Tag: south fremantle

WAFL League Player Focus: Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

SOUTH FREMANTLE young small forward Jesse Motlop, the son of former Port Adelaide and North Melbourne player Daniel, has had an impressive 2021 season across the WAFL Colts and PSA competitions. His form and undeniable potential earned him a WAFL League debut with South Fremantle, against fellow finals contenders Swan Districts.

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy prospect ended up being an important part of the side’s six-goal victory, chiming in with two goals of his own in the third quarter whilst setting up a few more throughout the entirety of the game.

POCKET PROFILE

Jesse Motlop
South Fremantle/Western Australia

DOB: 23/11/2003
Height/Weight: 176cm/74kg
Position: Small Forward/Midfielder

Strengths: Speed, smarts, goal sense

2021 Averages:
WAFL Colts
(4 games)

15.3 disposals | 2.5 marks | 3.0 tackles | 4.0 inside 50s | 1.5 goals (6 total)

Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

2021 WAFL League, Round 15 | Swan Districts 9.5 (59) def. by South Fremantle 15.5 (95)

#49 Jesse Motlop (South Fremantle)

Stats: 13 disposals (10 kicks, 3 handballs), 6 marks, 4 tackles, 1 inside 50, 2 goals

Q1

It was a low-key opening term for Motlop in his debut senior outing. Starting the game on the bench, he wasn’t sighted until about eight minutes in as he took his position in the goal square as the deepest forward for his first centre bounce.

His first involvement in general play came deep inside 50 where he hit the front and centre of a marking contest, cleanly picking the ball up off the ground and in a position to run into an open goal, but was brought down as soon as he picked it up for a stoppage.

He held the ball to an opponent not long after to get a stoppage in front of goal, though it didn’t result in anything. The only disposal Motlop would record for the first term came as he pushed up the ground to be a switch option from the corridor to the boundary, taking the ball on his chest uncontested before running it up a few steps and then lacing it out to a teammate on the wing, who was able to move the ball quickly and get it inside 50 for a goal.

Despite not racking up numbers on the stats sheet, Motlop was involved in the South Fremantle forward half, pressuring opponents to cause a few turnovers and stoppages, giving his side opportunities to score and making his one kick count.

Q2

Once again taking the role as a deep forward, Motlop wasn’t given many opportunities to use the footy, with the talls of South Fremantle being the targets and Swan Districts doing well to intercept balls as they flew in. He did continue to show the pressure work he did the previous quarter, laying two tackles around the forward 50 where his second efforts saw him get back at the opposition with the ball. He showed a lot of courage at times as well, getting involved in a marking contest where neither player held the ball, but he got straight back up to follow up.

Motlop moved up the ground to get involved when it was a bit of an arm wrestle, where he won the ball off the hands of a marking contest and followed his momentum by running back towards his defensive 50 through traffic, able to maintain possession whilst running through a pack of five Swan Districts players. He side-stepped to avoid being grabbed and hit a handball to a runner from the backline. He made it obvious the front and centres were a speciality area a few times, demonstrating why he was being paired under a tall forward down deep with his clean pick-ups below his knees.

Motlop worked into the game well in the second quarter, making the most of his opportunities to show his potential for eye-catching plays, but really impressing with his pressure work, second efforts and reading of the ball off hands more than anything, playing his small forward role particularly well despite not hitting the scoreboard.

Q3

The third quarter saw Motlop taking a bit more freedom and pushing up the ground, getting free around the back end of the centre square to be used a couple of times by his teammates. In those instances, he was able to lose opponents with his acceleration or repeated lead efforts. He followed up with generally good ball use, spotting out leading teammates up the field to put them in a good spot to move the ball forward.

One kick into the middle of the ground initially looked poor, but bounced well for his teammates to win the contest and get it long forward for an easy South Fremantle goal. Motlop’s high work rate was again on display, as he made gut runs to impact opponents, even if they moved the ball on before he got there he’d follow up and try and impact the next contest.

