Tag: east fremantle

Sharks youth set to shine in 2021

A NEW squad that has changed “dramatically”, coached by a fresh face, and a new role for one of its talented up-and-coming youngsters in Rosie Walsh has East Fremantle buoyant about the season ahead. The Sharks were back-to-back premiers in 2018-19 and then preliminary final losers last season in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition, but are now firmly focused on a fresh season which is much earlier than usual.

For Walsh who received a Draft Combine invite last year after stepping up to the League side, she has enjoyed the preseason and meeting new faces as the experienced Sharks prepare for most of the season without their AFL Women’s talent.

“It’s actually been really good,” Walsh said of the preseason. “We had a new coach so that’s been really good. “It’s been a bit of a change, trying some new footy styles with a different coach, and we’ve had a really different team to last season. It’s changed dramatically, but I reckon it’s changed in a good way, see some fresh faces.”

“We haven’t been hit by COVID too bad (this season). “We missed out on one week of training, (but) luckily games hadn’t started then, so I reckon that we honestly got it easy compared to all the other states who have had it bad. “It’s been really good, the girls got to do their training from home for that week, and we all came back and we’re eager to get back into it for Round 1 coming this weekend. “I don’t think that’s stopped us from getting where we want to be which is good.”

New coach Simon Quayle knows just how formidable the Sharks can be, having coached against them as Subiaco’s mentor in the 2018 West Australian Women’s Football League (WAWFL) Grand Final. Walsh said Quayle had come in and put an emphasis on skills and decision making, something that the Sharks have identified as an area to focus on with so many new players in the team.

“His (Quayle’s) coaching style is working on skills a lot more,” Walsh said. “Hitting those targets, working on our kicking, on our handpasses, just those really basic skills that those little things that will get you to where you want to be. “I reckon switching different coaching styles is hard, but I reckon it’s been really good with the new coach and from winning two premierships in a row, and going down last year in the prelim, I think that working as a team honestly and getting that really club culture going, is what we’re working on really hard.”

For Walsh herself, she has not let missing out on the draft worry her as she focuses on a new role – in the ruck – for the 2021 season. Having played predominantly as a key forward and aiding the ruck when the ball was inside 50, Walsh has identified that fitness and her ruck craft were key areas to base her preseason improvements around.

“Getting to every contest, getting my first hand on the ball which would be really good, getting that front position, my bodywork, building that strength in my arms and my core so I can jump higher and get my hands on the ball first,” Walsh said. “That’s what I’m working on, getting my ruck work up to scratch.”

Despite being bundled out of the 2020 WAFL Women’s finals series by the Thunder, Walsh said the team had not changed their thought process or how they wanted to play any differently knowing that Peel was their opponent for Round 1. Walsh said both teams had changed, but the Sharks were also experienced in how the Thunder played, and had to play at their best to try and stop them.

“I don’t really think that anything changed when we knew we were playing Peel,” she said. “I think we didn’t think about Peel, we were thinking about what we needed to do to win the game, what we needed to do as a team, what we needed to do to improve. “With half a new team, it’s going to be different with having those new faces and obviously not played together before.”

With so many new faces coming into the team from either the East Fremantle Reserves or Rogers Cup sides, or returning from a year off, Walsh said there were plenty of names to keep an eye on in 2020. Specifically, Walsh said ruck/forward Laura McClelland stepping up from the Reserves last season, and Mia Schleicher and Mylee Leitch coming in from the Rogers Cup team. Rachel Ashley – who played in the 2019 League Grand Final – returns after a year off to add extra strength to the forward line.

“Mia Schleicher, it’s her first year playing League as well, she played Colts last year and I definitely think she is a gun to look out for,” Walsh said. “Her sister plays for Collingwood, Ruby Schleicher. “I definitely think she will have some experience there coming into our League team.

Mylee Leitch, she has come up from the Colts, she has gone into the League team, she’s a small forward, really kick and knows how to put the ball through the sticks, she is pretty good.”

East Fremantle will call upon its youth and depth like every WAFL Women’s side this season, when players such as Ruby Schleicher are out due to AFL Women’s commitments. Walsh said it would be “different” without the AFLW talent, but said it was a double-edged sword in that regard.

“It’s going to be different without the AFL Women’s players, because obviously with their experience and expertise of the game, that really helps with their leadership qualities, but I also think it’s a good opportunity for us to have some of the Under 18s players, the Colts players come up and play in the League team,” Walsh said. “It gives other girls opportunities to play at that level which they’ve always wanted to do. “It’s always good to bring in new talent and bring in experienced players into the League team to potentially, who knows where they’ll end up.

“It’s really good to see the new faces and some of the girls have been down there which is good, because they’re still getting around the club, still helping do some training and coaching, but they’re just not going to be playing with us, which is unfortunate, but I think it’s really cool but I think we get to see a lot of other girls come through to the club.”

For Walsh, she still has her eyes on the ultimate prize – getting drafted – with the 20-year-old a late developer and one who is constantly improving areas of her game to be a more complete player.

“I definitely by the 2021 Draft, I would hope to get drafted to an AFL club,” Walsh said. “That would be number one. “But even just improving myself as a footy player, so working on my ruckwork as I said, I haven’t played ruck for a whole season before, so this is going to be my first season, so being the best ruck that I can. “Being the number one ruck in the team which should be great, and also just building my culture for myself and building the team so we can become one and have that strong community.”

East Fremantle take on Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena on Saturday, February 20 from 5pm local time (8pm AEDST).

Picture credit: East Fremantle Women’s Facebook

2020 WAFL Colts MOTR: Preliminary Final – Subiaco vs. East Fremantle

SUBIACO has advanced to its second Simply Energy WAFL Colts Grand Final in three years, after defeating East Fremantle by 62 points in the Preliminary Final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Within the first minute of the game, Lachlan McKay slotted the first goal from a set shot, after he was awarded a free kick for being pushed in the back. Five minutes later, Lachlan Vanirsen snapped through a goal. Soon after, Connor Patterson banged through another, and moments later, Jaxon McGowan intercepted an East Fremantle rebounding 50, and then launched through one more major for the Lions. Late in the quarter, McKay, roved a pack expertly and drilled through his second goal, to give the Lions a 33-point lead at quarter time.

In the opening stages of the second quarter, Vanirsen crumbed a pack brilliantly and nailed his second goal. Jaxon Bilchuris then snapped through his first goal. It took until the 12th minute of the second quarter for East Fremantle to register its first goal of the contest. Ethan Paholski was able to get the ball inside 50, where Jack Williams took a strong contested mark. Williams went back and slotted the goal. In the eighteenth minute, Ezekiel Bolton soccered through another for the Lions.

After the main break, Matthew Johnson spotted up Connor Faraone inside 50. Faraone went back and converted his set shot. A few moments later, Jacob Evitt snapped through his first goal. In the fourteenth minute, Jack Gouge dribbled through the first goal of his Simply Energy WAFL Colts career, and all of his team-mates got around him. Late in the quarter, Lachlan McGrath drilled through a goal for the Sharks, but Evitt scored the instant reply when he was able to get the ball out the back of a pack and dribbled through his second goal.

