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2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Finals Week 1 – Claremont vs. East Perth

CLAREMONT will face off against WAFL Colts minor premier Swan Districts for the second time in three weeks, after downing East Perth by 41 points in week one of the 2021 finals series. The Tigers were inaccurate early on but found their groove and snared crucial goals at the end of the first two terms to restore leads. A five-goal third quarter then helped Claremont break the contest open, before running out comfortable victors with another four majors in the final stanza.

We highlight a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes with a particular focus on state representatives, before taking a look around the grounds and up the grades.

>> Player Focus: Angus Sheldrick (Claremont)

SCOUTING NOTES

Claremont 13.9 (87) def. East Perth 6.10 (46)

Claremont:

#17 Hugh Davies

His final stats of seven disposals and two marks hardly do justice to the role Davies played in defence, with the bottom-ager making several important plays on the last line. He looked composed in a series of crises, able to work things out across defensive 50 and apply ample pressure on East Perth’s forwards when the ball hit the deck. In the air, he rose for some timely spoils and was desperate enough to keep the play alive with little margin for error.

#22 Sam Gilbey

Another bottom-aged defender who hardly garnered massive stats (six disposals, two marks, one goal), Gilbey still managed to show glimpses of his massively promising skillset on Saturday. Both of his marks were lovely intercepts up the ground, which he used to move the ball on quickly heading inside attacking 50. On the first occasion, Gilbey showed off his impressive left-foot kick with a booming goal just before quarter time, seeing Claremont regain the lead. He competed well to turn the ball over and pressed a high line, before being used further afield in the final term and even shaving the post with another shot on goal.

#27 Angus Sheldrick

Arguably the best player afield, Sheldrick got to work early and put in an absolute shift out of Claremont’s engine room. While able to win the contested ball with his strength and grit, Sheldrick also displayed a phenomenal work-rate to get his legs pumping with some green ball and find possessions around the ground. He helped drive the Tigers forward and despite lacking a finishing touch at times, put the ball into dangerous spots. He was in the wars during term three with a head knock and big hit from Jye Amiss, but got back to work to finish with a game-high 24 disposals, 12 tackles, and five inside 50s to go with a first term goal.

#29 Jahmal Stretch

The crafty small forward is one who has the ability to light up any passage of play, and certainly did that with his 10 disposals, three marks and two goals. An early rush of blood saw him burn a teammate over the top when running into an open goal, but Stretch built into his best work by hitting the ball at speed and springing up for marks inside 50. His first goal came shortly after a set shot fell short, and he added another in term four with a quick snap which showcased his high level goal sense. With terrific pressure acts and sparks of individual brilliance, Stretch continues to be an eye-catching goalsneak.

#32 Jacob van Rooyen

He doesn’t need too many chances to make a real impact, and that is exactly what van Rooyen did during a three-goal third quarter. The strong-bodied key forward helped Claremont kick away with majors at the beginning, middle and end of term three after a relatively quiet first half. His fundamental strengths were solid throughout without much opportunity, but came to the fore during said period with a couple of strong pack marks and set shot conversions. While only earning a modest seven disposals, he made them count with four marks and those three majors to go with some imposing pressure acts.

#35 Luke Brown

Another bottom-ager who managed to show glimpses of potential, Brown finished up with a couple of really handy goals from his five touches. The 199cm ruck-forward first got his hands on the ball through sheer reach in the ruck, before booting those two majors in the second half. The first was a terrific bit of improvisation, as the bigman volleyed the ball home off a deep spillage. His second goal was also manufactured off a pack, as Brown gathered and quickly snapped the ball through to show great skill for a player of his size.

Others:

Claremont had a bunch of solid contributors on each line, starting with the likes of Talon Delacey (19 disposals, five inside 50s) and Kendyll Blurton (15 disposals, five tackles) in midfield. Arthur Jones was again productive on the wing with 17 touches and five inside 50s, while Campbell Rogers played a key hand down back. Speaking of, Sean Williams’ effort to keep leading goalkicker Jye Amiss scoreless was outstanding, as was Peter Coles’ three-goal haul at the other end. In the way of state squad members, Under 17 prospects Edward Allan (wing) and Will Bailey (forward/wing) had their moments, and top-age tall Eric Benning missed with a calf complaint.

East Perth:

#4 Ethan Regan

The West Coast NGA candidate started in midfield, with the East Perth coaches perhaps looking for him to make an early statement with his size and explosiveness. That did not quite eventuate, but Regan built into the game well from his usual high half-forward post. His kick penetration lead directly to goals on two occasions, as Regan linked East Perth from beyond the attacking arc into more dangerous positions.

