Tag: brady grey

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.

Victoria:

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.

Queensland:

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.

Tasmania:

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.

Victoria:

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.

Queensland:

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.

Tasmania:

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.

State Leagues Wrap: Teams rising after three rounds of action

THE 2021 season resumed around the national leagues on the weekend with plenty of blowouts and close contests. With three rounds of football in the bank, the contenders are starting to separate themselves from the pretenders.

South Australia

In the SANFL, North Adelaide claimed the biggest winning margin of the round as they defeated Norwood 16.15 (111) to 2.7 (19). North Adelaide forward Lewis Hender led the way for his side with six majors from 14 disposals and seven marks, constantly getting the better of his opponents, and tripling the number of goals scored by the opposition side. Teammate Mitchell Harvey chimed in with three goals of his own, while Lee Minervini added a couple of goals to the tally as well. Nick Pedro and Declan Hamilton fought hard for Norwood despite the disappointing deficit.

An inaccurate Sturt side was able to secure its first win of the year, taking down West Adelaide 12.21 (93) to 6.7 (43) on Saturday afternoon. With 20 more scoring shots than their opponents, the margin could have been a lot bigger had Sturt converted more of its shots on goal. Casey Voss (32 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and James Battersby (33 disposals and eight clearances) found plenty of the ball for the winners while Joshua Patullo kicked a game-high three goals. Tom Lewis could have had a day out, but much like his side, his inaccuracy prevented this. He finished with 20 touches, 10 tackles and 0.5 on the scoreboard. For West Adelaide, Kaine Stevens fought his way to 25 disposals while Isaac Johnson kicked a couple of goals.

Glenelg did not let wayward goalkicking hinder its performance too much, defeating Central District 10.16 (76) to 5.12 (42). Forward Lachie Hosie kicked 3.3 in a typically dangerous performance while ruckman Jack Hannath performed strongly on his way to 16 disposals, six marks and 31 hitouts. For Central District, Ethan East and Justin Hoskin kicked two goals apiece while Harry Grant (25 touches and seven marks) performed admirably through the midfield.

South Adelaide’s strong final quarter helped them get over the line to remain undefeated after three rounds. The 12.9 (81) to 10.12 (72) win over Port Adelaide keeps them at the top of the ladder while Port slip to 1-2 for the season. Former AFL duo Bryce Gibbs (25 disposals and a goal) and Matthew Broadbent (28 disposals) led by example, hurting the opposition with their ability to consistently find the footy, while Liam Fitt and Sam Skinner both kicked three goals for the winning side. Port Adelaide skipper Cam Sutcliffe was as inspirational as ever with 29 disposals and three goals, while Tom Rockliff had 41 touches.

Woodville-West Torrens bounced back from last week’s loss in perfect fashion as they belted Adelaide 24.11 (155) to 11.6 (72). It was a clinical performance from a side that had no passengers. Tyson Stengle and Zane Williams each booted four goals, while ruckman Jack Hayes (33 disposals, ten marks and three goals) and Riley Knight (34 disposals, two goals and 10 clearances) were strong through the midfield. Adelaide ruckman Kieran Strachan had 51 hitouts and was a standout in a disappointing side.

Tasmania

In the TSL, Glenorchy broke away from a brave Lauderdale side in the second half, as they ran away with the win 10.7 (67) to 5.11 (41) at KGV Oval. Glenorchy forward Callen Daly kicked four crucial goals for the victors while midfielder John Geard delivered a best on ground performance in the win. For Lauderdale, full-back Oscar Shaw was influential, keeping his opponent to one goal, while Billy Rolfe kicked two goals from the midfield.

Blundstone Arena hosted its first match since 2019, as home side Clarence held off a comeback from North Launceston to walk away winners 12.1 (73) to 9.8 (62). Clarence kicked remarkably straight as they thrived being back on their home deck for the first time in nearly two years. Oliver Preshaw backed up last week’s three goals with four this week in an impressive display. Baxter Norton and Jack Preshaw were influential through the midfield for all four quarters. For North Launceston, Jack Rushton was excellent in a losing side while Bradley Cox-Goodyer had another three-goal performance.

In the final game of the round, reigning premiers Launceston put the Tigers to the sword in a convincing win of 17.9 (111) to 5.12 (42). Jake Hinds had a best on ground performance through the midfield, kicking three goals while winning plenty of clearances, while Jay Blackberry also kicked three goal while finding a lot of the ball. Up forward Dylan Riley kicked four goals, while Alec Wright was excellent down back. For the Tigers, Micah Reynolds impressed in the backline while Tom Wright kicked two goals.

Queensland

Up in the north of the country, the grounds saw plenty of football action. Palm Beach Currumbin got the job done against Noosa, winning 14.11 (95) to 10.8 (68). Palm Beach defender Matthew Gahan was his side’s best on the day, while Mitchell Johnson kicked four goals for the winners. At the time of publication, Noosa’s stats had not been released.

In a high scoring affair, Labrador did enough to get the win against Redland-Victoria Point, defeating their opponents 16.12 (108) to 12.15 (87). Kicking 6.6 in the first quarter, Labrador set up their win early and never gave the opposition a sniff. Matthew Warren backed up last week’s strong performance with a best on ground effort this week for Labrador. For the visitors, Blair Rubock kicked four goals while ruckman Andy Hollis was his team’s best again this week.

An impressive final quarter from Maroochydore saw them take down Mt Gravatt at home 11.19 (85) to 9.10 (64) as they remain on top of the ladder after the third round of action. Just a four-point game at three quarter time, the home side kicked the final two goals of the game to seal the win. Daniel Fleming and Benjamin Sloan were strong for the victors while Jake Warren was influential up forward, kicking two goals. For Mt Gravatt, Jonah Licht’s four goal haul kept his side in the game and backman Gavin Grose marshalled the troops in defence all day.

Broadbeach were simply too good for Morningside as they turned a two-goal deficit at quarter time into a 13.8 (86) to 4.9 (33) win. The next three quarters saw Broadbeach kick 13 goals to two in what ended up being a one sided affair. Broadbeach wingman Bradley Lowe kicked four goals in a best afield performance while Liam Nelson had another strong performance. For Morningside, ruckman Bradley Hodge battled hard all game.

A clinical performance from Surfers Paradise resulted in a nice percentage boost as they defeated Sherwood Districts 19.14 (128) to 5.10 (40). On top from the opening quarter, Surfers Paradise were unable to be stopped as they kicked their way to the top four. For the winners, Nicholas Hay was once again one of his side’s best performers from centre half back, while up forward Daniel Van De Werken was strong with four goals. For Sherwood Districts, Jack Austin put his all into bringing his side back into the contest.

Western Australia

Over in the west, round three of the 2021 season saw plenty of great football action around the state, starting at New Choice Homes Park, where East Fremantle got the handy win over East Perth 13.10 (88) to 9.9 (63). East Fremantle kicked eight goals in the third term to essentially put the game to bed, and a late East Perth fightback couldn’t get them over the line. Hugh Dixon kicked two for the winning side and was named his team’s best performer. He had plenty of help in teammate Milan Murdock who had 27 disposals and eight marks. Matthew Young fought admirably in a losing side.