In the early minutes of the final quarter, Johnson kicked a goal, after he was received a downfield free kick. Alex Crowe and Williams both scored goals for the Sharks in the loss.

Subiaco vice-captain Lachlan Vanirsen was best afield, finishing with 29 possessions, seven tackles, four marks, three inside 50s and two goals.

Jaxon McGowan (19 possessions, six marks, three tackles, three inside 50s, one goal), Matthew Johnson (16 possessions, six marks, five tackles, four inside 50s, one goal), Jacob Evitt (15 possessions, four tackles, three marks, three inside 50s, two goals) and Lachlan Henderson (15 possessions, five marks) were amongst the Lions’ best.

For East Fremantle, Finn Gorringe tried his heart out with 24 possessions, 10 marks, two tackles and two inside 50s.

Jed Hagan (19 possessions, seven marks, seven tackles), Keanu Haddow (17 possessions, 5 marks) Ethan Paholski (14 possessions, four tackles, three marks, three inside 50s), and Lachlan McGrath (nine possessions, 16 hit-outs, five tackles, four inside 50s, three marks, one goal) competed strongly for the Sharks.

Next week, Subiaco takes on Claremont in the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts Grand Final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

SUBIACO                     5.3 8.5 12.6 13.12    (90)
EAST FREMANTLE       0.0 1.1 2.3 4.4        (28)

GOALS:

SUBIACO: Vanirsen, Evitt, McKay 2, Patterson, McGowan, Faraone, Johnson, Bolton, Gouge, Bilchuris
EAST FREMANTLE: Williams 2, McGrath, Crowe

BEST:

SUBIACO: Vanirsen, Johnson, McGowan, Evitt, Henderson
EAST FREMANTLE: Gorringe, McGrath, Haddow, Hagan, Paholski

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: East Fremantle vs. Murray Bushrangers

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for an intriguing semi final clash, set to play out between a West Australian talent factory, and a powerhouse Victorian region in East Fremantle and the Murray Bushrangers respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were West Coast Eagles champion Ben Cousins (East Fremantle) and current Collingwood star, Steele Sidebottom (Murray).

These clubs are seeded first (East Fremantle) and fourth (Murray) respectively, as the seed gap between each side closes with each passing fixture. The proposed Bushrangers squad outvoted Sturt, the Oakleigh Chargers and Northern Knights, while East Fremantle’s path to this stage came through the Calder Cannons and Sandringham Dragons after a first round bye. The winner will qualify for the Grand Final, set to face either the Port Adelaide Magpies or Geelong Falcons.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE FULL TEAMS

TALKING POINTS

THE MIDFIELD BATTLE:

This one should be fairly straightforward, as East Fremantle arguably boasts the strongest starting midfield group in the draw. With Brownlow medalists and AFL premiership players, Cousins and Simon Black joined by current Carlton co-captain Patrick Cripps at the centre bounces, it’s hard to see any side beating that kind of balance through the engine room. Cripps provides the inside grunt, while Black is the silk, and Cousins the gut-running accumulator. Fremantle champion Paul Hasleby has even been pushed out to a wing, partnering the late Chris Mainwaring.

That’s not to say that Murray lags in the midfield department, with David Mundy, Clayton Oliver, and Tom Rockliff no slouches by any stretch. Add the running power of Sidebottom and dynamism of Brett Deledio on the outer, and you have a seriously talented group. While we would still take the Sharks’ starting centre bounce trio, what really sets them apart in this matchup is their depth. Not only have Elliot Yeo (half-back) and Andrew Swallow (half-forward) been squeezed out to the flanks, but the likes of Daniel Kerr, Shane Woewodin, Dom Cassisi, and Shaun McManus also remain on the interchange. Murray would be able to rotate Jack Ziebell and Steve Johnson through from the forwardline, but that kind of firepower is near-impossible to match.

You could hardly build a better midfield core if you tried than what East Fremantle lays claim to, so the Sharks clearly get the points in this midfield battle. With a balance of class, grunt, endurance, and depth, it’s everything you could ask for.

THE KEY POSITION STOCKS:

As has been the case with many of Murray’s matchups, its starting key position spine is arguably weaker than the opposition offering, but depth seems to give the Bushies a deal of versatility which cannot be matched. East Fremantle lays claim to Luke McPharlin and Harry Taylor down back, with Paddy Ryder accompanying Josh J. Kennedy up forward, and Aaron Sandilands taking on the ruck duties. Bigman Darren Bennett also features in the forward pocket, potentially able to fill Ryder’s spot once the Port player gives Sandilands a chop-out on the ball. With McPharlin and Taylor also know to swing forward at times, the Sharks have a pretty handy rotation, with Cale Hooker also in the mix.

But Murray’s may well be better through a sheer weight of options. Where East Fremantle may struggle for numbers, the Bushrangers thrive, able to fit a bunch of pieces to its key position puzzle. Ben Reid and Alipate Carlile make up the defensive pairing, while Barry Hall and Jarrad Waite are a solid forward combination. Add Fraser Gehrig and ruckman Steven King to the mix, and the spine is quite good. The difference makers come from the bench though, with Ben McEvoy and Justin Koschitzke both able to plug gaps through the ruck or up either end, while Sam Reid could also prove a handy swingman – much like his brother.

By way of its diversity and superior range of options, Murray takes out the key position battle overall, even if East Fremantle’s starters arguably hold a slight edge.

SUMMARY:

To cut a long story short, we’re backing our first seed to qualify for the Grand Final. As one of the most prolific producers of high-level West Australian talent, East Fremantle simply boasts too much class for many sides to handle. Murray matches up well, and may even get ahead in some areas, but would not be able to match the Sharks where it matters most, in midfield. They’re strong everywhere else too, and will be difficult to top in the decider.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
East Fremantle Sharks
Murray Bushrangers
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: East Fremantle vs. Sandringham Dragons

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for the first quarter final clash, set to play out between a West Australian club and a Victorian region, in East Fremantle and the Sandringham Dragons respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were 2006 West Coast premiership teammates, Ben Cousins (East Fremantle) and Chris Judd (Sandringham).

These clubs are seeded first (East Fremantle) and eighth (Sandringham) respectively, forming an intriguing final eight clash in our draw. Our proposed Sharks squad outvoted the Calder Cannons after a first-round bye, while Sandringham’s path to this stage came through East Perth and Glenelg. The winner will qualify for the semi finals, set to face the Northern Knights/Murray Bushrangers.

>> SCROLL TO VIEW THE FULL TEAMS

TALKING POINTS

THE MIDFIELD BATTLE:

Where do we even begin with this East Fremantle side? The most obvious strength is its midfield, with a terrific balance among the centre bounce trio of Patrick Cripps, Simon Black, and Cousins. Cripps provides the inside grunt, while Black is the silk, and Cousins the hard-running accumulator. All three are terrific leaders too, but boy do they have support in spades. The trio of Paul Hasleby (wing), Elliot Yeo (half-back), and Andrew Swallow (half-forward), who have all been squeezed out, could well make up the midfield of a second Sharks All-Star side. That is not to mention those on the bench, with Brownlow medalist Shane Woewodin joined by Daniel Kerr as the rotational x-factor, while Dom Cassisi adds to the strong leadership core alongside Fremantle icon Shaun McManus. Perhaps most ominously of all, they will follow under the ruckwork of 211cm giant, Aaron Sandilands.

