Tag: blair bell

State leagues preview: Pressure on undefeated sides

AS the weekend approaches, state leagues around the country prepare for another big round of footy. With high stakes across the board, don’t be surprised to see some thrilling contests.


The VFL will be holding less games this week, with eight teams set to have a bye this weekend as the competition breaks up the matches with the added interstate teams. However, this does not mean there will be a shortage of exciting matchups.

The Casey Demons were hoping to maintain their spot on top of the ladder with a win over the Sydney Swans at Casey Fields on Sunday morning, however that encounter has been delayed due to COVID-19 related issues. The Demons find themselves in first place after starting the season 3-0 with a handy percentage and their big win over North Melbourne last round will give them plenty of confidence despite not being able to head into a clash with the struggling Swans side. Sydney have started the season with just one win from their three games, with their heartbreak from last week’s three-point loss a driving factor for the Swans players.

Sunday afternoon will also see the Carlton Blue travelling to Whitten Oval to take on the undefeated Footscray Bulldogs in a tantalising matchup. Carlton have been no slumps this season, winning two out of their first three matches, and dominating Essendon by 49 points in round three. They will fancy themselves against the Dogs here, but it will be a tough task to slow down their opponents. Footscray soundly defeated the Northern Bullants to the tune of 43 points last week, marking their third win by over seven goals. Prized Bulldog Jamarra Ugle-Hagan continues to find his feet at this level, so expect him to have a big presence in the forward line. Carlton’s Will Setterfield will be looking to perform at the level that has seen him collect over 25 disposals in each of the last two games.

South Australia:

The SANFL season is flying as South Australia’s premier league heads into their sixth round of action. The most intriguing matchup of the round comes first as the Woodville-West Torrens host the South Adelaide Panthers in a clash that will prove vital for each of the two sides. The Panthers have lost just the one match from their first five games, good enough for second place on the ladder. Their chances will be bolstered by the return of Matthew Broadbent and Liam Fitt, while 17-year-old Matty Roberts will make his debut after a strong performance in the U18’s last round. The Eagles sit just behind their opponents in third place, having won one less game, but will be driven by last round’s loss to Port Adelaide. The inclusion of star forward Jack Hayes will give them a huge confidence boost heading into a crucial game on Saturday afternoon.

The Central District Bulldogs will be looking for their second win for the season as they prepare for this round’s match against Norwood at X Convenience Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs have had a less than ideal start to the season, finding themselves on the bottom of the ladder after six rounds, and have decided to change things up at selection. Key forward Connor McLean has been named in the forward pocket, in an attempt to stretch Norwood’s defence. Norwood could be recalling Mitch Grigg, who is named on the extended bench after his shocking relegation to the reserves in recent weeks. Grigg collected 20 touches in last week’s match, so don’t be surprised to see him line up for the senior side this week.

The SANFL showdown always delivers a buzz around Adelaide, with this year proving no exception, as the Port Adelaide Power and the Adelaide Crows prepare to go to war on Saturday afternoon at Adelaide Oval as a curtain raiser to the AFL match between the two sides. The Power find themselves just inside the top five based on percentage, but last week’s ten-goal win over the Eagles will see them enter this match with their tails up. Experienced defender Tyson Goldsack will debut for the side having overcome a knee injury, while potential draftee Jase Burgoyne will line up for the Power in his debut as a part of his work in the Power’s Next Generation academy. The Crows sit on the same amount of wins as their fifth-placed opponents, but find themselves down the pecking order in eighth place. They will unleash Tasmanian development player Oliver Davis on the wing, after being recruited from Clarence for the rest of the season.

Kicking off the Sunday football action, the North Adelaide Roosters will host the West Adelaide Bloods at Prospect Oval on Sunday afternoon, with both sides keen to take home a very important win. The Roosters have started the season with just the one win from five games, so a triumph in this match would be vital for reigniting their 2021 season. They will welcome back utility Sam McInerney, who will play his first match since 2019, following a series of back injuries, while former Hawk Billy Hartung has been named on a wing in his first game of the year. The West Adelaide Bloods will be hoping to ride the momentum of last week’s win over Central District into this week, as they look to enter the top five with a victory on Sunday. They will be welcoming mature-age recruit Nick Steele, who will be lining up at centre-half-forward for his first SANFL match.