Moving to Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont hosted Perth, and used the home ground to their advantage as they snagged the 16.14 (110) to 12.6 (78) win. Six goals to two in the third term separated the two sides as Claremont’s victory ended up more comfortable than first thought. Jye Bolton’s 33 disposals and eight marks were impressive for the victors, while teammate Harrison Mccracken kicked four goals up forward. For Perth, Brady Grey (31 disposals and seven tackles) can hold his head high despite the result on the scoreboard.

Peel Thunder fell short of a miraculous comeback, defeated by an impressive South Fremantle 11.11 (77) to 14.11 (95). A six goal to two final quarter gave Peel Thunder some hope, but time ultimately beat them. South Fremantle’s Haiden Schloithe was a clear best on ground, kicking three goals to go with his 33 disposals in a dominant display. Playing for Peel Thunder, Connor Blakely will be close to an AFL recall for Fremantle after a 25-disposal performance on Saturday.

Swan Districts proved too good for West Coast, who simply couldn’t get their hands on the ball with 74 less disposals. The Districts dominated play and ran out winners 13.16 (94) to 8.7 (55). Swan Districts’ Matt Riggio was a force with 32 disposals, 15 marks, nine inside 50’s and a goal to clearly find himself best on. Jesse Palmer kicked 4.4 and was looking dangerously close to a day out. For West Coast, AFL listed Brayden Ainsworth’s 32 disposals should keep him in contention for selection at the next level.

The final game of the round delivered an absolute thriller, with Subiaco dragging themselves over the line against West Perth to win 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91). In the closest game this weekend, West Perth kicked five final quarter goals, but just couldn’t make the last step to snatch the win. Subiaco’s Gregory Clark was immense with 37 disposals, eight tackles and a goal to lead his side to the narrowest of victories. Ben Sokol and Jordan Faraone each walked away with a bag of four. For West Perth, Tyler Keitel’s four goals nearly proved to be the match winner.

State Leagues wrap: Contenders appear after two rounds

STATE League football continued across the country on the weekend, with plenty of teams recording back-to-back wins, while others look for improvement across the board following a disappointing first week. We take a look at the action in the QAFL, SANFL, TSL and WAFL across Round 2.

QUEENSLAND:

By: Peter Williams

A couple of massive wins to sides – including a triple-figure thumping – saw plenty of goals kicked in what was effectively a very one-side round in the QAFL. Aside from one 14-point differential, the other four games were between 32 and 100 points. The largest of them all was Maroochydore’s 25.18 (168) to 10.8 (68) shellacking of Wilston Grange. The Gorillas were coming off a first round one-point win over newcomers Noosa Tigers, but ran into an unstoppable force in the Roos.

Maroochydore piled on a whopping 12.12 to 3.1 by half-time, and booted six goals in each of the first three quarters, and seven in the final term for 43 scoring shots to 18. After narrowly missing out on the leading goalkicker award last year, Maroochydore’s Mitchell Scholard wasted no time getting some runs on the board with 11 majors, kicking more goals than the entire opposition side. Lochie Laing booted four snags, while Lachlan Robinson and Josh Govan were also impressive for the winners. Hugh Fidler managed three majors for Wilston Grange, while Harry Wilson and Mitchell Crawley were steadfast in defeat.

League newcomers Redland-Victoria Park also wasted no time asserting themselves on the competition with a high-scoring 58-point win over 2019 QAFL premiers Surfers Paradise. In the combined highest scoring match of Round 2, the Sharks won 24.10 (154) to 15.6 (96). Twenty two players hit the scoreboard in the match, with Josh Brown and Harrison Kerr snagging four goals apiece for the winners, while Thompson Smith‘s three majors were the most of any player on the losing side. Matthew Walters (Redland-Victoria Point) and Jack Prestegar (Surfers Paradise) were named the top players for their respective sides.

Reigning premiers Morningside also kicked off their season in style with a 43-point triumph over Palm Beach Currumbin. Rising star talent Nathan Colenso slotted five majors in the win, with Sam Godfrey (one) and Liam Dwyer (two) also among the best for the Panthers. Nick Crowley and Frazer Eaton both kicked a couple of goals for the Lions, as Corey Joyce was named best-on for the home side.

The result sets up a tantalising grand final rematch next week after Connor Nutting (five goals) and Jordan Moncrieff (four) put Labrador to the sword during Broadbeach’s 15.7 (97) to 9.11 (65) win. Trailing by 10 points at quarter time, the Cats piled on 13 goals to six in the final three quarters to get the win, with Tyrone Armitage and Ryan Gilmore both impressive. Shaydan Close and Blair Rubock both kicked three goals for the Tigers, while Andy Hollis was named the best in a losing side.

In the tightest game of the round, Mt Gravatt held on to run out the stronger side against Sherwood Districts, defeating the Magpies, 12.12 (84) to 9.16 (70). Trailing by a goal at half-time, and then leading by only four points at the final break, the Vultures booted 4.3 to 2.5 in the final term to secure the win. Jonah Licht nailed half a dozen goals in the victory, while Craig Malone and Gavin Grose were among the Vultures’ best. For Sherwood, Kobe Tozer made a successful return from injury the last couple of years to slot three goals for the Magpies, as Luca Winton and Riley Easton were also among the losing team’s top players.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

By: Liam Badkin

At Alberton Oval, Port Adelaide pulled off a miraculous comeback against the Bulldogs, kicking 4.6 to 0.0 in the last quarter to run out 17-point victors. Boyd Woodcock led his side with 23 disposals and a goal, while Jarrod Lienert had 23 touches of his own but missed both of his opportunities to put his name in the goalkickers column. Luke Surman kicked 3.2 and led the come from behind victory. Kyle Presbury was the best for the Bulldogs, racking up 36 disposals and nine marks, while Ethan East was dangerous around goal, kicking three.

At Prospect Oval, the North Adelaide Roosters fell to a second quarter surge courtesy of the South Adelaide Panthers, who kicked seven goals to one in the second term, to put the game out of reach. The Roosters battled hard in the second half, but the comeback couldn’t be completed as they were defeated by 11 points. South Adelaide’s Joseph Haines found plenty of the ball, accumulating 28 disposals, while midfielders Joel Cross and Bryce Gibbs combined for 11 clearances. Liam Fitt, Damon Frietag and Eamon Wilkinson kicked two goals each. For the Roosters, Harrison Wigg had 29 disposals, while Jarred Allmond impressed with 27 touches and a goal. William Combe kicked two goals while an inaccurate Aaron Young kicked 1.4 for the day.

Moving to Unley Oval, the Redlegs backed up last week’s win with another, beating Sturt by 21 points in a solid outing. Sturt trailed all game, and while the margin was only four points at half time, the Redlegs did enough to keep their opponents at bay and leave the ground 2-0 after two games. Matthew Nunn and Nikolaus Rokahr finished with 24 disposals each, while Michael Knoll was the main extractor from stoppages, finishing with nine clearances. Dom Barry and Tom Wagner slotted two goals apiece. For Sturt, James Battersby won a game high 25 disposals and was able to hit the scoreboard with a goal in a solid performance, while Ashley Johnson kicked two goals to try and bring his side back into the contest.