But if there is any side that can go pound-for-pound with any other midfield stock, it is Sandringham. The Dragons will fancy their chances of matching the Sharks for inside grunt, with Josh P. Kennedy and Luke Ball joined in the middle by Judd, who transitioned into a contested beast later in his career, at Carlton. Add Jobe Watson to the mix, as well as Angus Brayshaw, Tim Taranto, and Jarryd Lyons off the bench. Like East Fremantle, Sandringham also boasts a few elites squeezed out of the prime positions, with Andy McGrath out at half-back and Josh Kelly at half-forward. Meanwhile, Zac Merrett takes up a wing, tasked with matching the run and flair of Chris Mainwaring.

With the question of depth a non-factor at this point, it is difficult to seperate these two midfields. In terms of experience, accolades, and runs on the board, East Fremantle seems to sneak ahead – especially given six of the 11 names listed above for Sandringham are still playing out their careers. Furthermore, the Sharks seem to have an edge in terms of balance, with the run of Cousins, Kerr, and Mainwaring in particular greater than what any Dragon can offer, while the honest ball winners remain. Sandringham’s big asset, its inside power, is arguably matched too, especially with the likes of Hasleby and Yeo destined to rotate through the engine room. Max Gawn makes for a terrific adversary against Sandilands and beats him around the ground, but not in the ruck contest, which is crucial with such class to utilise at ground level.

THE SPINE:

The respective spines also provide a key area of interest, with champions scattered throughout, but one side coming out a clear winner in our eyes. There is not much you could do to improve the Sharks’ key position set-up, with Luke McPharlin and Harry Taylor making for a formidable defensive partnership, while Josh J. Kennedy and Paddy Ryder line up down the other end. Sure, Ryder is more of a ruckman, but the swingman support of Cale Hooker slots in as well should the latter fall to the bench. The versatility of Hooker, McPharlin, and Taylor is also handy, given all three have been known to swing forward from time to time.

Sandringham answers with goals in spades among its two key position forwards, with the career tallies of Tom Hawkins and Jack Gunston outweighing that of their counterparts in Kennedy and Ryder. However, the defensive pairing is perhaps what sets the two sides apart the most. Ted Richards is a fine centre half-back option, and St Kilda stalwart Jason Blake was a terrific servant in his own right, but both come up slightly undersized against East Fremantle’s monster forwards. That is not to say the likes of Tom LangdonBrayden Maynard, and Simon Beaumont could not provide aerial support, but in a pure man-on-man scenario, that factor gives the Sharks the edge in this department.

SUMMARY:

The competition is getting tighter by the round among our All-Star teams, and this is one of the closest calls yet. But given the two areas identified which see East Fremantle come out on top, we are inclined to stick with the Sharks. As the number one seed, they simply boast a greater amount of depth, and match up well against the key strengths of Sandringham here.

Which All-Star Team of the AFL Draft Era are you picking?
East Fremantle
Sandringham Dragons
Created with QuizMaker

Scouting Notes: 2020 WAFL Colts – Finals Week 1

IN WEEK one of the Simply Energy WAFL Colts Finals Series, Claremont defeated Subiaco by 15 points to advance through to the Grand Final, while East Fremantle knocked off West Perth to earn a spot in week two.

Below were the standout players from either game. Please consider that each set of notes showcases the opinions of our scouts individually, and there are only so many players we can keep an eye on each week.

>> Power Rankings: September Edition

Claremont vs. Subiaco

By: Lenny Fogliani

Claremont:

#2 Logan Young

The son of AFL player manager Colin Young, Logan was at his powerful best in the midfield. He finished with 26 possessions (14 contested), 10 clearances, 9 tackles, 3 marks and 3 inside 50s.

#4 Jake Willson

The Wembley Downs junior continued his stunning season with another accomplished performance. He accumulated 22 possessions (12 contested), laid a game-high 11 tackles, grabbed 3 marks, won 2 clearances and kicked a goal.

#10 Joel Western

The Fremantle Dockers’ Next Generation Academy member was electric in the middle for the Tigers. He finished with 24 possessions (12 contested), 4 tackles, 4 clearances, 3 inside 50s, 2 rebounding 50s, 2 marks and a goal.

#20 Logan Guelfi

The younger brother of Essendon’s Matt Guelfi, Logan was dynamic on the half-forward flank for the Tigers. He accumulated 16 possessions (7 contested), recorded 5 inside 50s and kicked a goal.

#21 Jack Avery

The Cottesloe junior was rock-solid in defence for Claremont, finishing with 20 possessions (8 contested), 7 marks (3 contested), 5 rebounding 50s, and 3 tackles.

#23 Jacob Van Rooyen

The 17-year-old was arguably best afield, after he finished with 14 possessions (9 contested), 7 marks (5 contested), 7 inside 50s, 2 tackles and 2 goals. The only blemish on his performance were his three behinds.

#28 Kalin Lane

The Denmark-Walpole product was inspirational in the ruck for Claremont. He gathered 16 possessions (13 contested), won 39 hit-outs, accomplished 10 clearances, recorded 3 inside 50s, and laid 3 tackles.

>> MORE CLAREMONT CONTENT

Subiaco:

#2 Jed Kemp

The nephew of West Coast great Dean Kemp was fantastic for Subiaco, finishing with 19 possessions (13 contested), 10 tackles, 7 clearances, and a goal.

#8 Jaxon McGowan

The Kingsway junior was excellent in defence for Subiaco. He accumulated 14 possessions (6 contested), took 3 marks, and recorded 3 rebounding 50s and 2 inside 50s.

#12 Matthew Johnson

The North Beach junior worked tirelessly for the Lions, finishing with 17 possessions (13 contested), 9 tackles, 4 clearances and a goal.

#22 Blake Morris

The Kingsley junior was exceptional in defence for the Lions. He collected 16 possessions (9 contested), took 4 marks, laid 3 tackles, and recorded 3 inside 50s and 2 rebounding 50s.

#41 Tyler Brockman

The cousin of former Fremantle and Gold Coast player Greg Broughton, Brockman was terrific in the midfield for the Lions. He finished with 15 possessions (6 contested), 4 tackles, 3 clearances and 2 inside 50s.

>> MORE SUBIACO CONTENT

West Perth vs. East Fremantle

By: Ed Pascoe

West Perth:

#6 Callum Johnson

Johnson’s strong season was recently rewarded with the 19-year-old earning selection for the WA All-Stars game. He continued to do what he has done best this year, and that’s win plenty of the ball around stoppages, where he has shown a great partnership with ruckman Michael Mallard. The conditions suited Johnson with the wet weather and regular stoppages allowed him to to show what he does best – win clearances and show his attacking mindset in winning the hard ball. He finished the game with 28 disposals and 9 tackles. 22 of his disposals were kicks, showing his smarts to get ball on boot in the wet weather.