Sturt face a tough task this round, as they face off against the top of the table Glenelg at ACH Group Stadium on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the round. Sturt have started the season with two wins and three losses from five games, with their round five triumph over the Crows coming by just one point. They have not confirmed their changes yet, with all inclusions named on the extended bench, and one of these inclusions is former Power player Riley Grundy, who could debut to boost his side’s backline. Glenelg have started the season like a house on fire, winning all five of their matches to date, and will be looking to keep their unbeaten streak rolling. As a result of their hot start, they will likely enter the clash unchanged.

Western Australia:

The sixth round of WAFL action kicks off with an absolute blockbuster, as Claremont travel to Leederville Oval to face off against a fired-up Subiaco side on Saturday afternoon. Claremont have not put a foot wrong in their start to the season, ending round five with a 4-0 record as the dominant team of the competition. Forward Jack Butler kicked five goals from nine scoring shots, so expect Subiaco to send their best defender to keep an eye on him all day. Subiaco started the season 3-0, but were handed their first loss of the season by South Fremantle in round five, so look for them to come out eager to make amends. Ruckman Lachlan Delahunty will play a crucial role in his side’s success, and if he can back up last week’s 21 disposal and 29 hitout effort, Subiaco’s midfield should gain ascendancy.

Perth will be hoping to move up the ladder with a second consecutive win as they prepare to take on a Peel Thunder side in a similar situation. Both sides sit at 2-2 on the season and a third win could see the victor move into the top four after this high-stake game. Perth broke a two-game losing streak with a five-goal win over East Fremantle last round in a promising display and would love to back it up this round. Brady Grey played his best game of the season last week, with 29 disposals, 11 marks and nine tackles, and was crucial in the win, and should prove important again this week. Peel Thunder dominated West Coast last week, crushing their opponents by 79 points, so they will be confident in their ability heading into this clash. Blair Bell is fresh off a six-goal haul against the Eagles, so keep an eye on his presence around goal.

Swan Districts will be looking to edge closer to top spot on the ladder with a win over a faulting West Perth team at Provident Financial Oval on Saturday afternoon. Swan Districts are on a three-game winning streak to see them currently sit with a 3-1 record in second place and will be heavy favourites this week. Midfielder Samuel Fisher is averaging 34.5 disposals on the season in a blistering start and should rack up plenty of the ball in this clash. West Perth have only managed the one win in the 2021 season, and look unlikely to snatch one here, but if they do, it could kickstart a promising campaign.

East Perth will have the opportunity to grab their first win of the season on Saturday afternoon, as they travel to Fremantle Community Bank Oval to take on South Fremantle. East Perth have started the season with a disappointing 0-4 record and sit second last on the ladder. Last week’s performance was promising as they pushed second placed Swan Districts right to the final siren, only falling two goals short of a massive upset. If they can bring a similar effort this week, they may finally sing the song. Edward Simpson booted five snags in the loss and should once again give defenders a headache. South Fremantle have won two games in a row to finally build some momentum as the season progresses. A win here could push them into the top three, so they will be eager to walk away victors. Haiden Schloithe has displayed his talents as a goalkicking midfielder all year so expect Saturday to prove no different.

The final match of round six will see East Fremantle host a West Coast side that is yet to compete all year, as the sides go head-to-head at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. East Fremantle are making a strong push for the top four, but last round’s loss to Perth made that slightly harder. They will be looking to grab this game with both hands early on, with Cameron Eardley likely to prove influential through the midfield. West Coast have simply looked off the pace all year, yet to register their first win and have been soundly beaten by plenty of sides. A bright spot for the season has been Hamish Brayshaw, who will look to find plenty of the ball around the ground.


QAFL action begins at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon, as Surfers Paradise host Noosa at Sir Bruce Small Park, as both sides look to recover from shaky starts. Surfers Paradise have won just the one game so far this year, and a loss here could see them fall right down in the race for the flag. Luckily for them, they face an out of form side, and a win would likely pump some life into their season. Look for Alby Jones to back up last week’s strong outing. Noosa are yet to win a game after four games and will be desperate to change that with a win this round. They were competitive against Sherwood Districts, but missed an opportunity to defeat a side that was also searching for their first win. Ryley Buntain has delivered two fantastic performances in losing sides, so he will be eager to walk off a winner.