Across at ACH Group Stadium, the Glenelg Tigers proved too good for the Woodville West Torrens Eagles, winning by a comfortable 29 points. Inaccurate to start the game, the Eagles punished their opponents, who were left ruing their missed opportunities. A second half told a different tale as the Tigers kicked 11 goals to three and would be pleased with their turnaround. Tigers midfielder Matthew Snook was unstoppable in the midfield, finishing with 24 disposals, 12 tackles, 10 clearances and a goal, setting the tone for his teammates. Luke Partington (32 disposals) and Brett Turner (26 disposals and 10 clearances) both found themselves with the ball plenty of times, while Luke Reynolds and Lachie Hosie chimed in three goals each. For the Eagles, Daniel Menzel (three goals) and Dane McFarlane (25 disposals) fought hard.

Hisense Stadium was home to a classic on Saturday afternoon, as the Adelaide Crows scraped past the North Adelaide Bloods by six points in a thriller. With the game tied at three quarter time, both sides were inaccurate, kicking three behinds each, but a James Matthews goal in time on proved to be the match winner. For the Crows, skipper Matthew Wright found plenty of the ball, disposing of it 27 times and combined well with ruckman Kieran Strachan who displayed dominance in the air. Luke Pedlar kicked three goals, all of which proved to be handy. For the Bloods, former Hawthorn player Kieran Lovell dominated through the midfield with 39 disposals and six clearances, while Logan Hill continued to find the ball with 27 touches.

TASMANIA:

By: Liam Badkin

Saturday’s Tasmanian football action saw some big wins across the grounds. Clarence bounced back from last week’s loss to Lauderdale by defeating Glenorchy by 32 points at KGV oval. Coming off the bye last week, Glenorchy found themselves trailing by four goals at the main break. A third quarter fightback saw scores level heading into the final term, but Clarence kicked five goals to none in the last quarter to walk away with their first win of the year. There were a plethora of goal kickers for the victors. Former Brisbane Lions and Essendon player Josh Green and Oliver Preshaw kicked three goals each, while Jacques Barwick chimed in with two. Onballer Baxter Norton was judged best afield for his work through the midfield, while playing coach and former Richmond Tiger Jeromey Webberley was also amongst the best. For Glenorchy, Ben Karamic booted a game high five goals to be his side’s best performer and start his season off in style.

Moving to Kingston’s Twin Ovals, the Tigers took down Lauderdale by 29 points in a convincing win. The Tigers started the game in style, kicking 5.0 to Lauderdale’s 3.1, and the lead only continued to grow. Lauderdale struggled to contain the Tigers, particularly in the second term, and it didn’t help that the Tigers didn’t miss a shot on goal until the third term. For the Tigers, Tyler Carter kicked three goals, while Sam Duigan, Elijah Reardon, Marcus Gardner and Max Collidge all kicked two each, and midfielder Lachlan Clifford was judged best afield. For Lauderdale, Josh Mcguinness kicked four goals and was his side’s best, while Will Poland also impressed in his first game of the year.

In the north of the state, North Launceston bounced back from last week’s disappointing defeat to crush North Hobart by 113 points at UTAS Stadium. Last year’s runners up dominated all day, not allowing their opponents from the south any room to score, while piling on the goals themselves. For the winners, there were 10 individual goal kickers, led by Thomas Bennett’s four goals and Brad Cox-Goodyer’s three. Daniel Withers kicked two of his own and was his side’s best performer. For the Demons, Jack Mcculloch was the lone goal scorer for his side, while Callum Kilpatrick tried all day.

Launceston had the bye.

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

By: Peter Williams

Subiaco has set the bar high in the early stages of the WAFL season, with an impressive 33-point win over fellow Round 1 winners, East Fremantle. The teams were evenly matched to three quarter time with the Lions leading by just two points, before running away with it in the final term thanks to 5.8 to 1.1 in order to post a 12.14 (86) to 8.5 (53) victory over the Sharks. Leigh Kitchin had a day out with a match-high 28 touches, as well as 10 tackles and six inside 50s, working hard alongside Gregory Clark (21 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles, one goal). Ryan Borchet (three goals) and Harrison Marsh (two) were both prominent in the win. For the Sharks, ball magnet Josh Schoenfeld racked up 27 touches and 10 tackles to go with his 40-plus disposals from last week, while Luke Strnadica dominated the ruck with 48 hitouts and a goal to accompany 23 disposals, five marks and four tackles.

Claremont is hot on Subiaco’s tail after Round 2, accounting for another Round 1 winner in South Fremantle on Saturday. The Tigers won 17.6 (108) to 13.14 (92) in the game of the round. Lachlan Martinis and Jye Bolton combined for 63 disposals and nine tackles, while Jake Patmore (26 disposals, four marks) and Kane Mitchell (25 disposals, eight marks and three goals) were also prominent. Top draft-eligible tall Jacob Van Rooyen had a quieter day out compared to Round 1, managing the seven touches and three marks. Dylan Main (26 disposals, four marks and three tackles) and Haiden Schloithe (24 disposals, five tackles, five inside 50s and a goal) were the most prominent players for the Bulldogs.

After suffering a Round 1 defeat, Peel Thunder completely dismantled East Perth with a 15 goals to three second half, to run away with the 24.10 (154) to 7.7 (49) victory. The Thunder were far too strong in posting the 105-point shellacking, as a combination of past and present AFL talents took control. Fremantle duo, Taylin Duman (30 disposals nine marks and three inside 50s) and Connor Blakely (26 disposals, seven marks and two inside 50s) were both impressive, while ex-Eagle Will Schofield (26 disposals, seven marks, 16 hitouts and a goal) and ex-Bomber Jackson Merrett (25 disposals, seven marks) all stood out. For the Royals, Angus Scott had a day out with 34 touches, four marks, three tackles and six inside 50s, while Jackson Ramsay did all he could in the loss with 28 disposals, 10 tackles and six inside 50s.

West Perth bounced back from a Round 1 loss to easily account for a disappointing West Coast side, piling on nine and 10 goals in the respective first and second halves, as the Eagles only managed the three apiece in those halves. The Falcons dominated possession with four players picking up 30-plus disposals, and only one player having single-digit disposals on their way to a team total of 457 disposals. Aaron Black had a lazy 43 disposals, nine marks and six inside 50s in his 200th WAFL game, joined in the 40-plus club by Trent Manzone (40 disposals, seven marks). Shane Nelson (31 disposals, five marks) and Connor West (30 disposals, six marks) were also massive ball winners, whilst up forward, Tyler Keitel was unstoppable thanks to six goals from 17 touches and nine marks, while Mitchell Antonio snagged four goals from 25 touches and a whopping 15 marks. The Eagles had a couple of players pushing for a recall with Brayden Ainsworth (36 disposals, 10 marks and three inside 50s) the clear best, while Alex Witherden managed the 26 touches, six marks, four tackles and two inside 50s.

In the only game of the round where a Round 1 loser defeated a Round 1 winner, Swan Districts got on the board with a 50-point victory over Perth. While the Bombers kicked 3.6 in the final term to reduce the deficit, the damage was already done in the first three quarters, when the Swans booted 11 goals to three. Ball magnet Sam Fisher had a lazy 41 touches with seven marks, six tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal, teaming up well with fellow ex-Carlton VFL midfielder Frank Anderson (31 disposals, five marks, six tackles and five inside 50s). Nelson Waite (29 disposals, five marks and four tackles) and Aidan Clarke (28 disposals, 14 marks and four inside 50s) were also strong, as Matt Riggio (20 disposals, six tackles, five inside 50s and four goals) was a dominant goalkicker alongside Jesse Palmer (11 disposals, three marks and four goals). For Perth, Chris Masten had the 29 disposals and six marks, while Brady Grey (28 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and eight inside 50s) and Brent Edmonds (25 disposals, eight marks, five inside 50s and a goal) were also consistent despite the loss.