#14 Lochlan Paton

The talented bottom-age midfielder earned selection in the WA All-Star games and although he played forward for West Perth in this game, he still managed to show why he is rated highly going into his draft year in 2021. The dynamic Paton always looked dangerous whenever the ball went his way inside 50, usually darting around opponents and making things happen. In one certain play during the first quarter, he would use a sort of karate kick to nudge the ball over his head, just showing how dynamic he can be. Paton really stood out with his clean hands in the poor conditions and you could certainly see his midfield traits coming to the fold. He didn’t kick and goals but always looked a threat and finished the game with 11 disposals and 5 marks.

#17 Logan Foley

The strong bodied Foley certainly has his fans, earning selection in the WA All-Stars squad, and he played an important role as a tall forward who would help relieve Michael Mallard in the ruck. What really surprised in his short time rucking was how clean his taps were to his teammates, especially in the conditions. He used his body well at stoppages to help protect the fall of the ball, too. Foley didn’t hit the scoreboard and the conditions certainly didn’t suit big forwards, but he showed some good signs finishing the game with 8 disposals and 7 hit-outs.

#18 Corey Rundle

It was tough going for Rundle, who remains the leading goalkicker in the Colts. He was opposed by fellow WA All-Star representative Keanu Haddow in what was a great battle all day. Rundle started the game well with a strong mark close to goal and nailing the set shot. He had a chance later in the quarter running into goal, but he was pressured and just missed. Haddow did a great job of keeping Rundle quiet for the next few quarters, with the conditions and East Fremantle’s team defence really making life hard for Rundle. He had one last highlight in the last quarter, showing nice movement and snapping to the hot spot which almost bounced into goal anyway, but alas would be a behind. Rundle finished the game with 4 disposals and kicking 1.2.

#19 Kellen Johnson

The conditions didn’t suit West Perth’s twin interceptors Heath Chapman and Johnson, and it was apparent early when Johnson couldn’t get his hands on the ball. But as the game went on, he got involved in other ways and as good defenders do – defending with strong tackles and timely spoils. Speaking of tackles and spoils, he laid a certain goal-saving tackle in the second quarter and numerous spoils in the third, using his strong ability to read the play. It was nice to see Johnson do the team things and not worry too much about winning intercepts and playing the flashier role. He did what needed to be done and finished the game with 7 disposals and 3 tackles.

#24 Michael Mallard

Ruckmen come into their own in the wet conditions, especially a player of Mallards size and skill. He was enormous in the ruck, winning plenty of hit-outs and showing a good relationship between his midfielders, especially Callum Johnson. Mallard, for his size, showed great movement and skill with ball in hand and was hardly a slouch when not rucking, using his big left boot to good effect. He had a nice bit of play in the second quarter, taking a nice intercept mark and even taking the player on that was on the mark. Mallard did his best to try and get his side over the line and he finished with 9 disposals, 3 marks and a whopping 49 hit outs as he builds to the WA All-Star games to come.

#25 Heath Chapman

Not the best conditions for the highly rated Chapman to show his best features, which are his clean hands overhead and intercept marking. He had a slow start but worked into he game nicely in the second half. He was clean with his handling of the ball in one instance, but missed the handball, but it was impressive to see him work hard to make up for the mistake. He took a few nice intercept marks despite the conditions and to make up for the lack of marking, he showed great elusiveness and rebound from defence – usually using the ball well by foot and unafraid to take the game on. Chapman finished the game with 16 disposals and 6 marks which was decent considering the conditions.

>> MORE WEST PERTH CONTENT

East Fremantle:

#3 Corey Warner

The younger brother of 2019 Swans draftee Chad Warner proved he is a great prospect for the 2021 draft, as the young midfielder was arguably best on ground in an impressive display, playing forward and on the wing. Playing most of the year with his school team Aquinas, he has come into the East Fremantle Colts team at a timely time and he was pivotal in their victory over West Perth. He set the scene early with a nice gather and snap goal and he just looked dangerous for the whole quarter, looking clean and sharp in the wet conditions. He played the rest of the first half with plenty of enthusiasm, moving the ball quickly and tackling hard. His best highlight, however, came in the third quarter when he executed a Dusty Martin-like don’t argue which was impressive for his size. He also laid a great tackle in the same quarter winning the free kick in defence. Warner was impressive with his skill, tenacity, and eagerness to get involved all day. He finished the game with 24 disposals, 4 tackles and a goal.

#6 Joshua Browne

Starting the year down back playing as a silky rebound defender, he has become an impressive ball winning midfielder in recent weeks. Not unlike former East Fremantle player Trent Rivers, who has been impressive for Melbourne this year, Browne looks classy with ball in hand and is a nice size to play a range of roles. He did it all, winning plenty of clearances but also getting on the outside to take marks and set up play with his nice kicking and execution by hand, which was most impressive in-tight. He had a nice bit of play in the third quarter weaving through multiple opponents with ease, but would sadly turn the ball over by foot in a rare skill error for him. Browne was sensational and he proved why he was one of 10 bottom-age players to be selected to play in the WA All-Star games, finishing the game with a game high 28 disposals to go with 5 marks and 8 tackles in a complete midfield display.

#7 Chris Walker

Both he and his twin brother, Brandon had an influence, with Chris causing havoc up forward. He would kick a nice goal in the first quarter after winning a high free kick and slotting the set shot in very wet conditions. One of his concerns thoughout the day was his fumbles and he would drop an easy chest mark in the second quarter, but he still did well to keep involved throughout the game and would finish his game nicely with a dribble goal in the last quarter. The Fremantle NGA prospect finished with 14 disposals and kicked 2.1 in a solid outing.

#8 Finn Gorringe

Along with teammates Warner and Browne you could say Gorringe was one of the best players on the day, with his skills and intercept work down back proving important in the wet and tough conditions. Gorringe was often trusted with the kick-outs where he did well with his long and accurate kicking being used in general play as well. His ability to get to the right spots and stay composed was certainly impressive as it seemed he was always in the way when West Perth was attacking. With so many players rushing their disposals, he set the tone for his team in staying composed and using the ball well, and that style of play is what gave East Fremantle the edge. Gorringe finished the game with 24 disposals and 10 marks and he is really starting to make the backline role his own after starting the season as a bustling inside midfielder.

#9 Brandon Walker

He and his twin brother Chris proved a handful, with Brandon playing his preferred role down back. His confidence with ball in hand and clean hands certainly caught the eye as the Fremantle NGA prospect continues to have a strong season. Walker had most of his highlights in the second half, starting with an impressive contested mark especially in the conditions. The last quarter was Walker at his best, starting with a strong tackle that was rewarded, and he would soon after take an impressive intercept mark. Another great moment was when he was told to play on in defence and somehow was able to pull off a don’t argue on one opponent coming from the side, and then evade his way around another in a classy bit of play that really showed his mix of class and athleticism – both of which make him such a good prospect. Walker finished the game with 19 disposals and 5 marks.