Labrador will be thrilled with the opportunity to jump up the ladder as they head into Saturday afternoon’s clash with Mt Gravatt at Cooke-Murphy Oval. Labrador sit fourth on the ladder with three wins and one loss from their matches this year, and a win could see them reach second depending on results around the league. Heading into the match as favourites, their motivation will be high to continue to set themselves up as the season progresses. Former AFL gun Pearce Hanley has been on fire in the last two weeks, so if he is once again allowed to roam free, Labrador will be hard to stop. Mt Gravatt have won only the solitary game this year but have had two byes in five weeks. Nevertheless, a second win is crucial, and Saturday provides a perfectly good opportunity. Gavin Grose’s start to the year has been eye catching and should continue in this match.

A fresh Morningside team will be hosting Redland-Victoria Point at Jack Esplen Oval on Saturday afternoon in an exciting matchup. Fresh off the bye, Morningside will be ready for the challenge from a strong Redland-Victoria Point side, as both sides look to climb the ladder with an important win on Saturday. Redland-Victoria Point’s Harrison Kerr has booted 11 goals in his past three games and will need to be held accountable if Morningside are to slow down the scoring of their opponent.

Sherwood Districts will be looking to cause an upset as they prepare to host an impressive Maroochydore at Sherwood Oval on Saturday afternoon. Sherwood Districts have only won a single game this season, while their opponents have won three, so a boilover here looks unlikely, but stranger things have happened. Maroochydore sit second on the ladder, and if ladder leaders Broadbeach are beaten this round, a big win in this match could see them move to the top of the table. Keep an eye on Maroochydore’s Jacob Simpson, who has performed strongly all year. Sherwood Districts’ William Fletcher has been equally impressive and has also put his hand up as one to watch.

Wilston Grange face the tough task of slowing down the ladder leaders, as they host the undefeated Broadbeach at Hickey Park on Saturday afternoon. Wilston Grange have a 1-3 record after four games in an underwhelming start to the year, but a win here would truly send a message to the rest of the competition. They have the ability to kick a winning score, highlighted by Will McKenzie’s seven goals in his last two games. Broadbeach will be a tough beast to tame though. 4-0 on the season, they simply know how to get the job. With the top spot comes the pressure, and they will be eager to show they can more than handle it. Liam Nelson has been strong in the last three games and will be hoping to maintain this.


The sixth round of TSL football kicks off with a bang as Clarence host competition powerhouse Launceston at Blundstone Arena on Saturday afternoon. Launceston have looked unstoppable but face arguably their toughest challenger this week on their home deck. Clarence have looked fantastic this year, especially since returning to Blundstone Arena, and will fancy themselves a strong chance to knock off the reigning premiers on Saturday. The inclusion of experienced forward Josh Green should make them more dangerous forward of the ball. Launceston will be regaining stand-in captain Jake Hinds after serving his suspension, while Dylan Riley will be eager to continue the run of form that has seen him boot 19 goals in the last two matches.

Another key clash this weekend comes in the form of North Hobart taking on Glenorchy at North Hobart Oval on Saturday afternoon. Both sides sit with a 1-3 record and changing that to 2-3 is crucial for the season moving forward. North Hobart will bring in ruckman Logan Elphinstone to establish some midfield dominance. Glenorchy will be regaining the services of experienced midfielder Sam Rundle who should prove a crucial inclusion to the side.

The Tigers and North Launceston will clash at UTAS Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the final match of the round. The Tigers have a 3-2 record and had their colours lowered by a firing Clarence side last weekend, so they will be desperate to get back on the winners list. Star Elijah Reardon was kept reasonably quiet last round so he should be keen to bounce back in this game. North Launceston sit at 2-2 having played one less game than their opponent, but will regain the services of Bradley Cox-Goodyer, setting up a thrilling clash.

Picture credit: The Examiner

State Leagues Wrap: Weekend of thrillers

AS the weekend came to an end, so did a round of exciting football around the country. State leagues saw plenty of contests that came down to the wire, while other teams flexed their muscles with big wins.


VFL action kicked off on Thursday night with the Casey Demons’ big win over North Melbourne as VFL finally returned to Marvel Stadium. The Demons kicked a whopping 19 goals and finished the game as 107-point winners in a game that would not have impressed North Melbourne fans. Sam Weideman kicked four goals as he continues his ripping form that is sure to earn him an AFL recall in the near future. Unfortunately for him, Casey’s AFL affiliate Melbourne is absolutely flying at the moment, but if the key forward keeps up these performances, he will be hard to ignore come selection time. For the Roos, ruckman Tristian Xerri fought hard, and won the duel with Casey’s rucks, collecting 16 disposals to go with his 35 hitouts.