Picture credit: WAFL

State Leagues wrap: Easter Weekend opens seasons

STATE league men’s football returned across the weekend, with the SANFL, WAFL and TSL all back to full-strength competitions, whilst a standalone fixture in the QAFL went ahead despite some concerns, ahead of a blockbuster Round 2 next weekend.

QUEENSLAND:

Noosa Tigers had a promising return to the QAFL in the standalone Round 1 match despite going down in defeat, as Wilston Grange got up by one-point in a thriller. The league newcomers fought it out after being down by 14 points at the final break to boot 7.3 to 4.8 in the final term after a sluggish start, but it would not be enough in the 7.14 (56) to 8.7 (55) loss. Hugh Fidler and Max Hewett both booted two goals for the Gorillas, while Aaron Wilson starred with four majors for the Tigers. Corey Lobb (Noosa) ad Errin Wasley-Black (Wilston Grange) were their respective sides’ top players.

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA:

In the SANFL, all eyes were on Pick 1 contender Jason Horne, as he ran out for South Adelaide against the Crows’ reserves. The teenage talent racked up 19 disposals, six marks, four tackles and four clearances in the win, whilst it was ex-Crow Bryce Gibbs who stole the show with a match-winning 36 disposals, six marks and five clearances. Ex-Lion Sam Skinner had 17 disposals and booted two goals in the win, whilst Liam Fitt (four goals) was the busiest inside 50. Joel Cross (28 disposals, seven marks) and Hayden Sampson (25 disposals, 12 marks and one goal) were other to win plenty of the football in a massive 61-point smashing, while Crows’ reserves talent Hamish Latchford stepped up with 31 disposals, 12 marks and two clearances. Jackson Hately (25 disposals, 10 marks and two clearances) was the eye-catching one, as young talls Josh Worrell (20 disposals, five marks), Darcy Fogarty (14 disposals, three marks) and Fischer McAsey (14 disposals, six marks) also played.

It was not much better news for Port Adelaide’s reserves who also went down, losing to Norwood by 45 points. Father-son prospect Taj Schofield racked up 22 disposals, three marks and booted a goal, while Sam Mayes (28 disposals, seven clearances) and Jarrod Lienert (26 disposals, seven tackles) also worked hard. Matthew Nunn was unstoppable for the Redlegs with 39 disposals, five marks, 11 tackles and five clearances, whilst ex-Crow recruit Richard Douglas did as he pleased with 26 disposals, five marks, seven tackles, four clearances and a goal. Ex-Cat Jacob Kennerley also impressed with 24 disposals, five marks and six tackles, whilst ex-Hawk Paul Puopolo booted 2.3 from 19 disposals and three marks. Draft hopeful Jackson Callow booted 2.2 from 11 disposals and five marks on his SANFL debut, working well with Dom Barry (21 disposals, five marks and three goals) inside 50.

In the tightest game of the weekend, Central District toppled North Adelaide by nine points, in what saw 20 goals kicked in the first half. Whilst only nine more were kicked in the second half, the Bulldogs got up thanks to four goals from Justin Hoskin and Aiden Grace. Ethan East also slotted two goals, while ex-Oakleigh premiership player Thomas Graham kicked a goal from eight touches and two marks on his League debut. Ex-GWS GIANTS Academy member Harry Grant was also lively with 25 disposals, seven marks and six clearances, as Kyle Presbury (26 disposals, 13 marks), Brendan Dew (24 disposals, six marks) and Travis Schiller (24 disposals, six marks) were among eight players to reach 20-plus disposals. For North Adelaide, reigning Margarey Medallist Campbell Combe had 26 disposals, eight clearances and five tackles, while Jarred Allmond (31 disposals, six marks) and Aaron Young (15 disposals, four goals) were also impressive.

Woodville-West Torrens Eagles easily accounted for Sturt thanks to a massive seven goals to one final term to run away with the contest by 46 points in the end. The Menzel brothers booted seven goals between them, as Troy (four goals) and Daniel (three) had days out in their new colours. James Tsitas (29 disposals, three clearances and four tackles) and Riley Knight (26 disposals, seven clearances, six tackles and a goal) were both lively, as was ex-Bomber Kobe Mutch on debut with 21 disposals and nine marks. For Sturt, Tom Lewis was hard as usual around the stoppages on his way to 19 disposals and eight clearances, teaming up well with James Battersby (21 disposals, five clearances), while Casey Voss (20 disposals, six marks) and Josh Shute (17 disposals, 10 marks) were busy once again on the outside.

In the final game, Glenelg knocked off West Adelaide by 11 points, with Michael Virgin (32 disposals, 11 marks) and Luke Partington (31 disposals, five clearances) both racking up the ball. Matthew Allen (28 disposals, 11 marks and a goal) and Darcy Bailey (28 disposals, seven marks, six clearances, six tackles and two goals) were sensational, while Callum Park (26 disposals, six marks) and Matthew Snook (29 disposals, eight clearances) also found plenty of it. In the loss, Isaac Johnson slotted 3.3 from 23 touches and five marks, while Kieran Lovell‘s SANFL debut was a success with 22 disposals, five marks, four clearances and four tackles. Ex-Gold Coast Academy goalsneak Josh Gore kicked a goal from nine touches and impressively made 10 tackles in the loss, while Jonathon Beech was also good with two goals from 13 disposals and seven marks.

 

TASMANIA:

Reigning premiers Launceston kicked off its season with a big win over rivals North Launceston in a grand final rematch, defeating the Northern Bombers by 55 points at UTAS Stadium. Dylan Riley (three goals) and Jake Hinds (two) stepped up to the plate once again in the big win, as Michael Musicka and Cody Thorp slotted multiple goals as well. For the Bombers, Brad Cox-Goodyer was the standout, as Ollie Sanders kicked a goal and was amongst the best for the losers, one of a number of youngsters running through the team, while Thomas Bennett was also impressive.

Meanwhile the Tigers got off to the perfect start, holding their nerve against North Hobart in an 11-point victory. They led by 35 points at half-time, and whilst they still kicked the 13 scoring shots in the second half, only managed the 4.9, compared to the Demons’ 9.3. The Kingborough-based side had done enough though to win 10.18 (78) to 10.7 (67), with 19-year-old Zach Adams booting a goal and named best on ground. Max Collidge and Riley Ashlin were also impressive, whilst for the Demons, Jack Sandric was best-on with a goal, while Jye Menzie was among the young brigade who slotted a major.

In the other match of Round 1, Lauderdale also held on against a fast-finishing Clarence. Allen Christensen was the headline recruit, booting three first half goals to do all the damage as the Bombers led by 29 points at the final break. They only managed one behind in the last term as the Roos stormed home with 3.5 of their own, only to fall seven points short. Aside from Christensen, reigning league best and fairest Sam Siggins was named among the best with Nat Franklin. For the Roos, Ollie Davis continued his form from his draft year with a best on ground effort, as Ethan Jackson and Darcy Gardner were other youngsters to step up, while Josh Green slotted four goals in the loss.