#10 Jed Hagan

It’s hard to believe Hagan wont be draft eligible until 2022 and he certainly looks to be WA’s leading contender for that draft. He started the game on fire winning, plenty of the ball and despite his age, he already has a solid frame and a tough attitude to excel in the wet conditions. Hagan’s disposal was often very good, especially his kicking in the wet conditions while not always taking the safe option. He faded a little in the seconf half but he was still able to show why he is such an exciting prospect for the future. He finished the game with 14 disposals and 5 tackles.

#13 Keanu Haddow

Haddow had the tough role playing on the Colts leading goal scorer in Rundle, and you could say he got the better of him, keeping the talented forward to only 1 goal. He didn’t get much of the ball early but he had some nice defensive efforts and timely spoils against Rundle. His intercept game is very strong and it really started to come to the fold in the last quarter once the game was just about done and dusted. He just played his normal game and had the ball on a string, getting up the ground but when it was his turn to defend he still did so, taking a very impressive mark against Rundle. The Fremantle NGA prospect finished the game with 23 disposals and 8 marks and while his intercept game and defensive efforts are outstanding, he will need to work on his kicking – especially close to goal as he has a few nervous moments every game. If he cleans up this side of his game, it will go a long way to Fremantle committing to him at the end of the year.

>> MORE EAST FREMANTLE CONTENT

Featured Image: Claremont’s Joel Western celebrates with teammates | Source: (Retrieved from) Claremont Football Club via Facebook

WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 9 – East Fremantle vs. Swan Districts

MATCH REPORT

THE final regular season round of the 2020 Simply Energy WAFL Colts competition saw East Fremantle secure its finals position after overcoming Swan Districts by 10 points at New Choice Homes Park.

East Fremantle’s captain Keanu Haddow was inspirational in defence for the Sharks with 30 possessions and seven marks. Finn Gorringe (21 possessions, eight marks, four tackles), Brandon Walker (21 possessions, five marks, three tackles, three inside 50s), Jed Hagan (21 possessions, eight tackles, eight inside 50s, seven marks, one goal) and Chris Walker (13 possessions, seven tackles, four marks, three inside 50s) were also amongst the Sharks’ best.

For Swan Districts, Zane Trew enhanced his draft prospects with another powerful performance. He finished with a game-high 32 possessions, a game-high 10 tackles, a team-high seven marks and five inside 50s. Max Chipper (21 possessions, six marks), Ty Sears (21 possessions, six inside 50s), Ayden Cartwright (20 possessions, two goals), Jamison Ugle (16 possessions, one goal), Ashley Brockbernd (16 possessions, nine tackles) and William Collins (15 possessions, five marks) competed strongly for the Swans.

Joel Baverstock snapped the ball out of a pack for the first goal of the game, in the sixth minute of the opening quarter. Cartwright scored the instant reply for the Swans. Late in the opening quarter, Hagan won a holding-the-ball free kick, and nailed his set shot.

In the second quarter, Jack Williams and Kobe McMillan kicked goals for East Fremantle, which ultimately gave the Sharks a 15-point lead at half-time.

After the main break, Sears speared a pass into Cartwright, who dribbled through his second goal. Moments later, Baverstock snapped through his second goal. Soon after, Ugle booted home a goal for the Swans. Joseph Salmon then soccered through a goal that brought the Swans to within five points of East Fremantle. Late in the quarter, Joshua Middleton read the flight of the ball exceptionally well to mark the ball in a pack. He went back and nailed the goal that gave the Swans a four-point lead at three-quarter time.

At the thirteenth minute of the final quarter, Corey Warner smothered a Swans’ rebounding 50, before kicking the goal that put the Sharks back in front. Soon after, Edward Curley speared a pass to Bailey Hodge inside 50. Hodge went back and slotted the goal that gave the Sharks a 10-point buffer. Moments later, Gorringe laid a strong tackle in defensive 50 to stop a certain Swans’ score. In the 22nd minute, Gorringe smothered a Swans’ shot on goal that ultimately gave the Sharks a 10-point victory.

Next week, East Fremantle travel to Provident Financial Oval where they will take on West Perth in the Simply Energy WAFL Colts first semi-final.

SCOUTING NOTES

EAST FREMANTLE:

#2 Joel Baverstock

The 16-year-old produced the best game of his short Simply Energy WAFL Colts career against Swan Districts. He accumulated 18 possessions, recorded three inside 50s, laid two tackles and kicked two goals. He kicked the opening goal of the game, when he snapped the ball out of a pack through the goals, in the sixth minute of the opening quarter.

#6 Joshua Browne

The Applecross-Mount Pleasant junior continued his magnificent season for the Sharks with another excellent performance. He finished with 30 possessions, five marks and five inside 50s.

#7 Chris Walker

The Fremantle Dockers’ Next-Generation Academy member was superb as a pressure forward for East Fremantle. He collected 13 possessions, laid seven tackles, took four marks and recorded three inside 50s.

#8 Finn Gorringe

The Aquinas College graduate reminded recruiters of his enormous potential with an outstanding performance. He finished with 21 possessions, a game-high eight marks and four tackles in a brilliant performance. He produced a game-saving tackle, and a game-saving smother late in the last quarter to secure victory for East Fremantle.

#9 Brandon Walker

The 2018 AFL U16s All-Australian defender was fantastic for East Fremantle. Playing off half-back, Walker gathered 21 possessions, took five marks, laid three tackles and recorded three inside 50s to enhance his draft prospects. His ability to break the opposition’s defensive zone with his penetrating skills and blistering speed was a real feature of his game.

#10 Jed Hagan

Still only 15-years-old, the Brigades product produced another strong performance for the Sharks. He finished with 21 possessions, a team-high eight tackles, a game-high eight inside 50s, seven marks and a goal.

#13 Keanu Haddow

The East Fremantle captain was inspirational for his team, and he led the Sharks superbly. Playing in defence, Haddow finished with an equal team-high 30 possessions, and seven marks. His rebounding out of defence was excellent, and his strength in the contest was a real feature of his game.

#15 Ethan Paholski

The Geraldton product was excellent in the midfield for the Sharks, finishing with 15 possessions, five marks, and three tackles.

>> MORE EAST FREMANTLE CONTENT

SWAN DISTRICTS

#2 Ayden Cartwright

The Kalamunda junior continued his stunning season with another polished performance. He collected 20 possessions, recorded five inside 50s, took four marks, laid two tackles and kicked two goals. A highlight of his game came in the first quarter, when he snapped through the Swans’ first goal of the match.

#4 Max Chipper

Returning from a hand injury, Chipper played a fantastic game as a wingman for the Swans. He accumulated 21 possessions and grabbed six marks as he played an excellent link-up game.

#8 Zane Trew

The Hills Rangers product continued to enhance his draft prospects with another powerful performance. He finished with a game-high 32 possessions, a game-high 10 tackles, a team-high seven marks and five inside 50s.