Collingwood stole a victory at the death as they snuck away with a three-point win against the Gold Coast Suns at Olympic Park Oval on Friday afternoon. With his 20th disposal, Magpie Reef McInnes kicked a goal at the 26-minute mark of the final term to put his side in front, and the rest is history. Young Pie Oliver Henry’s three goal haul would have impressed coaches, while Sun Will Brodie dominated in the midfield, collecting 41 touches and laying 11 tackles.

Geelong held off a fast-finishing Sydney side to claim a tense four-point win at Tramway Oval on Saturday afternoon. The Swans led by three points heading into the final term but Logan McDonald’s three goal effort was not enough to get the Swans home. Charlie Constable found the ball 28 times in a promising display, while Josh Jenkins booted two goals. For the Swans, Lewis Taylor and Robbie Fox combined for 59 disposals and looked dangerous whenever the ball was in dispute.

Essendon’s fast start couldn’t be maintained, eventually falling to Carlton by 49 points at Windy Hill on Sunday afternoon. The Bombers led by 14 points at the first break, but a five goal to nil second term got the Blues in front, and they never looked back. Out of favour Blue Will Setterfield continued his strong VFL form with a 26 disposal effort as he continues to push for a recall, while Nic Newman returned from a serious knee injury sustained last year to gather 23 disposals in a promising outing for Blues fans. First game Don Nick O’Kearney gathered 36 disposals in an eye-catching performance.

South Australia:

Round 5 of the SANFL began with an upset, as Norwood took down the previously undefeated South Adelaide Panthers at Coopers Stadium on Friday night. The Redlegs kicked a whopping five goals to one in the second goal to give themselves a 26-point lead at half time, and the Panthers simply couldn’t get the comeback done in time. Norwood midfielders Matthew Nunn and Jacob Kennerley combined for a whopping 29 tackles with 16 and 13 respectively, while former Crow Richard Douglas racked up 30 disposals. Joseph Haines was the Panthers’ best with 28 touches.

Glenelg remain the best team in the competition after their 31-point triumph over the North Adelaide Roosters on Saturday afternoon at Prospect Oval. A four-goal lead at quarter time was a sign of things to come, as Glenelg rode the first quarter effort until the final siren. Former Tiger Liam McBean kicked a bag of five of Glenelg, while midfielder Luke Partington had 35 disposals and seven clearances. Thomas Schwarz kicked three goals for the Roosters.

A strong final term saw West Adelaide claim their second win of the season, taking down Central Districts by four goals at Hisense Stadium on Saturday afternoon. There were only four points separating the two sides at three quarter time, but West Adelaide were able to extend that lead after kicking four goals to none in the final term. Edward Allan was strong in the midfield for North Adelaide, finishing with 22 disposals, five clearances and 11 tackles, while teammate Thomas Keough kicked four snags. For Central Districts, Justin Hoskin’s 26 disposals and two goals were excellent.

Over at Unley Oval, Sturt were able to pull off a heist, stealing a one-point win from the Crows on Sunday afternoon. Sturt’s Ashley Johnson kicked his fourth goal 26 minutes into the final quarter to give his side a one-point lead that proved to be enough. He was well aided by teammate Albania Davis who had 33 disposals, 11 marks and a goal. Crows skipper Matthew Wright kicked three goals in what could have been a match-winning performance.

Port Adelaide’s ten goal win over the West-Woodville Torrens was set up by a clinical second quarter performance at Alberton Oval on Sunday afternoon. The Power kicked seven goals in the second quarter to take a 47-point lead into half time, which they only improved on in the second half. Port’s skipper Cam Sutcliffe was marvellous rotating through the midfield and forward line, finishing with 25 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 34 touches and eight clearances. Eagles mid James Tsitas had a whopping 39 disposals for the losing side.

Western Australia:

In the WAFL, Round 5 kicked off with Swan Districts surviving a massive scare from an East Perth side who are still searching for their first win. The inaccuracy of East Perth really hurt their chances, kicking 7.13, while Swan Districts kicked 10.8 to run out 13-point victors for their third win of the season. Swan Districts midfielder Samuel Fisher had the ball on a string as he worked his way to 37 disposals and a goal, while teammate Frank Anderson had 35 touches of his own. Edward Simpson was nearly the hero for East Perth, booting five goals in a near match-winning performance.

