as would Lewis’ hardness and ball use, but we feel the Bulldogs have their counterparts found out in this area.

Then there is the question of depth, which will also spawn a later talking point. Geelong could well make up three or four centre bounce combinations to rival that of every club, but see many of their midfield options squeezed out to flanks or the bench. While South Fremantle’s proposed engine room is the cream of its crop, Geelong has the like of Patrick Dangerfield, Ablett Jnr, and Shaun Higgins up forward, while Taylor Adams, Ben Cunnington, and Devon Smith remain benched. That kind of depth is scary, and proves another tick for the stacked Falcons side.

THE FORWARD BALANCE:

As alluded to, the weight of Geelong’s midfield depth somewhat hinders its balance on other lines, namely up forward. While the likes of Dangerfield and Ablett Jnr are both no strangers to the forward 50, their work as midfielders is what they are primarily known for. Add Higgins into the mix, and that’s three of the four flanks/pockets filled up by improvised forwards. Luckily, they may not be needed much at ground level with Scott Lucas and Jonathan Brown in the key position posts.

But we feel the balance of South Fremantle’s front six looks much better. Peter Sumich is a terrific spearhead, aided aerially and in strength by Brad Hardie and Allen Jakovich, while true smalls in Phillip Matera and Jeff Farmer are joined by Mark Williams, who made the ‘shotgun’ celebration famous (or, infamous). Add Andrew Krakouer and Ashley Sampi to the mix off the bench, and you have a truly dynamic forward set-up, laden with x-factor and match winners. It gives the Bulldogs a good edge over Geelong, despite its overspill of talent.

SUMMARY:

While South Fremantle lays claim to some important points of difference over the second-ranked Geelong side, it is difficult to look past the Falcons’ weight of elite talent. Geelong’s midfield and defence come up trumps, and there is plenty of firepower up forward despite a lesser structure when compared to South’s. We’re taking the Falcons.

Which All-Star Team do you think would win?
Geelong Falcons
South Fremantle
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Claremont vs. South Fremantle

OUR next All-Star Team battle is between two West Australian clubs, in the Claremont Tigers and South Fremantle Bulldogs. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Fremantle captain, Nat Fyfe (Claremont) and West Coast great, Peter Matera (South Fremantle).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded seventh (Claremont) and 10th (South Fremantle) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face the Geelong Falcons.

STRENGTHS:

Claremont’s defence and midfield jump off the page most significantly, though South Fremantle is arguably just as strong in both areas. The Tigers boast premiership Eagles of differing eras in Jeremy McGovern and Ashley McIntosh at the key position posts in defence, while Guy McKenna and Heritier Lumumba complete up a terrific half-back line, and the pockets are filled by the very capable Alan Toovey and Eric Mackenzie.

Glen Jakovich and Darren Gaspar make for another talented key position defensive pairing, with James Clement in tow, and John Worsfold joined by the ‘Miracle on Grass’ hero, Ash McGrath across half back for South Fremantle. The Bulldogs’ midfield also stands up to Claremonts, with their on-ball trio of Tim Kelly, Peter Bell, and Clinton Jones stacking up well against Claremont’s Fyfe, Tom Mitchell, and Matt De Boer.

The x-factor in each forwardline is also apparent, as South Fremantle lays claim to Jeff Farmer, Phillip Matera, and the enigmatic Allen Jakovich, while Claremont’s Chris Lewis and Paul Medhurst also boast decent highlight reels.

WEAKNESSES:

While top 10 clubs often boast few chinks in their armour, there is one glaring hole in South Fremantle’s ruck department. Cam McCarthy, an undersized key forward as it were, fills that spot, up against a formidable opponent in Michael Gardiner. The bench depth on either sides doesn’t quite match up to the starting standard either, but that is to be expected.