#9 Jamison Ugle

The 2018 WA U16s State Academy member was dynamic for the Swans, rotating between the half-forward flank and the wing. He finished with 16 possessions, five marks, five inside 50s, two tackles and a goal. In the third quarter, he snapped through a goal that brought the Swans to within 10 points of East Fremantle.

#10 Ty Sears

The Bunbury product reminded recruiters of his talent with another sizzling performance. Against East Fremantle, Sears accumulated 21 possessions, recorded a team-high six inside 50s, took five marks and laid two tackles.

#35 William Collins

Stationed at full back, Collins was rock solid for the Swans. He finished with 15 possessions and five marks. The highlight of his game came early in the second quarter, when he took a magnificent overhead ‘specky’ in defence.

#37 Joseph Salmon

The St Mary’s product was electrifying for the Swans. He finished with 11 possessions, seven tackles, two marks and a goal. The highlight of his game came in the third quarter, when he soccered through a goal that brought the Swans to within five points of the Sharks. It was his first goal in his Simply Energy WAFL Colts career.

#58 Ashley Brockbernd

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member continued his fine season for Swan Districts with a superb performance. He finished with 16 possessions, nine tackles, five inside 50s and three marks.

#60 Dylan Brockbernd

The 2017 WA U16s State Academy member was brilliant for Swan Districts with 12 possessions, six marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.

>> MORE SWAN DISTRICTS CONTENT

Two goals in two minutes from 15-year-old Ella Roberts sends Peel into its first WAFLW Grand Final

A MATCH-WINNING performance in the final term by 15-year-old Ella Roberts has helped book Peel Thunder a spot in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s Grand Final. The talented teenager who does not turn 16 until December, broke the game open in the last seven minutes to slot two terrific goals and help her side record a 9.1 (55) to 5.8 (38) victory over reigning premiers East Fremantle in the preliminary final. She was one of many players to stand up when it counted, as the young Thunder outfit was able to answer each challenge set down for them by the experienced East Fremantle outfit, and ran out the stronger side to book a rematch with Subiaco next week.

It was East Fremantle that started stronger, kicking with a breeze that enabled the Sharks to control play in their forward half. The Thunder had just two inside 50s for the quarter – the first and last of the term – and could not put a score on the board. The Sharks could, but seemingly wasted some golden opportunities to put together a strong first term lead. They booted 1.4, with the first goal coming in the 14th minute after three behinds. A nice kick inside 50 was well read by Rosie Walsh who ran onto it, grabbed it cleanly goalside and put it home from 15m out.

Cassie Davidson and Tanisha Anderson were holding up well in defence, whilst Gabby O’Sullivan was looking her usual dangerous self, even if she had contributed the couple of behinds. Shot after shot just missed for East Fremantle, and despite their dominance, and the work of Sharon Wong around the ball and Madeline Ross, Lily Bird and Ruby Schleicher through the middle and half-back respectively, East Fremantle only held a 10-point lead at the first change.

It had been a dire scrap in the opening term with Peel holding on against a fierce East Fremantle attack, but that soon changed with a nice kick in from youngster, Courtney Rowley who hit up Krystal Carter inside 50. Carter was awarded a free kick for in the back, then went back and drilled the shot just three minutes into the contest. Schleicher was continuing to do well in her one-on-one, but a couple of unlucky moments for the Sharks – which saw Schleicher rested on the bench and Katelyn Catalano come hobbling off – allowed Peel to take some control.

Schleicher’s opponent Kate Bartlett stepped up against a smaller opponent to mark off an Ebony Bilcich kick inside 50 then convert an important goal in the ninth minute of the term to give her side the lead for the first time. Her confidence was sky high, and a moment later she read the horrible bounce for Schleicher better, scooping it up and spotted a loose Bailey Molloy all alone 40m out. Molloy went back and nailed the set shot too, and midway through the term, Peel was really cooking. But the Thunder were not done just yer.

Three minutes later, ongoing pressure from the Peel forwards forced a quick kick from a Sharks defender to go out of bounds and Bartlett sprinted to the boundary line to receive the free kick. From 50m she wheeled around and launched home, with the pack misreading the kick to fall short and it bounced over the back and home without a hand to it. All of a sudden, Peel was 13 points up and making East Fremantle pay for the wasteful first term.

It was not all bad for the Sharks, who got one back after new inclusion, Jessie McDonald got lively and hit up O’Sullivan leading out 35m from goal. The talented forward made no mistake with the set shot, just escaping the hands on the line and with five minutes to play, the margin was seven points. O’Sullivan almost had another goal after taking advantage from a Walsh free to play on, but uncharacteristically went for the dribble and missed for her third behind of the day. It followed on from a Larissa Versaci miss moments earlier, and despite East Fremantle doing all the attacking late, it was Peel that would emerge five-point leaders at half-time.

Determined to make the most of the wind the second time around, McDonald again got busy, with clean hands to handball over her shoulder between two Sharks and hit up the running O’Sullivan. With her fifth scoring shot of the day, O’Sullivan made no mistake on the run and put it home to return the lead to the reigning premiers. The first six minutes belonged to East Fremantle as the visitors continued to pepper the goals and lock the ball inside 50. Once the game opened up, Peel raced it down and Carter won a free kick at the top of 50 and kicked to a pack.

Reading the ball off hands, Peel’s leading goalkicker Kira Phillips – who had not touched the ball prior to that moment – snapped off the right quickly to put through another major for the Thunder and Peel took back the lead. It was Peel’s turn to take control of the forward half possession, but East Fremantle turned defence into offence, only for Ashleigh Gomes to get a horrible bounce and the Thunder clear to safely. Phillips almost created something out of nothing with a kick off the ground late in the term going to the Bartlett-Schleicher duel, which saw a free kick awarded for holding to the latter.

East Fremantle went forward, and Chloe Reilly managed to find Bird inside 50 who kicked to the top of the square where McDonald roved the ball to perfection and kicked her first of the game with three minutes remaining in the quarter. Setting up the last three Sharks goals, the debutant looked dangerous every time she went near it. Now holding the lead by a couple of points, East Fremantle added another goal for good measure after the siren with Sara Lewis paid a free for being held in the ruck stoppage, and sent it home to stretch the lead to eight at the final break. Unfortunately for Sharks fans, that would be the last score of the day for the reigning premiers.

The final term belonged to Peel Thunder, as East Fremantle made a positional change with O’Sullivan moved to a wing and playing a defensive kick-behind-play role to help with the Thunder breeze. In what was symbolic of the quarter to come, Roberts had a pinpoint perfect kick to Phillips who won a free kick 35m out and kicked a goal just over a minute into the quarter and immediately the Thunder were back within two points. East tried to attack, as both sides were willing and Maddy Ross came off after a heavy collision, while Kimberley Bowey took a few crucial intercept possessions dropping back to help the defence.

But the weight of numbers and forward pressure eventually won out for the Thunder, with another youngster in Rowley spotting Phillips one-on-one and hit her up well. The strong marking forward made no mistake for her third goal of the contest and Peel was back in front, albeit by just four points. Midway through the term, Jade Briggs – who had been getting busy through the second half in particular – had a snap off her left for it to trickle through for the Thunder’s first behind of the day. The margin was five points and the game was crying out for a hero from either side to break it open.