 

WESTERN AUSTRALIA:

The WAFL kicked off its season with some high-scoring thrillers, as every winner hit triple-digits, including a whopping 242 points combined between Claremont and Swan Districts. Every team scored at least 74 points, with the greatest margin being 32, during East Fremantle’s victory over Peel Thunder. In that match, Josh Schoenfeld brought his own football to Western Australia, with ex-Gold Coast Sun racking up 41 disposals, nine marks, four tackles, three inside 50s and four rebounds in a whopping effort on debut for the Sharks. Ex-Blue Blaine Boekhorst had 26 touches, two marks and kicked a goal in the win, whilst ex-Saint and Pie Jonothan Marsh had 21 disposals, five marks, four inside 50s and 2.1. It was the effort of Dillon O’Reilly looking to force his way back to the elite level with three goals from 14 touches, five marks and two tackles. For Peel, it was Sam Sturt who demanded a recall to the AFL with five goals from 12 disposals and four marks, while Joel Western had 13 touches, four marks and kicked a goal.

In other matches, East Perth’s Nick Robertson made a promising debut with 30 disposals, four marks and a goal returning from Brisbane, while another ex-AFL talent in Jackson Ramsay had 29 touches, five marks, seven inside 50s and a goal in a huge day out. Lachlan Delahunty racked up 23 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s and three tackles for the winning side, as captain Leigh Kitchell drove the team through a massive 29 touches, 11 inside 50s and five tackles. Ben Sokol, Michael Braut and Aaron Heal all slotted three goals. Perth got past West Coast reserves in a 13-point outing despite nine goals between Isiah Winder and Nathan Vardy. Winder had five snags from 18 touches and five marks, while Vardy had a whopping 35 hitouts, 15 disposals and three marks to go with 4.1. Ex-Eagle Chris Masten racked it up against his old side with 29 touches, five marks and seven inside 50s, whilst ex-Saint Doulton Langlands (20 touches, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals), ex-Docker Brady Gray (27 disposals, eight marks and six inside 50s) and ex-Pie Josh Smith (23 disposals, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal) all had big performances.

Meanwhile South Fremantle accounted for West Perth with Haiden Schloithe and Matt Parker having days out. Schloithe racked up his usual 30 touches, and had seven tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Parker had 26 touches, two marks five tackles and 11 inside 50s. Brandon Donaldson booted two goals from 25 touches and three marks in the win, whilst four West Perth players racked up 30-plus disposals. Aaron Black (36 disposals), Trent Manzone (35), Shane Nelson (34) and Blake Wilhelm (30) had leather poisoning with their ball-winning efforts, but it would not be enough to drag their sides across the line. Tyler Keitel and Keegan Knott both slotted four goals, whilst Cody Ninyette and Mason Shaw combined for nine majors in the win. Finally Claremont won by 24 points over Swan Districts in a 38-goal extravaganza. Alexander Manuel and Isaac Barton booted four and three goals apiece for the Tigers in the win, but it was top-age draft talent Jacob Van Rooyen who caught the eye with 12 disposals, four marks and 2.2 at senior level. Thomas Edwards (four goals) and Jesse Palmer (three) were both lively inside 50 for the Swans, whilst Sam Fisher (33 disposals, seven tackles, five inside 50s and three rebound 50s) and Jesse Turner (34 disposals, 11 marks, four inside 50s and four rebound 50s) were the best in the loss. Jye Bolton suffered leather poisoning with a massive 39 touches, six marks, five tackles, six inside 50s and a goal, marginally ahead of teammates Bailey Rogers (36 disposals, one goal) and Ryan Lim (34 disposals, one goal).

 

Picture credit: David Mariuz / SANFL

2020 WAFL League Weekly Wrap: Finals Week 1

IN the first week of the Optus WAFL League Finals Series, Claremont advanced through to the Grand Final after defeating South Fremantle by 47 points, while West Perth knocked Perth out of the finals race after beating the Demons by 11 points.

Read below to catch up on all the results, and see who stood out in Week One of the Optus WAFL League Finals Series.

South Fremantle 3.6 (24) def. by Claremont 10.11 (71)

Claremont has advanced through to its first WAFL League Grand Final since 2012, after defeating South Fremantle by 47 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Former West Coast player Alec Waterman starred for Claremont with 17 possessions, six inside 50s, four marks and four goals.

Jye Bolton (27 possessions, one goal), Declan Mountford (22 possessions, 15 tackles, seven inside 50s), Callan England (17 possessions, three inside 50s), Jared Hardisty (15 possessions, five inside 50s), Kane Mitchell (12 possessions, 10 tackles) and Alexander Manuel (10 possessions, five tackles, three goals) all excelled for the Tigers.

For South Fremantle, budding star Chad Pearson was excellent with 21 possessions, two marks, two tackles and two inside 50s.

Jason Maskos (18 possessions, four tackles), Blayne Wilson (16 possessions, four marks), Caleb Datson (15 possessions, one goal), Dylan Main (15 possessions, two marks, two tackles), Haiden Schloithe (15 possessions, one goal), and Steven Verrier (15 possessions, seven tackles) competed strongly for the Bulldogs, who will now lean on their second chance as minor premiers.

West Perth 7.6 (48) def. Perth 5.7 (37)

Perth’s finals run came to an abrupt end, after being beaten by West Perth to the tune of 11 points at Provident Financial Oval.

Luke Meadows was inspirational for West Perth, finishing with 24 possessions, four tackles, three inside 50s and a goal.

Trent Manzone (26 possessions, four inside 50s), Shane Nelson (23 possessions, eight tackles, seven inside 50s), Blake Wilhelm (23 possessions, four tackles), Aaron Black (18 possessions, one goal), Zac Guadagnin (18 possessions, eight tackles), Tyler Keitel (11 possessions, two goals) and Mitchell Peirce (10 possessions, two goals) were prolific for the Falcons.

For Perth, former Fremantle player Brady Grey fought hard to finish with 24 possessions, six tackles and five inside 50s.

Matthew Taylor (18 possessions, four marks), Fraser McInnes (16 possessions, seven inside 50s, six tackles, five marks), Andrew Fisher (15 possessions, five marks, four tackles), Michael Sinclair (15 possessions, one goal), Christian Eyres (14 possessions, 23 hit-outs) and Brant Colledge (14 possessions, 19 tackles) were the Demons’ prominent players.

Featured Image: Claremont players celebrate their Grand Final berth | Source: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

WAFL League Weekly Wrap: Round 8 – Lions, Tigers, Dogs and Swans all salute

A HOST of great individual and team performances characterised round eight of the Optus WAFL League competition. This round saw Subiaco, Claremont, South Fremantle and Swan Districts all secure victories. Peel Thunder was the club that had the bye this weekend.

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

Subiaco 12.12 (84) defeated East Fremantle 6.7 (43)

Subiaco has entered the top four for the first time this season, after defeating East Fremantle by 41 points at Leederville Oval. Former Gold Coast player Kyal Horsley was named Subiaco’s best player after he finished with 26 possessions, eight inside 50s, five tackles and two goals.

Captain Leigh Kitchin (26 possessions, four inside 50s, three marks, two tackles) and reigning Sandover Medallist Lachlan Delahunty (19 possessions, 35 hit-outs) helped inspire the Lions to victory. Budding stars Liam Hickmott (24 possessions, eight tackles), Greg Clark (23 possessions, seven inside 50s, six tackles, five marks), Max Walters (20 possessions, one goal), Jack Beverley (14 possessions, five tackles) and Nicholas Martin (10 possessions, four marks, two goals) played crucial roles for Subiaco.