Perth were able to cruise to their second win of the season with a triumph over East Fremantle by five goals at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday afternoon. A six-goal opening term set up the win, with the home side unable to close the gap in the next three quarters. Brady Grey was the star for the victors, with 29 disposals and a huge 10 inside 50’s for the match, while Doultan Langlands kicked three goals. For East Fremantle, Cameron Eardley led the way with 32 touches.

Despite a slow start, Claremont were able to find their rhythm in the second quarter, steamrolling their way to a 52-point win over West Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Claremont trailed by two goals at quarter time, before kicking six goals in the second term to get the game back in their control. Claremont’s Lachlan Martinis racked up a whopping 42 disposals and nine marks in a dominant display, while Jack Buller kicked five goals for the victors. For West Perth, Shane Nelson had 39 disposals in an impressive display.

South Fremantle caused a major upset with their 18-point win over Subiaco, handing them their first loss of the year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon. Subiaco were at the top of the table heading into this game, while South Fremantle had only won the two games, but they turned the table in this dominant display, set up by their seven goal second term. Haiden Schloithe put in a star turn for the winners, ending the match with 39 disposals and two goals in a clear best on ground performance. For Subiaco, Gregory Clark led with 30 touches.

West Coast’s struggles continued on Sunday morning after being convincingly beaten by Peel Thunder to the tune of 79 points at David Grays Arena. The Eagles trailed by seven goals at half time, and could not get themselves back in the game against a dominant Thunder side. Blair Bell kicked six goals for Peel, while teammate Josh Treacy kicked five of his own. West Coast’s Hamish Brayshaw performed admirably with 29 disposals.


QAFL’s fifth round of action kicked off with a blockbuster as Labrador upset Maroochydore by 12 points at Maroochydore Multisports Complex on Saturday afternoon. Labrador had one less win than the home side heading into this clash, but a strong third term saw the visitors take a lead that they would end up holding for the remainder of the game. Labrador’s Pearce Hanley once again claimed best on ground honours, running riot through the midfield as he continues to show that age will not slow him down. For Maroochydore, Jacob Simpson fought hard all day to be his side’s best.

Redland-Victoria Point cruised their way to their third win for the year against Mt Gravatt on Saturday afternoon at Southside Toyota Oval. Redland-Victoria Point jumped to an early lead in the first quarter and then only extended their control from there, waltzing to a crucial win that keeps them well in the hunt for top spot on the ladder. Redland-Victoria Point full back Mitchell Stallard was named his side’s best after a dominant display in defence. Gavin Grose was Mt Gravatt’s best for the second week in a row.

Sherwood Districts have finally found their first win for the season, defeating bottom-placed Noosa by 22 points at Rococo Oval on Saturday afternoon. Noosa remain winless, but Sherwood Districts will be hoping this is the triumph that kick starts their season. For the winners, Joshua Coombes led the way with three goals up forward, but it was truly a team effort that delivered the win. For Noosa, Ryley Buntain was his side’s best for the second consecutive week.

A bag of seven goals from forward John Anthony has led Palm Beach Currumbin to an important win over Wilston Grange at Salk Oval on Saturday afternoon. Anthony’s bag of seven was inspiring and proved crucial to Palm Beach Currumbin securing their second win of the season, shooting them up the ladder. Anthony was his side’s best, but had plenty of help from teammate Matthew Gahan. For Wilston Grange, Isaac Corvo was a clear standout.

Broadbeach kept their unbeaten streak rolling with their fourth win of the year, defeating a brave Surfers Paradise side by 10 points at Subaru Oval on Sunday afternoon. A close game all day, Broadbeach kicked three final quarter goals to seal the game to hold off the upset. For the winners, Liam Nelson was the star, leading his side all day in a best afield display, while Alby Jones was the bright spark for Surfers Paradise.


TSL action resumed this weekend, as Clarence continued their hot streak, knocking off the Tigers at Kingston Twin Ovals on Saturday afternoon. The victors led all afternoon, and never looked like giving up the lead on their way to recording their third win of the season. For Clarence, Oliver Davis was best on ground for the second week in a row. For the Tigers, Blake McCulloch stood out through the backline to end the day as his side’s best.

