WEST Australian Football League (WAFL) clubs welcomed back their national Under-18 champions with open arms in Round 14. This week a Friday night double-header took place which saw the ladder leaders get an almighty scare.
Did Peel Thunder keep up their winning streak?
Read on to find out all the details.
WAFL Colts Round 14
Claremont 13.8 (86) def. Subiaco 6.5 (41)
Claremont continued its excellent recent form while putting a massive dent in the finals hopes of Subiaco with a very impressive 45-point win over Claremont on Friday evening.
After a tightly contested first quarter which the Lions edged by two points, a 4.3 to 0.0 second quarter by the Tigers helped set up the victory. The Lions won their second quarter for the game in the third term cutting the margin to just 16 points with just 25 minutes to play.
But good teams know how to produce when the game is on the line and Claremont managed to do just that, again keeping their opponents scoreless while slamming on four goals of their own. State representatives Callum Jamieson and Liam Henry were instrumental in finishing the job off for the visitors. The win sees Claremont move three and a half games clear of the sixth placed Lions.
The Tigers only had 37 inside 50s but were incredibly clinical with 21 scoring shots, 10 more than their opponents. They also amassed 79 more disposals (352-273).
For the Tigers it was the duo of Jye Clarke and Jack Cooley who led the way combining for 68 disposals and 10 inside 50s between them. Isaiah Butters contributed in many ways with 18 disposals, six marks and two goals, while Henry was a typical livewire with 26 disposals, six marks and two goals. The work rate of Jamieson was terrific with 20 hit-outs and two goals to go along with 10 disposals. Meanwhile, Ben Golding tried his heart out for the Lions with 29 disposals, 10 tackles, eight marks and a goal to top it off.
Peel 8.9 (57) def. East Perth 8.8 (56)
It was not pretty by any means, but Peel would not care one bit as the Mandurah-based club won their sixth game in a row, defeating East Perth by one point in the second game of the double-header at Leederville Oval on Friday evening.
The Royals made all the running in the first half leading by 10 points at quarter time and extending it to 15 at the long break.
For a team with so many attacking weapons and by far the best percentage in the league at over 160 per cent, it was a lacklustre first 50 minutes of action by the premiership favourites as they produced their lowest opening half of the season (2.3). Coming off the bye, they perhaps needed that scratchy performance, as come the third quarter they were a different side kicking four goals to trim the margin. Peel have often produced a quarter of scintillating footy to swamp their opponents, but to East Perth’s credit they did not crumble, kicking three goals of their own with Cody Rodgers booting two of them.
Key Peel focal point Ben Middleton started the final term in just the fashion they wanted when he kicked his second to cut the margin to under a kick, but the Royals had the answers again when Rodgers continued to, have a impact by claiming his third goal. With the game on a knives edge, it needed someone to step up and be counted for their team and that man was state representative Tyrone Thorne who cut the margin again. It was then up to Jackson Knight to win the game. He did not win it by a goal, but two behinds and it was enough to see Peel continue their march to the minor premiership.
It was a gutting way to lose for the Royals who led for all but 13 of the 100 minutes of game time. Three weeks ago, the WAFL wrap discussed the upcoming stretch of games for the 2016 grand finalists and how it would decide whether they are contenders or pretenders. After a very good win over premiership hopeful Swan Districts, they have backed it up against Peel, albeit not with the four points. But just like Claremont, they are a certainly a dangerous team and have a lot of weapons that the likes of Peel and Swans will be more than wary of.
State 18s rep Jarvis Pina did not miss a beat on his return to club duty amassing 33 disposals, five tackles and five marks. While Knight was not only the match winner, he was also a tireless worker with 22 disposals, eight tackles and seven inside 50s. For the Royals, Cooper Sparks toiled hard all night with 25 disposals and five inside 50s while bottom ager Adam Boules and Patrick Reilly embodied the commitment of the Royals’ performance with eleven and ten tackles respectively.
East Fremantle 12.9 (81) def. Swan Districts 5.7 (37)
In a battle of two teams on long losing streaks, it was East Fremantle who got back on the winning track with a emphatic 44-point victory at East Fremantle Oval.