Enter 15-year-old Roberts. In the 14th minute of the quarter, she bustled her way forward, the ball was collected by Bartlett who with lightning hands, dished off to Roberts and off a step from 40m put it through and the Thunder players erupted. East Fremantle would need two goals to win, but Peel was still not home, they needed another. So Roberts delivered again. Scooping the ball up from 45m, under immense pressure from the Sharks, the talented teenager put it on the boot off a couple of steps and it curled around the post in an effort even better than her first. There was jubilation everywhere as the Thunder players mobbed her and even the coaching box and fans were starting to believe.

East Fremantle tried to attack in the last few minutes, but the work of Shannon Whale and Davidson in defence resulted in some vital intercept marks. The red-hot Roberts was thrown into the middle and then won a couple of touches in defence helping there. A late scuffle broke out in the Sharks’ forward pocket as tensions rose, but Peel was able to do enough to defuse the situation, and the game, by taking time off the clock. As if fittingly, Roberts would have the last kick of the game at half-back, kicking long as the siren sounded and Peel Thunder was through to their first ever WAFL Women’s Grand Final in just their second season.

PEEL THUNDER 0.0 | 4.0 | 5.0 | 9.1 (55)
EAST FREMANTLE 1.4 | 2.7 | 5.8 | 5.8 (38)

GOALS:

Peel Thunder: K. Phillips 3, E, Roberts 2, K. Bartlett 2, K. Carter, B. Molloy.
East Fremantle: G. O’Sullivan 2, R. Walsh, J. McDonald, S. Lewis.

ADC BEST:

Peel Thunder: E. Roberts, C. Davidson, C. Rowley, K. Bartlett., K. Ditchburn
East Fremantle: G. O’Sullivan, R. Schleicher, J. McDonald, S. Wong, K. Bowey

Picture: Owen Davies/Peel Thunder

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: East Fremantle vs. Calder Cannons

OUR next All-Star Team battle is the first of the Round of 16, which features a West Australian club and a Victorian club in East Fremantle Sharks and Calder Cannons. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Ben Cousins (East Fremantle) and Dane Swan (Calder Cannons).

TEAMS:

East Fremantle are the top seeds and tournament favourites that enter the All-Star Team matchup after a first round bye to take on the 16th seeds, Calder.

STRENGTHS:

Where do you begin with East Fremantle? The most consistent team across the board with experience galore. The least experienced player is Carlton gun, Patrick Cripps and they have 200-game Brownlow Medalists and best and fairest winners on the bench. The onball brigade of Aaron Sandilands, Simon Black and Cousins – with Cripps – is just madness and then throw together a consistent defence, and a couple of key talls, and you would have to be really picky to find a weakness.

Calder’s strength is its depth across the field, led by Swan in the midfield, who along with Jude Bolton and Dion Prestia, make it competitive against most sides, though even they would be overpowered by the Sharks onball group. Their small forwards could cause serious issues for the Sharks defenders, with the likes of Ryan O’Keefe, Paul Chapman and Eddie Betts all capable of giving grief to defender.

WEAKNESSES:

As we said above, it is hard to really pick out a weakness, and to do so is getting rather picky, but you could argue the medium-small forwards with the mids predominantly playing forward, and Darren Bennett and Jamie Cripps the only real pure forwards from that perspective.

Calder probably lacks a consistent key position forward, with Joe Daniher and Jake Carlisle capable of anything, but not as consistent as those on the opposition side. They also have some strong defensively-minded backmen, but not as potent offensively off the defensive line though Brandon Ellis coming off the bench would certainly help with this fact.

SUMMARY

East Fremantle could win the entire All-Star Team of the AFL Draft era, with the Shakrs raging favourites against most sides, and whilst Calder is good, East Fremantle is elite.

Which All-Star Team are you picking?
East Fremantle
Calder Cannons

WAFL Women’s Preliminary Final: Peel Thunder vs. East Fremantle

IT is somewhat fitting that Peel Thunder and East Fremantle face off in the preliminary final of the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition. The red-hot Sharks, coming from nowhere needed to string three consecutive wins together in the final three rounds – which they did – and then another three in finals in order to take out the premiership. They are no stranger to success, having won the past two flags, including the last for the WAWFL and first for the WAFL Women’s last year. Peel Thunder on the other hand are playing their first ever finals series, and are searching for their first ever finals win.

A last round win to the Thunder over the Tigers helped Peel grab second spot, in no small part thanks to East Fremantle’s victory over Swan Districts. It saw the Sharks sneak into third spot on the table, leapfrog the Swans and end Claremont’s season all in one. Prior to the last few rounds of the season, the Sharks had only won the Round 1 match over newcomers, South Fremantle, and had not managed to find the grove since, losing to each of the other sides along the way. With the return of some key players, the reigning premiers are ready to go deep again, and standing in their way is a young Peel Thunder side that has been mighty impressive this season in what has clearly been a standout 2020 for them.

Kira Phillips again won the goalkicking for the Thunder, being a dominant force with 13 goals in eight games and a major target up there. Kate Bartlett (seven goals) and Krystal Carter (five) have also been prominent. For the Sharks, they have three players on five snags, with Sara Lewis, Katelyn Catalano and Stephanie Sparke all hitting the milestone despite six or less games this season. Now the teams will be relying on them to help kick a winning score, after Peel lost to Subiaco last week, and East Fremantle doubled up on its effort against Swan Districts.

The Peel defence up against the East Fremantle attack will be a battle to watch within the clash, as the likes of Tanisha Anderson and Shannon Whale lead the young Thunder outfit. For the Sharks, their experience up front such as Gabby O’Sullivan and Lewis is key, whilst in defence, the Sharks have Alex Williams and Ruby Schleicher who provide that AFL Women’s talent. They will need to find a way to stop Phillips who is a known goalkicker, as is another AFLW player in Kate Bartlett.

The Thunder have less experience, but make up for it in youthful exuberance. Sarah Verrier is one of Western Australia’s top prospects this year, and is one of 13 players named amongst the extended squad in last week’s match. Along with Verrier, Jade Briggs and Jaide Britton are both top-agers, while Courtney Rowley and Bella Mann are middle-agers showing some promising signs. The Thunder even have a couple of players in their 16th year, with Gracie Fenton and Ella Roberts – the latter of whom does not turn 16 until December. With all that youth, it makes it crucial for the likes of Cassie Davidson and Carter to stand up and settle the team down in big moments.

East Fremantle have no shortage of experience players, but still have some teenagers running around, such as 19-year-old Rosie Walsh who has been a target up forward since booting 11 goals in Round 1 for the Reserves. She earned an AFL Women’s Draft Combine invitation, whilst over-agers Lily Bird, Kate Inglis-Hodge and Zoe Gillard are others who stand out week to week. A player to watch for next year from the Sharks is exciting forward, Chloe Reilly, who is the youngest player in the team, not turning 17 until next month. The Sharks luckily have plenty of experience in O’Sullivan, Kimberley Bowey, Sharon Wong, Madeline Ross and Larissa Versachi, whilst Julie-Ann Norrish has been superb in defence.