North Hobart have recorded their first win for the 2021 season, kicking away in the last quarter to defeat Lauderdale by 18 points at Lauderdale Oval on Saturday afternoon. There was two points separating the sides heading into the last quarter, but North Hobart were too strong, kicking four final quarter goals on their way to a maiden win for the year. For the victors, Thomas Liefhebber was outstanding all day, while Jye Menzie kicked four goals. For Lauderdale, Alex Hevey never gave up and performed admirably.

Launceston continue to uphold their status as league powerhouse, demolishing Glenorchy by 148 points at Windsor Park on Saturday Oval. Launceston hit the 100-point mark by half time, and Glenorchy never stood a chance against this well-oiled machine. Launceston star forward Dylan Riley backed up his 10-goal haul last week with a nine-goal effort this round, putting emphasis on the importance of shutting him down. For Glenorchy, Nick Reibelt impressed despite the loss.

WAFL League weekly wrap: Round 5 – Falcons down Demons in game of the year

IN Round 5 of the Optus WAFL League competition, there was a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw South Fremantle (10.7.67) beat Swan Districts (7.5.47); Subiaco (10.15.90) defeat Peel Thunder (5.8.38); West Perth (13.12.90) overcome Perth (12.11.83); and Claremont (12.14.86) win against East Perth (8.4.52). East Fremantle was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below for the Round 5 results and to see the best players.

SOUTH FREMANTLE 10.7 (67) def. SWAN DISTRICTS 7.5 (47)

South Fremantle retained the John Todd Cup after beating Swan Districts by 20 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. The result sees the Bulldogs remain the only team who is still to be defeated in the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition.

Former Fremantle player Haiden Schloithe led the way for the Bulldogs with 27 possessions, six tackles, five inside 50s, three marks and two goals. Jake Florenca (26 possessions, five tackles), Chad Pearson (24 possessions, eight marks, four tackles), Zachary Strom (21 possessions, 14 hit-outs) and Dylan Main (21 possessions, seven marks, five tackles) were prominent for South Fremantle.

Up forward, Mason Shaw booted four goals from 11 possessions and nine marks. Steven Verrier, Brandon Donaldson, Jimmy Miller and Caleb Datson each kicked one goal.

Former AFL players Corey Gault (18 possessions, 36 hit-outs) and Matt Riggio (19 possessions, eight marks) led the way for the Swans. Jesse Turner (29 possessions, five marks), Samuel Fisher (27 possessions, four tackles), George Hampson (22 possessions, one goal) and Frank Anderson (17 possessions, one goal) won plenty of the football for Swan Districts.

Young gun Denver Grainger-Barras continued to show why he is a highly rated draft prospect with a sensational performance that saw him finish with 13 possessions and six marks.

PEEL THUNDER 5.8 (38) def. by SUBIACO 10.15 (75)

Subiaco returned to the winners’ list after defeating Peel Thunder by 37 points at David Grays Arena. Subiaco’s Captain Leigh Kitchin inspired the Lions to victory with 28 possessions, eight tackles, eight inside 50s and three marks.

He was well aided by reigning Sandover Medallist Lachlan Delahunty (18 possessions, 39 hit-outs), former Melbourne and Port Adelaide player Ben Newton (20 possessions, two goals) and budding star Max Walters (23 possessions, one goal).

Nicholas Martin proved to be a handful up forward, finishing with 15 possessions, eight marks and three goals. Tom Edwards-Baldwin, Jack Beverley, Greg Clark, and Lewis Upton each kicked one goal.

Former Essendon players Ben Howlett (14 possessions, 12 tackles) and Jackson Merrett (21 possessions, five marks) tried to inspire the Thunder. Blair Bell (16 possessions, one goal), James Ewing (18 possessions, seven marks), Brayden Lawler (11 possessions, 13 tackles), Brad McGowan (13 possessions, 23 hit-outs) and Jordan Boullineau (12 possessions, five tackles) were serviceable for the Thunder.

PERTH 12.11 (83) def. by WEST PERTH 13.12 (90)

West Perth handed Perth its first loss of 2020, after the Falcons overcame the Demons by seven points in a thrilling contest at Mineral Resources Park.

In his 100th game for West Perth, Tyler Keitel was pivotal for the Falcons with 13 possessions, six hit-outs, four marks, three tackles and six goals. Aaron Black (29 possessions, seven inside 50s), Luke Meadows (27 possessions, five inside 50s), Connor West (16 possessions, seven inside 50s, four tackles) and Noah Pegoraro (11 possessions, five marks) were all influential for the Falcons.