The Sharks got off to a good starting in their quest to end their nine game losing run leading by 10 points at quarter time. But it was the second term where they really excelled kicking 5.2 to just one goal and led by 37 points at the long break.
The Sharks had winners all over the ground and their midfielders were the beneficiary of complete ruck dominance (34 hit-outs to two). The weight of possession told a story with the Sharks having 61 more disposals (169-108), 18 more inside 50s (28-10) which led to 12 more scoring shots (14-2). Basically it was an annihilation and Swan Districts needed to act very quickly if they wanted to get back in the game.
However it was not to be with Under-18 All Australian Trent Rivers leading the way. The midfielder had 15 disposals and two goals to half-time, and went on with the job in the third term adding another eight disposals and a goal to his tally. The Sharks extended their lead to 46 points at three quarter time. A example of East Fremantle’s total team performance was that of the t10 goals they had kicked to this point, there was eight individual goalkickers.
The final quarter played out with Swans getting some respectability back by winning their first quarter for the game (2.3 to 2.1). That was small consolation however, as the Sharks players enjoyed singing the club song for the first time since April 14. The emphatic victory was underlined with their continued dominance across all the major categories.
The confidence from winning the U/18s championship filtered through to the players on their return to club level. Jeremy Sharp topped the disposal tallies with 35 disposals, four marks and eight inside 50s. Rivers had 26 disposals, five tackles and three goals, while Luke Jackson was supreme with 17 disposals, seven tackles, a goal and 38 hit-outs.
On a tough day for Swans, it was Jak Watson who led the way in a wholehearted fashion with 27 disposals, eight tackles and three marks. With that loss the former ladder leaders have slipped to fourth place, just above East Perth on percentage. They have two byes in the space of the next three weeks and that will help to refresh any tired bodies, while there are a few talented prospects ready to resume Colts action who could make a big difference.
While the result was a negative, the clear positive for Swan Districts as a club was the fact that WA Under 18s star Denver Grainger-Barras made his debut for the senior team. The versatile 17 year-old certainly held his own with 12 disposals and four marks and is someone to keep a very close eye on ahead of the 2020 national draft.
Perth 8.14 (62) def. South Fremantle 6.10 (46)
After five consecutive defeats, Perth returned to the winners circle with a solid 16-point victory over South Fremantle at Mineral Resources Park on Saturday afternoon.
In this contest between the teams placed eighth and ninth it was a very tight first half with nothing more than a few points separating the teams. Perth went into the long break with a three point lead but had the majority of play on their watch with 40 more disposals (167-127), eight more marks (47-39) and 17 inside 50s.
Regan Clarke, the player with nerves of steel who won the WA the national U18s title with his last second goal against Vic Country, kept up his momentum in the first half with 14 disposals and four marks. While his state teammates Elijah Taylor and Nathan O’Driscoll had 13 and 12 disposals respectively. Meanwhile, Manfred Kelly led the way with 14 disposals for the Bulldogs.
In a game dying to be broken open, it was the Demons who did so in the third term. In keeping with the pattern of the contest, it wasn’t particularly pretty but the home side kicked 2.5 to 1.2 which gave them a two goal lead heading into the last term, which in truth felt a whole lot more in such a low scoring contest.
However, Darryl Anderson gave Bulldogs coach Luke Tedesco exactly what he would have been after with two quick goals either side of a Tarkyn Brogan-Henry major to which cut the margin to six points. However, that was where any possibility of a comeback ended as Perth kicked four goals without reply as Tarkyn Brogan-Henry kicked his second of the quarter with five minutes remaining which snuffed out any hope of a revival by the visitors.
The victory was Perth’s fourth for the season and first since round seven which sees them move ahead of East Fremantle who had temporary hold of that position with their victory earlier in the day. The Demons managed 21 more inside 50s (53-32) saw them record six more scoring shots which in a low scoring encounter made all the difference.
O’Driscoll and Clarke continued their fine first half form and finished with 28 and 26 disposals respectively. The bottom ager O’Driscoll also managed 13 tackles and 10 inside 50s. While the contribution of Brogan-Henry cannot be underestimated as he compiled 21 disposals and two goals. Kelly was a outstanding performer for the Bulldogs with 30 disposals, 10 tackles and nine inside 50s.