#7 Jye Amiss

Having built a remarkable streak of kicking multiple goals in all of his previous WAFL Colts and state Under 19 outings, Amiss was finally shut-out on Saturday. The West Australian spearhead was hardly given an inch inside attacking 50 and did not always receive the best delivery in any case. Most of his work was done further afield, where he ventured on searching leads and showed some really nice moments of poise to hit targets on the way back to goal. He later showed signs of a confidence dip with a couple of dropped marks, perhaps the product of perceived pressure having been under the pump all game.

#9 Kade Dittmar

A strong figure in the East Perth midfield, Dittmar offered plenty of his usual power and contested ball winning prowess on Saturday. His physicality on the inside was evident, as he looked to bustle through tackles and apply some punishing ones of his own. While Dittmar gained a good amount of distance on his clearances, with eight of his 15 disposals sent inside 50, he tended to dump kick at times and couldn’t quite hit the target with a couple of attempts on goal. Still, his intent matched the finals atmosphere.

#11 James Tunstill

Tunstill was one who started the game brightly, producing some eye-catching moments in midfield and rotating forward to snare a first term goal. He was prominent at ground level, collecting the ball cleanly and finding ways to slip or spin to the outer where he could gain a bit more meterage. His goal came from a set shot after marking well overhead, converting the chance well from 40m. Tunstill finished up with 14 disposals and three inside 50s, marking a solid return after his promising opening.

#26 Kaden Harbour

Another who was productive in spurts, Harbour brought good intent and effort to the finals contest. He chased up loose balls and worked up the ground for his side, with one play seeing him break at pace with two running bounces before kicking inside 50. The small forward produced another great inside 50 foray in term three which was not finished off, and his closest attempt on goal hit the post with a snap from the pocket.

#34 Jedd Busslinger

Hardly overawed by the finals occasion as a bottom-ager, Busslinger saved his side’s blushes several times on the last line of defence. The 195cm prospect proved difficult to beat both aerially and at ground level, showing great composure to mop up under pressure and move the ball on cleanly. He was never rushed despite the heavy pressure at times, and proved his commitment with a goal-saving mark which saw him thud into the goal post. Busslinger was swung forward in term four, and finished with four marks from his nine disposals.

Others:

No East Perth player notched over 20 touches on Saturday, but speedy midfielder Jayden Peak was the closest with 18. His run-and-carry proved productive, as did the skills of wingman Oscar Armstrong (13 disposals), who kicked a fantastic long-range goal in term three. Kalani Brooks was another to step up in midfield with 16 disposals and five tackles, while state Under 17 squad member Jordyn Baker showed a bit with nine disposals up on the wing.

AROUND THE GROUNDS:

In the other colts final, East Fremantle advanced in Sunday’s knockout bout against West Perth, downing the Falcons by 29 points after trailing narrowly at the first break. The Sharks, bolstered by an array of quality state squad members, soon clicked into gear and manufactured nearly double the Falcons’ scoring shots (20-11).

It was unsurprising to see Josh Browne top the disposal charts once again, racking up a game-high 32 to go with six inside 50s and a goal. Fellow draft combine invitee Corey Warner and bottom-ager Jed Hagan supported him well, while Melbourne father-son candidate Taj Woewodin also found plenty of the ball. In-form tall Josh Cripps kicked a goal from 19 touches, and Jackson McManus – the nephew of Shaun – snagged a game-high three majors.

A pair of promising bottom-agers fared well for the Falcons, as Kane Bevan notched 31 disposals and six marks, while defender Griff Julian clunked eight grabs among his 23 touches. Luke Michael matched the latter’s marking feats, and Lochlan Paton got his hands dirty with 12 tackles to go with 18 disposals.

There was not as much action to speak of in a draft sense up the grades, but classy midfielder Matthew Johnson caught the eye with a team-high 23 disposals, nine marks and one goal in Subiaco’s finals win over West Perth. At League level, Jesse Motlop bagged a goal from 11 touches as South Fremantle held on in a one-point thriller against Claremont.

Featured Image: The 2021 WA Under 19s squad huddles before facing SA | Credit: WAFL via Twitter

2021 WAFL Colts: Round 21 weekend wrap

THE 2021 WAFL Colts top five has been locked in after Round 21 went down this past weekend, with Swan Districts officially crowned minor premier. East Perth secured third, while East Fremantle moved clear of West Perth in fourth with just one round of regular season fixtures to play out. After their National Championships dig on Saturday, state Under 19 squad members are also due to return. We recap all the action and outstanding performances in our weekly wrap.

>> Scouting Notes: WA vs. SA U19s

PEEL THUNDER 3.6 | 4.14 | 6.18 | 10.22 (82)
PERTH 2.0 | 2.1 | 4.1 | 7.2 (44)

Peel Thunder will play off for seventh spot against Subiaco next week, after jumping the Lions with a 38-point win over Perth on Friday night. The hosts posted a whopping 32 scoring shots to nine from 29 more inside 50s, running rampant with double Perth’s amount of handballs. After the 10.22 (82) to 7.2 (44) loss, the Demons are one more defeat away from a winless home-and-away campaign.