Andrew Fisher was named Perth’s best, after he finished with 22 possessions, 12 inside 50s and five tackles. He was well supported by Kieran Delahunty (12 possessions, 20 hit-outs, one goal), Chris Masten (22 possessions, four marks), Matthew Taylor (22 possessions, five marks), Brant Colledge (13 possessions, seven tackles, two goals) and Jack Richardson (12 possessions, three goals).

Rising star Logan McDonald continued to show why he is a highly rated draft prospect with another dazzling performance that saw him finish with 15 possessions, six marks and three goals.

EAST PERTH 8.4 (52) def. by CLAREMONT 12.14 (86)

Claremont secured its fourth victory of the season, after they defeated East Perth by 34 points at Leederville Oval.

Former West Coast rookie Callan England was instrumental for the Tigers with 21 possessions, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal. Kane Mitchell (20 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s), Declan Mountford (19 possessions, six tackles), Anton Hamp (17 possessions, 11 marks, three goals), Alec Waterman (11 possessions, three goals) were all influential for Claremont.

For the Royals, Rohan Kerr competed strongly, finishing with 20 possessions, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal. Former AFL players Jackson Ramsay (19 possessions, six tackles, five marks), and Nicholas Robertson (14 possessions, six tackles) competed hard for the Royals. Youngsters Kye Willcocks (19 possessions, four marks) and Matthew Young (11 possessions, two goals) showed promising signs for East Perth.

Picture: WAFL Twitter

WAFL League weekly wrap: Round 3 – Bulldogs remain top, Lions get on the board

IN Round 3 of the Optus WAFL League competition, there were a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw Subiaco (11.13.79) defeat Swan Districts (6.4.40), East Perth (15.9.99) beat East Fremantle (8.8.56), West Perth (20.11.131) win against Peel Thunder (5.9.39), and South Fremantle (7.6.48) win a thriller over Claremont (5.10.40).

Perth was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to see the results of round three and the best players.

>> WAFL Colts Round 3 Wrap

SWAN DISTRICTS (6.4.40) def. by SUBIACO (11.13.79)

Subiaco returned to the winners’ list with a solid 39-point victory over Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval.

Reigning Sandover Medallist Lachlan Delahunty led the way for the Lions with 24 possessions, 12 hit-outs, eight marks and six tackles.

Hayden Kennedy (22 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s), Greg Clark (19 possessions, seven tackles, five marks), Leigh Kitchin (17 possessions, four marks, four tackles), Ben Newton (19 possessions, five inside 50s, four marks, one goal) and Kyal Horsley (19 possessions, two goals) were excellent in the midfield.

Up forward, Ben Sokol (three goals) and Nicholas Martin (16 possessions, seven marks, two goals) were dynamic for the Lions.

For the Swans, Denver Grainger-Barras was brilliant with 10 possessions, four marks and four tackles.

Former Northern Blues midfielders Frank Anderson (23 possessions, three tackles) and Samuel Fisher (18 possessions, four marks) tried hard all day. Bunbury product Aidan Clarke (21 possessions, six marks) was also admirable for the Swans.

>> PLAYER FOCUS: Denver Grainger-Barras

EAST PERTH (15.9.99) def. EAST FREMANTLE (8.8.56)

East Perth secured its first victory of the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition with a solid 43-point victory over East Fremantle at Leederville Oval.

Former Collingwood player Jackson Ramsay (28 possessions, four marks, four inside 50s, three tackles) and former Brisbane player Nicholas Robertson (12 possessions, six marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, three goals) led the way for the Royals.

Young guns Shayne Hille (22 possessions, seven marks, one goal), Aidan Lynch (28 possessions, nine marks, four tackles, four inside 50s, one goal), Mitchell Dobson (13 possessions, one goal), Ajang Ajang (18 hit-outs), Matthew Young (18 possessions, three goals) and Jaxon Cahill (17 possessions, six marks) were all influential for the Royals.

For the Sharks, gun recruit Cody Leggett continued his good form with 21 possessions, five marks, five tackles, and four inside 50s.

Former AFL players Jordan Snadden (27 possessions, one goal), Cameron Eardley (20 possessions), Blaine Boekhorst (25 possessions, nine marks, seven inside 50s) and Luke Strnadica (three goals) competed hard for the Sharks.

PEEL THUNDER (5.9.39) def. by WEST PERTH (20.11.131)

West Perth returned to the winners’ list after a resounding 92-point victory over Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena.