SUMMARY:

This is a tough one to call, but despite what our seeding system may suggest, we fancy South Fremantle in this matchup. Despite the ruck fault, the Bulldogs’ midfield is strong inside and out, Their forwardline boasts over double the amount of goals of Claremont’s, while the back six matches up quite well too.

Which All-Star Team would you pick?
Claremont
South Fremantle
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: South Fremantle vs. Bendigo Pioneers

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a South Australian club and Victorian region, in South Fremantle and the Bendigo Pioneers. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Peter Matera (South Fremantle) and Dustin Martin (Bendigo Pioneers).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded 10th (South Fremantle) and 23rd (Bendigo Pioneers) respectively, and makes up the penultimate clash in the second half of our draw. The winner will qualify for the Round of 16 stage.

STRENGTHS:

South Fremantle is a team which is strong across the board, boasting legendary talent on each line and some serious x-factor. With Matera and Nicky Winmar featuring on the outside, with Tim Kelly streaming through the middle and Jeff Farmer up forward, this Bulldogs team would provide plenty of highlights and attacking flair. That’s not to mention the additions of Andrew Krakouer and Ashley Sampi off the bench. The defensive solidity is there too, with West Coast Eagles premiership players Glen Jakovich and John Worsfold teaming up once again, while Darren Gaspar and James Clement feature on the last line. Competitive as you will get.

The Pioneers side is also well equipped up forward in terms on x-factor, with high fliers Chris Tarrant and Andrew Walker joined by Nathan Brown and Jake Stringer. The other obvious area of strength is Bendigo’s midfield, led by Martin and Joel Selwood. The pair are complimented by Scott Selwood at the centre bounces, with the class of Nick Dal Santo and brawn of Michael Braun on the outer. The engine room depth also extends to the interchange bench, where a couple more Selwood’s are named among others.

WEAKNESSES:

While both are inevitably relatively strong teams, there are a couple of areas which could do with a boost. South Fremantle’s ruck stocks, or lack thereof sees the recently released Cam McCarthy take up that position, despite playing as an undersized key forward for most of his career. The bench depth also leaves a little to be desired in terms of consistency, though we doubt some of the starting stars would even warrant rotation.

Bendigo’s key position depth is also an area of slight weakness, with terrific talent available in at least one of the two posts up either end. Akin to the Bulldogs, Bendigo’s ruck spot is filled by a key position forward in Nathan Thompson, though the midfielders named would hardly need a dominant ruckman to find their own ball. Some added tall options on the bench would also have been handy.

SUMMARY:

We are backing South Fremantle to get up in this one, with just a touch more class around the ground despite Bendigo’s midfield prowess. They should be stingy at one end, and free-flowing up the other.

 

Which All-Star team are you picking?
South Fremantle
Bendigo Pioneers
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All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era: Which club is the best of the best?

EVERY year, a new crop of AFL Draft talents rise up and make waves at AFL level. Some clubs such as Calder Cannons and Geelong Falcons are referred to as ‘footy factories’. Others are less well known, but nonetheless vital in providing players with their start to the AFL.

Over the past couple of months, Draft Central has gone through all of the NAB League, SANFL and WAFL clubs and tried to determine the best 24-player squad for their respective clubs. The captains and vice-captains were determined by the public through Instagram voting. Now, it is up to the public to decide which All-Star Team is the greatest of the lot. That’s right, the 30 teams from Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia are going head to head in a knockout draw.

Which teams are competing?

NAB League [12]: Bendigo Pioneers, Calder Cannons, Dandenong Stingrays, Eastern Ranges, Geelong Falcons, Gippsland Power, GWV Rebels, Murray Bushrangers, Northern Knights, Oakleigh Chargers, Sandringham Dragons, Western Jets
SANFL [9]: Central District, Glenelg, North Adelaide, Norwood, Port Adelaide, South Adelaide, Sturt, West Adelaide, Woodville-West Torrens
WAFL [9]: Claremont, East Fremantle, East Perth, South Fremantle, Peel Thunder, Perth, Subiaco, Swan Districts, West Perth

How will it work?