For East Fremantle, Kody Manning did his best to try and will his team back into the game. He finished with 20 possessions, three marks, and two tackles. Ambrose Ryan (24 possessions, three marks, three inside 50s), Milan Murdock (22 possessions, five tackles), Timothy Bockman (17 possessions, four inside 50s), Cameron Eardley (16 possessions, five tackles) and Jarrad Jansen (16 possessions, 13 hit-outs, four tackles) competed strongly.

 

Claremont 10.12 (72) defeated West Perth 5.11 (41)

Claremont have announced themselves as a genuine premiership contender, after they beat fellow premiership contenders West Perth by 31 points at Revo Fitness Stadium.

Dual Sandover Medallist Jye Bolton was exceptional for Claremont with 37 possessions, five marks, five tackles and three inside 50s. Oliver Eastland (16 possessions, 31 hit-outs), Bailey Rogers (27 possessions), Ryan Lim (23 possessions, five marks), Declan Mountford (21 possessions, four tackles), Jared Hardisty (19 possessions, six tackles) and Alec Waterman (16 possessions, eight marks, four goals) were prolific for the Tigers.

For West Perth, debutant Heath Chapman showed plenty of encouraging signs with 11 possessions and five marks. Blake Wilhelm (23 possessions, eight marks), Aaron Black (22 possessions, five tackles), Connor West (22 possessions, five tackles) and Trent Manzone (19 possessions, four marks) won plenty of the football for West Perth.

 

South Fremantle 13.7 (85) defeated East Perth 9.9 (63)

South Fremantle remains undefeated in the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition, after overcoming East Perth by 22 points. Trailing by 27 points at three-quarter time, the Bulldogs kicked eight goals in the final quarter to run out victors.

Former Port Adelaide player Mason Shaw starred for South Fremantle with nine possessions, six marks and five goals. Brock Higgins (13 possessions, 31 hit-outs), Chad Pearson (22 possessions, seven marks), Zachary Strom (20 possessions, six marks, five inside 50s), Haiden Schloithe (17 possessions, one goal) and Dylan Main (15 possessions, two goals) all played important roles in the victory.

For East Perth, Jackson Ramsay continued his stellar season with another accomplished performance. He finished with 28 possessions, 10 tackles, six inside 50s and three marks. Rohan Kerr (27 possessions, nine marks, five inside 50s), Nathan Blee (20 possessions, five marks), Kye Willcocks (20 possessions, five marks), Nick Robertson (16 possessions, six tackles), and Angus Scott (16 possessions, three marks) were solid contributors for the Royals.

 

Swan Districts 11.9 (75) defeated Perth 7.6 (48)

Swan Districts secured their second victory of the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition, after they defeated Perth by 27 points at Steel Blue Oval.

Former Collingwood player Corey Gault was best afield after finishing with 21 possessions and 25 hit-outs. Jesse Turner (27 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s, three tackles), Frank Anderson (24 possessions, eight tackles, five marks, four inside 50s), Samuel Fisher (23 possessions, five inside 50s), Joshua Cipro (21 possessions, six tackles, one goal) were prominent for the Swans. Young gun Denver Grainger-Barras increased his draft prospects with another sensational performance. He finished with 16 possessions, eight marks and three tackles.

For Perth, Fraser McInnes battled manfully, finishing with 16 possessions, 19 hit-outs, seven marks and two goals. Brady Grey (16 possessions, five tackles), Matthew Taylor (14 possessions, three marks), Andrew Fisher (13 possessions, three tackles) and Jacob Coniglio (13 possessions, four marks) fought valiantly for the Demons. Rising stars Logan McDonald (three goals) and Nathan O’Driscoll (15 possessions, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s) increased their draft prospects with brilliant performances.

Pic: WAFL

WAFL League Weekly Wrap: Round 7 – Lions stay in the hunt

A HOST of great individual and team performances characterised Round 7 of the Optus WAFL League competition

This round saw Subiaco (13.12.90) defeat Perth (9.10.64), South Fremantle (9.16.70) beat Peel Thunder (5.5.35), Claremont (10.5.65) overcome East Fremantle (9.6.60), and East Perth (11.9.75) triumph over Swan Districts (6.4.40). West Perth was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to catch up on all the Round 7 results, as we review some of the best performances.

PERTH (9.10.64) def. by SUBIACO (13.12.90)

Subiaco returned to the winners list, after defeating the in-form Perth Demons by 26 points at Mineral Resources Park.

Toodyay product Jakob Atkinson was named Subiaco’s best after he finished with 18 possessions, 7 inside 50s, 5 hit-outs and 3 goals. Experienced trio Kyal Horsley (23 possessions, 4 marks, 4 tackles, 4 inside 50s), Leigh Kitchin (20 possessions, 7 tackles, 1 goal) and Lachlan Delahunty (19 possessions, 23 hit-outs, 4 inside 50s, 1 goal) also led the Lions exceptionally well.

Meanwhile, young guns Max Walters (17 possessions, 2 goals), Greg Clark (13 possessions, 9 tackles), Michael Braut (12 possessions, 4 marks, 1 goal) and Nicholas Martin (12 possessions, 5 inside 50s, 4 marks, 4 tackles) showed encouraging signs.

For the Demons, Nathan O’Driscoll (20 possessions, 6 tackles, 3 inside 50s and 2 marks) and Logan McDonald (8 possessions, 3 marks, 3 goals) enhanced their draft prospects with stunning performances. Matthew Taylor (20 possessions, 7 marks, 4 tackles), Jacob Coniglio (16 possessions, 3 marks), Brady Grey (15 possessions, 5 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal), Michael Sinclair (15 possessions, 8 tackles) and Fraser McInnes (12 possessions, 5 marks, 3 goals) also competed strongly for the Demons.

>> Round 7 Player Focus: Nathan O’Driscoll

PEEL THUNDER (5.5.35) def. by SOUTH FREMANTLE (9.16.70)

South Fremantle remains undefeated in the 2020 Optus WAFL League competition, after beating Peel Thunder by 35 points at David Grays Arena.

Former Port Adelaide forward Mason Shaw starred for the Bulldogs with 13 possessions, 8 marks and 4 goals. Jake Florenca (36 possessions, 8 marks, 6 inside 50s, 4 tackles), Nick Suban (21 possessions, 6 marks, 6 tackles, 1 goal), Jacob Dragovich (17 possessions, 8 tackles), Kade Stewart (17 possessions, 6 tackles), Chad Pearson (17 possessions, 4 marks, 3 inside 50s), Dylan Main (17 possessions, 7 inside 50s) and Steven Verrier (16 possessions, 3 marks) were prolific for South Fremantle.

Former Carlton defender, Josh Bootsma was named Peel’s best player after he finished with 17 possessions, 10 rebound 50s, 9 spoils, 5 marks (2 intercept marks) and 3 score involvements. Former Essendon players Jackson Merrett (25 possessions, 8 marks, 5 tackles, 1 goal) and Ben Howlett (18 possessions, 2 marks, 2 inside 50s) competed strongly for the Thunder.

