AROUND this time of the season you are able to cast a bit of judgement on who may be among the contenders this season. The pacesetters Swan Districts and Peel Thunder were looking to finish the first quarter of the season on a winning note before the league bye for the state game against South Australia next week.
WAFL Colts Round 5
Swan Districts 14.10(94) vs Subiaco 7.9.(51)
Swan Districts produced a second half for the ages by kicking 13 goals to three and overturning a 22-point half-time deficit to thrash Subiaco by 43 points at Bassendean Oval on Saturday morning.
The two grand finalists from 2019 have had vastly different starts to the new season with Swan Districts sitting pretty at the top of the ladder with four wins from as many games. Meanwhile, Subiaco is sitting rock bottom with no wins from three games and with the woeful percentage of 38.7 having not kicked more than six goals in a game this season.
After some overnight rain, conditions would have been a good test especially as we have had a fine and unseasonably warm to the season. From the outset, Subiaco were switched on for the challenge. The reigning premiers had three early entries but could not make the most of their chances. Despite that fact, they looked the better of the sides in the first 20 minutes and got their reward through a mark and goal to Nicolas Martin. If it wasn’t for the influential presence of Jake Pasini being able to read the play superbly and making many clearances from the defensive 50, Swans would have had a bigger deficit than seven points. A skirmish just before the quarter time siren was a clear sign that this was more than your usual early season contest. It remained to be seen if the Lions could continue their outstanding pressure for the remaining three quarters.
The early stages of the second quarter were a carbon copy of the first term with tremendous forward line pressure, rewarded when Martin Snapped truly. Swans finally got their first on the board when Ayden Cartwright won a free kick for a push in the back and converted from directly in front. But Subiaco hit back with their third through Martin which coincidentally was his third for the game. When a infringement occurred in the Swans’ defensive 50 close to the half time siren, Levi Duyckers was the beneficiary and kicked a huge goal in the context of the contest giving the Lions a 22-point lead to take into the long break.
To be honest, it was all that the visitors deserved. They controlled play all over the ground and their dominance was shown by the fact they had 12 scoring shots to five and taken the ball inside 50 five more times (23-18). Nicolas Martin was undisputedly the star of the half with 18 disposals, six marks and three goals. He was well supported by Tristan Hobley with 23 disposals and Lions ruckman Xavier Peacock giving his midfielders silver service with 12 hit-outs and four marks to go along with seven disposals. For Swans, Jake Pasini led from the front in a overworked defence with 15 disposals and four marks. But the 2019 WA U18 squad member needed a lot more help if they wanted to keep their 100 per cent record in tact.
Swans got the perfect start to the second half with their best move for the match culminating in Benjamin Taylor (who is the younger brother of GWS key defender Steven) marking and goaling in the square and that was soon followed by Jermarl Daly converting from similar range. Daly then marked from a Taylor kick to the goalsquare and Swans suddenly were only four points behind. The influential Daly who kicked six goals in Round One was turning this game around in similar fashion. The forward kicked his third for the term and it was his best of the bunch from a acute angle on the boundary. Jamison Ugle then joined in on the third quarter domination snapping truly and Swans were able to open up a 16-point lead just before three quarter time when Bodhi Nordahl kicked his first for the game. There was plenty to think about for the Subiaco coaching staff. They were kicking with the aid of a slight breeze in the final term, but needed to find their game again as they were blown away by Swans during that 25-minute term.
However, Swans were on a mission to keep that momentum going and although the teams traded goals in the early stages of the final quarter, the home team were on another level and drove home the advantage with Atem Deng kicking two for the term and providing a number of teammates with one each as the home team in all kicked seven goals to three and ran out 43-point winners to seal their fifth win in a row. The turn around in this contest was something else. At half time you would have thought there was only going to be one winner with the reigning premiers prevailing. However, Swans are desperate to go one better than their heartbreaking loss in 2018 and this victory sent a clear message to their rivals. For the Lions, it would be a tough loss to swallow. Everything was clicking in the second half and they had undoubtedly played their best footy of the season. However it all turned into a nightmare in the second half and the gulf between the two teams was there to see.