The game is hard to predict a winner, with the East Fremantle experience no doubt playing a factor, but the Thunder have so much young talent, they are always dangerous and after getting the first taste of finals out of the way last week, will be keen to post a win and earn a second crack at Subiaco in the grand final next week.

Final quarter frenzy sends Sharks into the prelim

A FINAL quarter frenzy by reigning premiers, East Fremantle has seen the Sharks bob up and defeat Swan Districts for the second consecutive week in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s competition. Last week’s win over the Swans was to secure home ground advantage – as well as a finals spot itself – while this week was putting the final nail in the black and whites coffin for the season. In what was an unpredictable contest – from the matchplay to the weather – East Fremantle got up just in the knick of time despite being held scoreless for two quarters.

The Sharks kicked the first two goals of the game thanks to a strong breeze favouring their end at New Choice Homes Park, with Samara Pluschke getting on the board via a snap just one minute into the contest. The Swans had chances of their own, with young guns Mikayla Morrison and Shanae Davison combining to give veteran, Fi Boucher a chance but could not quite control it, while Nyra Anderson kicked into the player on the mark from 20m out. The wind was making it difficult for the Swans, with even the football seemingly barracking for the Swans.

Ashley Sharp was running into an open 50, only for a Jack Crisp-like bounce to cause her to reassess, only to be caught by Pluschke at half-forward. Julie-Ann Norrish and Alex Williams were having sensational days down back, whilst Gabby O’Sullivan was doing Gabby O’Sullivan things, and setting up her teammates. A long bomb inside 50 only just missed the hands of Rosie Walsh, but O’Sullivan’s next touch was an intercept and handball to Lily Bird 30m out who made no mistake off a quick step from 30m. The Sharks led by 14 points, and it was only a Jess Cox chance – a snap towards goal – that was knocked through for a behind to make the deficit 13 points at the first break.

The second term was more of an arm-wrestle for both sides, as Mother Nature had a laugh at the players expense. The strange term began with Larissa Versaci winning a free for being polaxed – by her own teammate – much to the shock of Anderson who the umpire blamed for the contact. Light rain began falling a few minutes into the contest, and that became heavy rain seven and a half minutes through, before Mother Nature decided she wanted to go the full distance and just outright bucketed down in what was more of a good day for ducks rather than Swans or Sharks, but both sides adapted to the new conditions.

It was unlucky for the Swans who could not take full advantage of the wind like the Sharks had in the first term, but after a few chances from Anderson and Tara Stribley, Swan Districts broke through. Morrison had a set shot that looked like it was a dry day, putting through a vital major, the first of the contest for the visitors to draw within five points at half-time. The work of Mikayla Hyde and Hayley Cole had been impressive, as the Swans just kept within touch at the main break.

The rain lightened up after that, with the third term more wet conditions than consistent rain, and it was Swan Districts that emerged beneficiaries despite kicking into the wind. They booted three goals to zero, holding the Sharks goalless for a second straight quarter. Off the back of some great work by Anderson, Sharp was able to get ball to boot early despite slipping over, handing her side the lead. Not long after a multitude of 50s in an undisciplined effort by the Sharks, handed dour full-back Lauren Osborne with the most unlikely of set shots from the goalsquare. The defender delivered for the Swans, extending her side’s lead out to seven points at the 10-minute mark of the quarter.

A kicking in danger call against Ruby Schleicher gave Mikayla Hyde a set shot from 30m, with the talented top-age teenager making no mistake, judging the breeze perfectly. Along with Anderson, Davison and her sister Brianna Hyde, Mikayla was willing her side to victory. With the lead out to 14 points, East Fremantle needed a response, but unfortunately could not muster anything of note as Versaci had a good old fashioned worm burner in the Sharks’ only set shot of the term.

Having to match Swan Districts’ effort of three goals against the breeze in the last quarter, the Sharks got to work looking damaging from the get-go. Katelyn Catalano got them on the board for the first time since midway through the first term, albeit soccering through a behind. Swans had moved Boucher to defence in order to add some extra experience behind the ball, but she was caught holding Sara Lewis who made no mistake from 15m out and got the ball rolling for the home team. The Swans continued to attack, but the work of Norrish, Williams and Schleicher was keeping them at bay. Morrison missed an uncharacteristic flying shot at the goal six minutes into the term to make the margin eight points, which would end up being the Swans last score of the game.

East Fremantle dominated possession the next six minutes, but it would take a defensive effort from Versaci who laid a terrific tackle, to nail a set shot from 15 metres to draw within two points. In a surprise to no one, it was O’Sullivan who popped up with the game-winner. Receiving the handball out of a stoppage, O’Sullivan put ball to boot with a clever snap to create something out of nothing and hand her side the lead with five minutes to play. Chloe Reilly almost kicked a third goal in a few minutes with the outside of the boot, but it went through the wrong sticks.

The lead was still four points, and despite Mikayla Hyde and Davison pressing up the wing great defensive pressure from the Sharks kept the Swans from advancing any further. With a couple of repeat stoppages inside 50 – and an O’Sullivan set shot that chewed her 30 seconds off the clock – the reigning premiers were able to hold on in a game that was as unpredictable as the 2020 year, and move through to face Peel Thunder in the preliminary final next week.

EAST FREMANTLE 2.2 | 2.2 | 2.2 | 5.5 (35)
SWAN DISTRICTS 0.1 | 1.3 | 4.4 | 4.5 (29)

GOALS: 

East Fremantle: S. Pluschke, L. Bird, S. Lewis, L. Versaci, K. Catalano.
Swan Districts: M. Morrison, A. Sharp, L. Osborne, M. Hyde.

ADC BEST:

East Fremantle: G. O’Sullivan, S. Wong, M. Ross, J. Norrish, A. Williams
Swan Districts: M. Hyde, B. Hyde, S. Davison, J. Cox, A. Ralph

In an equally topsy-turvy game, minor premiers Subiaco were able to hold on in a low-scoring win over Peel Thunder to book a spot in the WAFL Women’s Grand Final. The Lions booted the only two goals of the first term to lead by 13 points, before the Thunder kicked three of the next four majors to hit the front at half-time. Trailing by two points at the main break, Subiaco edged ahead courtesy of a 1.2 to 0.0 third term, and in wet conditions held on in a no-score final term. The end result was a 4.4 (28) to 3.4 (22) victory in favour of the Lions who now have a week off to await the winner of Peel Thunder and East Fremantle in the preliminary final next weekend.

Kia Buckley (two goals), Aimee Schmidt (one) and Abbey Dowrick (one) all hit the scoreboard for the Lions, while Kate Bartlett (two) and Chloe Wrigley (one) were the major goalkickers for the Thunder in defeat. Subiaco’s best were Jessica Ritchie, Tiah Haynes and Ange Stannett, while the experience of Hayley Miller was crucial. For the Thunder, Wrigley, Courtney Rowley and Tanisha Anderson were all named amongst the best and will be important in their clash next week.

Picture: (via) East Fremantle Women’s Facebook