Reigning West Perth Best and Fairest winner Tyler Keitel was imposing for the Falcons with 16 possessions, seven hit-outs, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s and five goals.

Luke Meadows (27 possessions, six marks, six tackles, four inside 50s, two goals), Connor West (24 possessions, five tackles), and Shane Nelson (30 possessions, one goal) were all pivotal for the Falcons.

Former Essendon player Jackson Merrett was name Peel’s best player, as he finished with 31 possessions and 11 marks.

Blair Bell (19 possessions, six marks, two goals), Ben Howlett (18 possessions, seven tackles, six marks, three inside 50s) and Jordan Boullineau (11 possessions, three marks) were named as Peel’s best players.

SOUTH FREMANTLE (7.6.48) def. CLAREMONT (5.10.40)

South Fremantle remains undefeated in the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition after a thrilling eight-point victory over Claremont at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Jacob Dragovich was inspirational for the Bulldogs with 25 possessions, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three marks.

Jake Florenca (21 possessions, six tackles, one goal), Nicholas Suban (22 possessions, five tackles), Zachary Strom (21 possessions, seven marks), Ben Rioli (16 possessions) and Chad Pearson (16 possessions) were significant for the Bulldogs.

Former North Melbourne midfielder Declan Mountford was Claremont’s best with 30 possessions, six tackles and six inside 50s.

Jack Lewsey (27 possessions, seven marks), Jye Bolton (24 possessions), Kane Mitchell (20 possessions, six tackles) and Alec Waterman (20 possessions, nine marks, eight inside 50s, one goal) competed solidly for the Tigers.

Picture: WAFL Twitter

2020 WAFL Club Preview: Peel Thunder

PEEL Thunder will be hoping to avoid a return to the dark days when football returns this season, after enduring possibly the most tumultuous preseason of any West Australian Football League (WAFL) club. Due to the AFL’s COVID-19 directives, the Thunder have lost access to all Fremantle listed players for the 2020 season in what will be a true test of the club’s depth. With the exception of former Essendon midfielder Ben Howlett’s best and fairest triumph in 2018, Peel has not had a non-Fremantle player win either its best and fairest or leading goal kicker awards since 2012, when the club finished last.

On top of that, Peel will also be without former captain Gerald Ugle, one of the club’s most consistent performers over the course of the past few seasons. To help cover their losses, the Thunder have secured the return of premiership key defender Josh Bootsma from country football, and will have full-time use of Hayden Ballantyne’s services following his AFL retirement.

Peel will have to rely on its depth to cover for the losses and take the next step from a finals contender to a consistent finals threat. Last season’s bottom place Reserves finish will be a little concerning, but a Grand Final appearance for the Colts in 2019 gives hope that the youth of the club can contribute immediately.

Colts graduates Tyrone Thorne and Ryan Bennell were both part of last year’s State Under 18s squad and were given games in the senior team last season. Look for them to receive extensive opportunities as the club re-builds. Jackson Knight could also be a seniors candidate after a strong season in the Colts last year while Ben Middleton finished the campaign with 26 goals in his final eight Colts games and snagged four in his Reserves debut as a tall forward. If the young talent can be guided by captain Ben Howlett and experienced campaigners in Ballantyne, Blair Bell and Jackson Merrett, perhaps this season could turn into a positive one.

It’s hard to get a read on where the team is at without a preseason match against another club. Instead, the Thunder’s Round 1 match against Perth will provide the first look at this fresh outfit. The primary concern from the outside is the lack of experienced key position players, roles recently covered by Dockers players such as Griffin Logue, Brennan Cox, Lloyd Meek and Hugh Dixon. Instead, the local talent will finally get a chance to shine outside of the Fremantle shadow.

Due to the loss of players, Peel will not be fielding a Reserves side in this year’s competition, raising questions about how much quality competition those hanging on the fringes of the side will face. The Colts side will be looking to continue its form that saw a Grand Final appearance in 2019. The Thunder will have three players included in this year’s NAB AFL Academy in Tyler Nesbitt, Luke Polson and Isiah Winder.

Stability could be an issue for the side with potential senior opportunities available throughout the year. Early signs have been positive though with a 22-point win over Swan Districts in their only practice match and the Thunder will be hoping that their Colts can again be the club’s shining light.

Picture: Aaron Kirby/Coastal Times