Each day at 10am, we will publish the two All-Star Teams of the AFL Draft era, and the public will be able to vote through the article, Facebook and Twitter, with the overall winner moving through to the next round.

Given there are 30 teams, two sides who we have picked out as the top two seeds – East Fremantle and Geelong Falcons – will have the bye in the opening round, with the other 28 teams seeded appropriately similar to the All-Star Player voting (3rd against 28th, 4th against 27th etc.).

Who is up first?

The first All-Star Team battle is between a couple of metropolitan sides who we have seeded 16th and 17th in the draw. They both have some absolute elite stars, but Calder Cannons and Western Jets will begin the voting on Monday. They will be followed by the Greater Western Victoria (GWV) Rebels and Eastern Ranges on Tuesday, before a cross-state clash sees third seed Port Adelaide Magpies tackle Peel Thunder.

Scouting Notes: 2020 WAFL Colts Round 2 – Claremont vs Swan Districts

IN Round 2 of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts Competition, Claremont continued its premiership defence with a convincing 87-point victory over Swan Districts at Revo Fitness Stadium. Below were the most notable players. There were also plenty of standout performers around the grounds, SCROLL to read about how the remaining talent fared.

FEATURED GAME:
Claremont vs. Swan Districts

By: Lenny Fogliani

Claremont:

#2 Logan Young

The son of AFL player manager Colin Young, Logan was exceptional in the midfield for the Tigers. He finished with an equal game-high 31 possessions, six inside 50s, four marks and four tackles in a powerful display.

#3 Zac Mainwaring

The son of the late Chris Mainwaring, Zac was lively in the forward half for the Tigers, creating plenty of goal scoring opportunities for his team. He finished with 12 possessions, five marks, four inside 50s, three tackles and two goals. The highlight of his game came late in the third quarter, when he took a sensational one-handed mark.

#4 Jake Willson

The Wembley Downs Junior was powerful in the midfield, winning 17 possessions, laying six tackles, taking two marks and recording two inside 50s.

#10 Joel Western

The Fremantle Dockers’ Next Generation Academy (NGA) member went off with what looked like a hamstring injury. Before departing the field, Western racked up 14 possessions, recorded four inside 50s and laid two tackles in a dazzling display. His desire to take the game on was a real feature of his shortened outing.

#11 Jacquin Ciminata

The Marist junior was electrifying in the forward half for Claremont. He finished with 19 possessions, eight tackles, five marks and four goals. The highlight of his game came in the first quarter, when he took a strong mark inside 50, before duly converting his set shot.

#13 Sam Alvarez

The Fremantle Dockers’ NGA member was excellent on the wing for Claremont with 19 possessions and two goals. The highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he snapped through his first goal.

#20 Logan Guelfi

The younger brother of Essendon’s Matt Guelfi, Logan was always dangerous for the Tigers. He accumulated 16 possessions, recorded seven inside 50s, laid five tackles, took three marks and kicked a goal. He kicked the opening goal of the game. Another highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he produced a spear kick across his body to Mainwaring inside 50.

#28 Kalin Lane

The Denmark-Walpole product showed why he is considered to be one of the leading ruck prospects from Western Australia this season with a strong performance against Swan Districts. He finished with 16 possessions, 29 hit-outs, four marks and three inside 50s. For a ruckman, he covered the ground well, often positioning himself just behind the play to halt any attacking momentum the Swans had.

Swan Districts:

#2 Ayden Cartwright

The 2018 WA U16s State Academy member battled manfully in the midfield for the Swans, finishing with 31 possessions, eight marks, five tackles and a goal. In the final quarter, he was able to take a solid mark inside 50, before duly converting his set shot.