Young guns Ben Hancock (18 possessions, 6 tackles, 3 inside 50s), Michael Randall (17 possessions, 5 marks), Tyrone Thorne (14 possessions, 5 tackles) and James Sturrock (12 possessions, 5 tackles) displayed promising signs, while Isiah Winder collected 11 touches upon his League return.

EAST FREMANTLE (9.6.60) def. by CLAREMONT (10.5.65)

Claremont overcame a late surge by East Fremantle to win by five points in a thrilling contest at New Choice Homes Park. The Tigers led by 23 points at three quarter-time, but only held on to win by five points against the Sharks.

Dual Sandover Medallist Jye Bolton was best afield for Claremont, finishing with 29 possessions, 10 marks, 6 inside 50s and 2 goals. Kane Mitchell (20 possessions, 10 marks, 6 tackles, 5 inside 50s, 1 goal), Declan Mountford (19 possessions, 2 inside 50s, 2 tackles), Bailey Rogers (18 possessions, 5 marks), Jared Hardisty (17 possessions, 8 tackles, 3 inside 50s), Callan England (17 possessions, 5 marks, 1 goal) and Oliver Eastland (15 possessions, 22 hit-outs) all played critical roles in getting Claremont over the line.

For the Sharks, boom recruit Cody Leggett continued his magnificent season with another sensational performance. He finished with 24 possessions, 4 inside 50s, 3 marks and 2 goals. Thomas Bennett (20 possessions, 1 goal), Jordan Snadden (19 possessions, 6 marks), Cameron Eardley (19 possessions, 3 tackles), Ryan Lester-Smith (16 possessions, 7 marks) and Ambrose Ryan (14 possessions, 6 marks, 2 goals) were influential for the Sharks.

EAST PERTH (11.9.75) def. SWAN DISTRICTS (6.4.40)

East Perth won its third game of the Optus WAFL League, after triumphing over Swan Districts by 35 points at Leederville Oval.

Former Collingwood player Jackson Ramsay was dynamic for the Royals, finishing with 30 possessions, 9 inside 50s and 4 marks. New recruit Aidan Lynch (31 possessions, 9 tackles, 6 marks, 5 inside 50s), and former VFL player Angus Scott (28 possessions, 4 marks, 4 inside 50s) were prolific for the Royals.

Budding stars Kye Willcocks (18 possessions, 4 marks), Matthew Young (18 possessions, 7 tackles), and Edward Simpson (9 possessions, 6 marks, 4 goals) continued to show impressive signs.

For Swan Districts, former Northern Blues midfielder Samuel Fisher had an enormous impact with 37 possessions, 7 marks, 7 tackles and 4 inside 50s. Corey Gault (14 possessions, 23 hit-outs, 7 tackles, 5 marks, 4 inside 50s), Frank Anderson (18 possessions, 9 tackles, 3 marks), Steven Payne (14 possessions, 3 marks, 2 tackles) and Tony Notte (14 possessions, 4 tackles, 3 marks) competed strongly for the Swans.

Rising star Denver Grainger-Barras continued to enhance his draft prospects with another excellent performance. He finished with 9 possessions, 4 marks, 3 tackles and a goal.

Featured Image: @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

WAFL League Weekly Wrap: Round 6 – O’Driscoll seals Demons’ Pyke Cup triumph

IN Round 6 of the Optus WAFL League competition, there was a host of great individual and team performances alike.

This round saw East Perth 9.9 (63) beat Subiaco 7.12 (54), Perth 11.4 (70) defeat Claremont 7.11 (53), Swan Districts 9.8 (62) win against Peel Thunder 4.9 (33), and West Perth 8.11 (59) overcome East Fremantle 8.7 (55). South Fremantle was the club that had the bye this weekend.

Read below to catch up on all the Round 6 results and best performances.

SUBIACO 7.12 (54) def. by EAST PERTH 9.9 (63)

East Perth secured its second victory of the 2020 Optus WAFL League season, after it defeated reigning premiers Subiaco by nine points in a thrilling contest at Leederville Oval.

Former Collingwood player Jackson Ramsay won the inaugural North Perth Community Cup Best on Ground Award after he finished with 29 possessions (15 contested), nine clearances, six tackles and four inside 50s.

Former AFL players Nathan Blee (31 possessions, eight marks), Rohan Kerr (28 possessions, 11 marks), Nicholas Robertson (24 possessions, eight marks) and Scott Jones (24 hit-outs) were invaluable for the Royals. VFL recruit Angus Scott was also pivotal with 26 possessions and 10 marks.

Youngsters Shayne Hille (22 possessions, 12 marks, one goal), Edward Simpson (10 possessions, two goals) and Matthew Young (10 possessions, five marks, three goals) showed encouraging signs for East Perth.

For the Lions, skipper Leigh Kitchin tried his best to inspire the team to victory with 25 possessions, five tackles, three marks, and three inside 50s.

Greg Clark (22 possessions, eight marks, five tackles), Hayden Kennedy (17 possessions, five marks), Max Walters (15 possessions, five inside 50s), Michael Braut (15 possessions, two marks), Ben Sokol (12 possessions, seven marks, three goals), and Jack Beverley (10 possessions, 12 tackles) competed strongly for Subiaco.

CLAREMONT 7.11 (53) def. by PERTH DEMONS 11.4 (70)

Perth is inching closer to its first finals campaign since 1997, after a stunning 17-point victory over Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium.

Former Fremantle player Brady Grey was named Perth’s best player after he accumulated 28 possessions, recorded eight inside 50s, took three marks and laid three tackles.

Former AFL players Matthew Taylor (29 possessions, five marks), Chris Masten (24 possessions, one goal), and Fraser McInnes (15 possessions, five marks, one goal) were excellent for the Demons.

Jacob Coniglio (23 possessions, three marks), Andrew Fisher (19 possessions, five marks, five tackles, three inside 50s), Michael Sinclair (15 possessions, four marks), and Lennon Marlin (11 possessions, two goals) also stood out for the Demons.

Draft hopefuls Nathan O’Driscoll (seven possessions, four tackles, one goal) and Logan McDonald (12 possessions, four marks, three tackles, two goals) showed plenty of promise, with the former making his League debut.

For Claremont, Bailey Rogers led the charge with 25 possessions, 3 marks, and 3 tackles.

Former AFL players Jye Bolton (25 possessions, two tackles, two inside 50s), Callan England (24 possessions, five tackles, four inside 50s), Kane Mitchell (20 possessions, seven tackles, five marks, three inside 50s), Declan Mountford (19 possessions, seven tackles), Alec Waterman (11 possessions, four goals) and Ryan Nyhuis (11 possessions, three marks) were important for the Tigers.

SWAN DISTRICTS 9.8 (62) def. PEEL THUNDER 4.9 (33)

Swan Districts secured its first victory of the 2020 Optus WAFL League season, after winning by 29 points over Peel Thunder at Steel Blue Oval.

Former Collingwood player Corey Gault was named the Swans’ best player after he finished with 18 possessions and 35 hit-outs.

George Hampson (25 possessions, five inside 50s, two goals), Samuel Fisher (21 possessions), Joshua Cipro (21 possessions, one goal), Steven Payne (21 possessions, one goal), Jesse Turner (21 possessions, six marks), and Frank Anderson (17 possessions) were all prolific for the Swans.

Young gun Denver Grainger-Barras showcased why he is a highly rated draft prospect with another strong performance that saw him finish with 10 possessions, four marks and three tackles.