Luke Polson was a force to be reckoned back in his usual forward post, registering 3.6 from his 15 disposals and seven marks. Michael Sellwood lead all comers with 23 touches while also laying 14 tackles, as Ethan Donaghy (20 disposals, eight inside 50s) was another who got to work for the victors. Elsewhere, smalls Byron Finch and Scott Tuia proved productive, while bottom-age big man Jackson Broadbent returned to the grade after his three-game League venture.

GOALS:

Peel: L. Polson 3, T. Salter 2, J. Klepzig, B. Finch, J. Rush, J. Draper, J. Broadbent
Perth: D. Hill, A. Luers, J. Evans, L. Hodge, H. Quartermaine, M. Hall, J. Robeson

EAST PERTH 1.5 | 4.9 | 6.11 | 10.16 (76)
SUBIACO 1.1 | 1.3 | 2.7 | 3.7 (25)

East Perth secured third place on Saturday morning with a 51-point thumping of Subiaco, seeing the Lions fall to eighth. The Royals made better of possession, producing 16 more scoring shots from just four more inside 50s and while inaccurate at times, they came home strongly with four goals to one in term four. With one round left to play, East Perth needs to make up six per cent and hope Claremont loses to claim second spot.

Kalani Brooks was once again outstanding for the Royals, amassing a game-high 28 disposals, nine marks and two behinds in his side’s victory. Meanwhile, the likes of Jayden Peak (22 disposals) and Oscar Armstrong (21, one goal) extended their consistent runs of form in black and blue. For Subiaco, speedy small Richard Farmer proved a handy addition with his team-high 26 touches, seven inside 50s, and 1.3.

GOALS:

East Perth: W. Cassidy 2, B. Cubahiro 2, O. Armstrong, T. Graham, J. Chadwick, M. Miller, K. Harbour, M. Williams
Subiaco: R. Farmer, C. Woodley, L. Kentfield

EAST FREMANTLE 1.3 | 3.4 | 3.10 | 7.15 (57)
WEST PERTH 1.3 | 3.5 | 4.5 | 5.6 (36)

East Fremantle nabbed a crucial 21-point win over finals rivals West Perth on Saturday, moving a game clear of the Falcons in fourth with both sides now locked into the top five. West Perth lead by a point at the second and third breaks, but the hosts kicked away with 4.5 to 1.1 in the final quarter to finish with double the amount of scoring shots, and give Shark Park the right kind of send-off.

In-form tall Josh Cripps had another big outing for East Fremantle, snaring three goals from 20 touches as fellow forward Kobe McMillan managed 1.3 from his seven marks. In midfield, Joel Baverstock (34 disposals, six inside 50s) took on the primary ball winning role, while Rory Williams and Samuel Emery also got stuck in. Jasper Scaife matched Cripps with three majors for West Perth, while fellow bottom-agers Griff Julian (28 disposals, 11 marks), Kane Bevan (24 disposals, 11 marks), and Luke Michael (14 disposals, eight marks) stood tall.

GOALS:

East Fremantle: J. Cripps 3, R. Bartlett, S. Otto, K. McMillan, T. Foss
West Perth: J. Scaife 3, L. Reilly, C. Blackburn

SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.0 | 3.3 | 5.4 | 6.7 (43)
SWAN DISTRICTS 4.3 | 7.6 | 11.9 | 15.12 (102)

Minor premier Swan Districts again flexed its muscle on the eve of finals, notching a comprehensive 59-point win over South Fremantle on the road. Swans remarkably had less of the ball but made better use of it in advanced territory, requiring an average of just 9.6 disposals per scoring shot. While the victors are two games clear in top spot, South Fremantle ended its season with four-straight losses and will narrowly miss out on finals with a bye next week.

There were plenty of big performances for Swans, lead by the likes of Elijah Hewett (28 disposals, nine inside 50s, 3.2) and Tyrell Metcalf (15 disposals, 4.4). Noah Hannan and Ben Hewett were others to post good numbers, with state squad talent still to come back into the side. Caleb Stephens again put in a shift as the only Bulldog to notch over 20 touches, racking up 33 and seven inside 50s. Mitch Brown also fared well in just his second game back from injury, managing 18 disposals and seven marks.