#8 Zane Trew

The Hills Rangers junior showed why he is one of the leading inside midfield prospects in this year’s AFL draft pool. He accumulated 31 possessions, laid five tackles, grabbed three marks and recorded three inside 50s in a powerful display. His composure, and decision-making around the stoppages was impressive for someone his age. When he got the ball on the outside, he constantly hit his intended target.

#10 Ty Sears

Playing off the half-back line, the South Bunbury product battled valiantly in defence for Swan Districts. He gathered 15 possessions, took three marks and laid two tackles as he tried to kickstart the Swans’ attacking drives.

Around the grounds:

By: Michael Alvaro

For the second week running, all eyes were on Perth key forward Logan McDonald, as he soared to the top of the WAFL League goalkicking charts with a bag of four goals. The 196cm prospect was dominant in the air and strong close to goal, but it was his accuracy which helped the Demons most in their 21-point win over East Perth. Denver Grainger-Barras also turned out at League level, taking four marks in his 10-disposal effort against Claremont.

Back in the Colts grade, Callum Johnson was again a prolific ball winner for West Perth as the Falcons downed South Fremantle, collecting an equal game-high 28 touches, while also booting three behinds. Brady Alvaro (23 disposals) and Lochlan Paton (21) both continued their strong starts to the season, while leading draft prospect Heath Chapman also had it 21 times and reeled in six marks. Michael Mallard sent another reminded of his talents with 18 disposals, 10 marks, and 30 hitouts from the ruck.

Oscar Armstrong and Toby Dodds both had 28 disposals for the Bulldogs, and also combined for a total of 13 marks. Jaxon Bellchambers worked hard to rack up 12 of his own among 27 touches, with Adam Correia pitching in for 25 disposals. None of the South Freo players were able to bag multiple goals in the 28-point loss.

Peel Thunder doubled East Fremantle’s score to take out a 36-point victory, with exciting prospect Isiah Winder continuing his push for senior selection. He gathered a game-high 26 disposals, including five marks, three inside 50s, and two goals in a brilliant display of his skills. Zach Rankin also snared two majors from his 24 touches, while David Yaccob was again solid with 22 disposals and seven marks, and Jonathon Ietto found both the goals and a solid amount of ball.

There is always some prolific, top-end talent among the Sharks’ lineup, and Finn Gorringe was again among the best as he and Joshua Browne collected a team-high 24 disposals each. Bailey Hodge was good for a goal from his 18 uses of the ball, while Jack Carroll laid six tackles and pumped the ball inside 50 four times amid his 17-disposal effort. Fremantle NGA prospect Brandon Walker had 16 disposals (14 kicks) in the defeat.

The round’s final Colts fixture saw East Perth come away with a 22-point win over Perth, beating out some outstanding individual performers on the Demons’ side. Among them, Connor McPartland again led all comers with 29 disposals and seven inside 50s, while AFL Academy jet Nathan O’Driscoll looks back near his best with 25 touches, six marks, and five tackles. Harry Quartermaine added three goals to his seven from last week, while Jaiden Hunter palmed down 33 hitouts.

For the Royals, Joshua Clements booted a game-high four goals from eight disposals, as three other teammates managed two majors apiece – most notably, Jayden Peak and Sokaa Soka, who also notched 15 disposals. Adam Boules led the ball winning stakes with 28 disposals, followed closely by Luke Lombardi‘s 24.

>> WAFL League Player Focus: Logan McDonald

>> 2020 Western Australia Under 18s Squad Prediction
>> July 2020 Power Rankings

Draft Diaries:
Zane Trew – Edition 1 | Edition 2
Jack Allen – Edition 1

AFL Draft Watch:
Heath Chapman
Denver Grainger-Barras
Logan McDonald
Nathan O’Driscoll
Brandon Walker
Joel Western
Isiah Winder

Marquee Matchups:
Kaine Baldwin vs. Denver Grainger-Barras
Oliver Davis vs. Zane Trew
Elijah Hollands vs. Nathan O’Driscoll