Star of the Day
Only a handful of Swan Districts player were contributors throughout the full four quarters. Jake Pasini was one of those, holding the fort at one end with superb defensive play and driving the ball into their attacking half. But if you are looking for an out and out game breaker, then Jermarl Daly would be the man. Swans needed someone to stand up after looking decidedly toothless in the attacking 50 metre arc in the first 50 minutes. After the break, Daly was that man putting himself front and centre and if he didn’t score a goal himself, his presence set it up for his teammates. Four goals in a half is a pretty good effort to say the least especially when your team was on the ropes. The performance of Daly certainly swung momentum in this contest, no question at all.
Reasons behind the turnaround
As previously stated, Subiaco held sway in the inside 50s by five at half time. By the end of the game it had shifted to the Swan Districts’ advantage by twelve (46-34). When you narrow it down to the second half, it was 28-11 in the home teams favour. It led to nineteen scoring shots to just four by the Lions. Subiaco still won the possession count handily (333-287) but their disposals in the second half were ineffective as Swans were terrific in pushing them away from the corridor and near the boundary line. Nicolas Martin who was superb in the first half, only had five disposals and one behind in the second fifty minutes.
IN OTHER GAMES…
Peel 9.18 (67) defeated East Perth 4.6 (30)
Peel Thunder kept the heat on the Black and Whites by winning its fourth game out of four to start the season, defeating East Perth by 37 points at David Grays Arena on Saturday.
The home team led throughout the contest, leading by 15 points at quarter time, 25 at half time, 44 points with a quarter to play and eventually finishing with a six-goal final margin. Once again, the home team shared the load with eight individual goal kickers with 16-year old Jaxon Pitts their only multiple with two. On the possession front it was also very balanced with top ager Bradley Oldfield finishing with 22 disposals and six tackles. Ruckman Brendan Cooke did a fine job giving his mids first use of the ball with 35 hit/outs and 13 disposals. For the Royals, small forward Sam Van Diemen was tireless in his pressure with eight tackles to go along with 17 disposals.
West Perth 9.11 (65) defeated East Fremantle 9.6 (60)
West Perth were able to keep the top two honest after a superb come from behind win over East Fremantle by five points at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday to keep third spot on the ladder. After leading almost exclusively throughout the contest, East Fremantle succumbed to some terrific Falcons pressure and let slip a 14 point lead with only eight minutes to go. Ewan Brazier was the match winner for the visitors kicking truly with just over a minute on the clock. Tyron Hindmarsh willed his team over the line with 28 disposals, seven marks and eleven tackles. WA/U/18 squad member Jaxon Prior was also very good with 23 disposals nine marks and four inside 50s while bottom ager Cooper Blackburn kicked two goals and had 17 disposals and four inside-50s East Fremantle were WA U18 squad member Trent Rivers with 27 disposals and nine inside 50s while his fellow U/18s teammate the highly touted Luke Jackson was terrific with 17 disposals, six inside-50s five marks 28 hit-out and two goals.
Perth 10.4 (64) defeated Claremont 3.14 (32)
Perth gave Claremont a lesson in accurate kicking by winning by 32 points despite having three less scoring shots. The Demons set up their win in the first term kicking three goals to none and increased their lead steadily throughout the contest. A pair of Demon WA U18 squad members celebrated their selection in style. Deven Robertson was prolific with 37 disposals, five tackles and four inside 50s. He was well supported by the in-form Elijah Taylor who was terrific again with two goals from his 25 disposals while Bailey Smith also had 25. In a tough day for the Tigers, it was the ruck/forward Callum Jamieson who stood out with 19 disposals, 38 hit-outs and four inside 50s.