GOALS:

South Fremantle: C. Stephens, C. Turnbull, J. Hulten, T. Regan, T. Piazzola
Swan Districts: T. Metcalf 4, E. Hewett 3, T Burgess 2, A. Clark, B. Hewett, E. Kane, K. McPartlan, D. Jones, R. Hardeman

Featured Image: East Fremantle’s Ed Curley gets a kick away | Credit: Pixell Photography via East Fremantle FC

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 20 – West Perth vs. South Fremantle

WEST Perth solidified its top five spot on Sunday morning, beating South Fremantle by 47 points to move a game clear of the sixth-ranked side. In what was the lone WAFL Colts fixture for Round 20, the Falcons kicked away with six goals to one in the opening quarter and despite South’s efforts to bridge the gap, skipped away again in term three to lead by 50 points at the last break. In the end, they were a class above in the 14.9 (93) to 6.10 (46) result. We take a look at a few of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes.

SCOUTING NOTES

West Perth 14.9 (93) def. South Fremantle 6.10 (46)

West Perth:

#7 Luke Michael

One of the many promising West Perth bottom-agers, Michael got involved in his side’s positive ball movement from defence and was aggressive in his forays further afield. He timed his runs well to either receive and run through the corridor, or push right up as a marking outlet to go inside attacking 50 by foot. 13 of his 16 disposals were kicks, including five inside 50s, and nine came from marks, exemplifying Michael’s style of play as an effective rebounder.

#8 Lochlan Paton

While not his best outing in the way of skill efficiency, Paton still managed to get the ball in dangerous areas as he played almost exclusively off half-forward. The state Under 19s squad member again worked hard up the ground and looked to use his class on the way back, while contributing his usual tackling efforts with five overall. He displayed smooth movement in possession, finishing with 19 touches and six inside 50s in the Falcons’ win.

#12 Darcy Dixon

Dixon was everywhere at times in the first half and started like a house on fire, booting two goals in the first 15 minutes. He brought great energy to the contest with his power and turn of speed, creating some positive run and explosive feats around the ground – including an outstanding overhead mark for his first major. The 19-year-old midfielder-forward continued to drive West Perth forward after half time but as a touch more patchy compared to his grand opening, ending up with 15 disposals and 2.2.

#19 Griff Julian

Along with fellow bottom-ager Michael in defence, Julian was a solid member of the back six. He showed nice bits of poise on the ball to find targets in tight spots when roaming up the ground, while also proving strong back in defensive 50. In a solid performance which yielded 21 disposals and six marks, Julian moved the ball on quickly and took full advantage of a 50m penalty to hit the scoreboard in term two.

#23 Kane Bevan

Having been utilised as more of a key position outlet at either end of the ground, the 192cm Bevan has moved into midfield of late and continues to thrive. The state Under 17s squad member racked up a game-high 27 disposals, including seven marks, and six inside 50s. He used his big frame around the contest to bustle away and roll would-be tacklers off his back, while showcasing his clean hands both at the coalface and in a string of impressive overhead marks during term three. He snuck forward before half time to claim a goal, making for a well-rounded outing.

#40 Jasper Scaife

West Perth’s fourth state Under 17s squad member, Scaife is one for Fremantle fans to watch as yet another Dockers NGA prospect. The 195cm ruck/forward was primarily stationed in attack and showed some promising signs, moving well for his size with ball in hand. He notched the game’s first goal with a confidently struck set shot from 50m, before adding a couple of minor scores among his 11 touches for the day.

South Fremantle:

#6 Mitchell Brown

In his first game back from injury since Round 4, Brown was eased into things as he started the game in attack. He began brightly too, presenting well at half-forward and sneaking on the end of a lovely passage to put through South Fremantle’s first goal of the game. He was then shifted into midfield after quarter time where he managed to register 13 disposals and five tackles in what was a solid return game for the 18-year-old, who was a state Under 16 representative in 2019.

#18 Aaron Drage

A regular ball winner for South Fremantle, Drage went about his usual business with 22 disposals and a goal on Sunday. The solidly-built midfielder put his frame over the ball and was typically effective by hand, helping release to the outer while also working back when South lost the initial midfield battle. Drage’s goal came in the second quarter, as he received on the move and waltzed into about 40m, steadying nicely before converting his shot.

#20 Caleb Stephens

Stephens has been one to stand up week-after-week for South Fremantle, and did so once again with a team-high 26 disposals in Round 20. He started in midfield for the first and third terms but also spent plenty of time in defence, where he would fight to win the ball back and move it quickly on the rebound. Stephens was relatively effective with the ball and pulled down a strong contested mark in the third quarter, capping off another solid outing for the 18-year-old.

#29 Chase Bourne

A great point of difference in South Fremantle’s midfield with his speed, Bourne provided some much-needed spark for the Bulldogs. The 2005-born prospect did everything on the move and kept moving after each touch, chaining together a few handy passages to break the lines going forward. With 19 disposals, five tackles and five inside 50s, Bourne wasn’t afraid to show a bit of cheek and backed his flair up with impactful play.

Image Credit: Brian Conduit/West Perth FC