For the Thunder, Ben Hancock was named the Player of the Game after he finished with 25 possessions (12 contested), five marks (two intercepts), five inside 50s, four score involvements, three tackles and a goal.

Former Essendon players Ben Howlett (19 possessions, seven tackles, six marks, four inside 50s) and Jackson Merrett (26 possessions, five marks, four tackles, three inside 50s) competed strongly for Peel.

Youngsters James Sturrock (21 possessions, three marks), Tyrone Thorne (19 possessions, six marks), and Michael Randall (18 possessions, one goal) showed plenty of encouraging signs, including a big hanger from Thorne.

WEST PERTH 8.11 (59) def. EAST FREMANTLE 8.7 (55)

West Perth pulled off a great escape, after overcoming a 29-point deficit to defeat East Fremantle by four points in an enthralling contest at Provident Financial Oval.

In his 200th WAFL game, Aaron Black starred for the Falcons with 26 possessions, six marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.

Shane Nelson (24 possessions, nine tackles), Trent Manzone (23 possessions, nine marks), Luke Meadows (16 possessions, eight tackles, six inside 50s) and Tyler Keitel (14 possessions, four marks, two goals) were critically important in getting West Perth off the canvas.

Young guns Tristan Hobley (13 possessions, three marks), Connor West (13 possessions, four marks) and Thomas O’Donnell (eight possessions, five marks) showed encouraging signs.

Boom recruit Cody Leggett (23 possessions, six marks, five inside 50s, four tackles) and rising star Thomas Bennett (22 possessions, five tackles, three inside 50s, one goal) led the way for East Fremantle.

Former AFL players Cameron Eardley (28 possessions, seven marks, one goal), Jarrad Jansen (24 possessions, six tackles, four marks, one goal), Jordan Snadden (23 possessions, six marks, one goal), Blaine Boekhorst (23 possessions, four marks), Brodie Riach (12 possessions, four marks, one goal) and Jonathon Griffin (11 possessions, 42 hit-outs) were all outstanding for the Sharks.

Featured Image: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

WAFL weekend preview: Round 1 – State League football returns in the West

STATE League football officially returns to the West on Saturday as Round 1 of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) bounces down across all levels. Having taken the field in preseason scratch matches over the past fortnight, teams will finally get the chance to play for premiership points in 2020, while a bunch of fresh faces will be looking to begin life in the WAFL on the right note. Four different venues will be used across a super Saturday of action, hosting the first set of fixtures for each grade, with Reserves and Colts games jerking the curtain for League showcases in most cases.

>> SCROLL down for Rd 1 fixtures

Peel Thunder and Perth will play off in the technical League season opener, with the first bounce set for 2:00pm at David Grays Arena. Hayden Ballantyne and Josh Bootsma are among the familiar faces set to return to the top level for Peel, who will again be led out by Ben Howlett. The Thunder’s depth will be tested by a lack of Fremantle-listed players, but young Thunder products like Tyrone Thorne and Ryan Bennell should inject some flair to the lineup.

Speaking of youth, 2020 AFL Draft hopeful Logan McDonald is set to feature up forward for Perth, joined by fellow 2019 State Under 18s squad member Regan Clarke, and the debuting Kieran Delahunty. Skipper Corey Yeo looms as a major absentee, but the likes of Chris Masten and Brady Gray should provide plenty of top-level class. Nathan O’Driscoll will be one to watch at Colts level, as will Isiah Winder for Peel.

Moving on to the 2:30 League starts, and reigning premier Subiaco will look to kick off its flag defence in style against Claremont at Leederville Oval. The Lions carry over a 14-game winning run from 2019, as well as a nine-game streak over their traditional rivals – nearing a 74-year-old record. While the Tigers will again be lead into battle by Kane Mitchell, potential injury blows to Jye Bolton and star recruit Ryan Nyhuis threaten to unravel their season opener before it even begins.

Stalwart defender Jordan Lockyer is set to play his 100th League game, while Nicholas Martin, Will Hickmott and Andy Doyle are all in line to make their debuts for Subiaco having been named among the extended squad. Reigning Sandover Medalist Lachlan Delahunty and leading goalkicker Ben Sokol have both been named among the forward six, just two of the big names among Subiaco’s stacked lineup.

It may be the Tigers who hold the edge at Colts level though, as the likes of Joel Western and Kalin Lane are set to star, with the latter poised to take on 197cm 19-year-old Zac Caulfield in the ruck. Draft Central will provide scouting notes on this, our featured Colts game of the week.

A bunch of exciting ins will help Swan Districts go a long way to improving on its last-place League finish in 2019, but West Perth stands in the Black Ducks’ way at Steel Blue Oval, fresh off a finals campaign. Leading West Australian draft prospect Denver Grainger-Barras has been named at half-back for his second top level outing, while Victorian recruits Frank Anderson, Sam Fisher, and Deven Costigan are all set to feature having made the move from VFL unit, Northern Blues. Anderson and Fisher should thrive under the ruck craft of Corey Gault, as co-captains Tony Notte and Matt Riggio look to drive marked improvement from their side.

West Perth skipper Aaron Black has been named at the heart of the Falcons’ lineup, with much of the ball winning responsibilities falling on his shoulders, and those of midfield partner Shane Nelson. Reigning club champion Tyler Keitel will again play a key role as he continues to develop, and should thrive off the delivery of the aforementioned pair. Heath Chapman is the Falcons’ leading Colts prospect, but will have his hands full should the likes of Zane Trew, Ty Sears, and Rhett Bazzo all feature at the level, and not for the Reserves.

The Round 1 milestones continue as South and East Fremantle cap off the opening weekend’s League fixtures, with Bulldogs champion Haiden Schloithe penciled in for game 150. The inclusion of Ben Rioli will bring back some great memories and continue a rich history for his family at Souths, while the likes of John Levien, Jimmy Miller, Kye Barker, and Travis Abbott are others in line to make their debuts.

For the Sharks, boom recruit Cody Leggett slots straight in at half-back having made the much-publicised move over from Perth. Brodie Riach and Jordan Mills are others who may debut for East Fremantle, with reigning best and fairest Matthew Jupp named despite an interrupted preseason. 2019 leading goalkicker Luke Strnadica is also back, set to play a big role in the relatively inexperienced side led by bigman, Jonathon Griffin.

While last year’s second-placed League side will fancy itself against its rivals improvements, the Sharks may have the edge at Colts level. Twin Fremantle NGA prospects Brandon and Chris Walker have both been named in the East Fremantle side, along with State Academy hub members Finn Gorringe, and Jack Carroll. Luke Polson is one of the Bulldogs’ leading talents, although they may crucially be without midfield/forward gun Ira Jetta for this clash.

WAFL ROUND 1 FIXTURES

League:

Peel Thunder vs. Perth | David Grays Arena | 2:00pm
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 2:30pm
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 2:30pm
South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 2:35pm

Reserves:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 12:00pm
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 12:00pm
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 12:00pm

Colts:

South Fremantle vs. East Fremantle | Fremantle Community Bank Oval | 9:30am
Subiaco vs. Claremont | Leederville Oval | 9:30am*
Swan Districts vs. West Perth | Steel Blue Oval | 9:30am
Peel Thunder vs. Perth | David Crays Arena | 4:30pm

* – denotes Draft Central featured Colts game of the round

Picture: Daniel Wilkins/The West Australian