He got himself on the scoreboard with two goals in the third quarter, with both being a good example of his forward craft and ability to get free in dangerous spots. The first was more through his high work rate and repeat leading efforts, as he lost his opponent inside forward 50 and was spotted up by a teammate, taking a mark over his head about 40 out right in front of goal, where he went back and slotted it straight through from afar. The second goal came through his footy smarts, peeling off from where a pack was going to form, standing free right in front of goal about 25 out, then being used by his teammate coming out of the pack taking it on the chest and slotting his second.

Motlop continued to do the things he had been doing well in the third, whilst adding two goals for some additional impact and reward for all his hard work over the game. When given the freedom to push further up the ground, he finds the ball and can get into good spots to be a marking option, with generally strong ball use forward and a great ability to kick start scoring opportunities with his disposal choice.

Q4

As both teams reverted to a safer way of moving and carrying the ball the opportunities for a front and centre specialist dried up very quickly, meaning Motlop wasn’t as lively around the goals but still won a bait of ball around the boundary line inside 50. There were a couple of times he found himself stuck with a close option, but opted to kick to the square or go for goal, but the Swan Districts defenders would intercept and move the ball on. Moved up the ground and got a mark in the defensive 50 as South brought it in from a behind and kicked well to a teammate.

He essentially handed a goal to one of his taller teammates in the final quarter, as he collected a ground ball off one bounce about three meters out from the goal square, standing his ground in a tackle as he spun to face the goals, handballing it off to ensure it was a goal.

Closing thoughts:

It was an impressive debut at League level for Motlop after impressing at Colts and PSA levels through the year. He looked comfortable amongst bigger bodies and didn’t noticeably struggle with the physicality, looking courageous as he ran head first into packs and impacted contests in the forward half of the ground.

He had quite a few flashy moments with his agility and ability to find the right options with his disposal, setting up scoring plays, but his fundamentals of the game and work rate are what ultimately sets him up to be the smart and damaging player he is, forcing turnovers or backwards disposals from the opposition by pressuring them with his closing speed. This game showed a good base for Motlop and suggests plenty of potential to impact at the next level.

Image Credit: South Fremantle/WAFL

WAFLW Round 12 Preview

WEST Australian Football League Women’s (WAFLW) action returns to its scheduled programming this weekend with plenty of enticing matchups across two days of action.

Peel Thunder v South Fremantle

These two sides will claim a blockbuster 5pm time slot as they face off at David Grays Arena on Saturday evening. In what looms as a one-sided affair, Peel Thunder will look to roll on from last weekend’s triumph over Claremont to the tune of 11 points. In that match, Kira Phillips continued her strong form in front of goal with a bag of four, and will be one for South Fremantle defenders to keep a close eye on. Teammate Ella Roberts has been in excellent form of late, finishing as one of her side’s best on Saturday, and may prove crucial in this contest. The win saw Peel Thunder cement their spot in second place for the time being, but a loss here would be detrimental to holding on to that spot. South Fremantle’s clash with Swan Districts last weekend was abandoned after South Fremantle youngster Cali Hunt was taken away in an ambulance after a brutal collision, though she was later cleared of serious injury. South Fremantle were trailing by 37 points at the time in a game that looked out of reach. An upset seems unlikely this weekend, but nothing is set in stone.

Subiaco v Swan Districts

The two form teams of the competition will do battle as Subiaco look to extend their three-game winning streak up, but face the challenge of taking down the undefeated Swan Districts at Leederville Oval on Sunday afternoon. Subiaco have found themselves on quite a roll with three consecutive wins, with each win boosted by the momentum of the last. With a finals spot within reach, Subiaco kicked away in the second half last week to secure the win against East Fremantle, as their ability to score at will was once again on display. Lara Filocamo was once again in the bests and will be one that Swan Districts will need to lock down early on in the contest. Swan Districts just keep on rolling, recording their 11th win of the year from 11 games last weekend. Through the middle, keep an eye on Dana East, as the young gun will use her cleanliness and toughness to make life hard for opponents.

East Fremantle v Claremont

The final game of the round will see Claremont travel to New Choice Homes Park to take on East Fremantle on Sunday afternoon, with crucial ramifications for both sides. East Fremantle have found themselves dangerously close from falling away from the finals race, compounded by last weekend’s loss to a rampaging Subiaco side. They now sit two wins outside the top five, and with the race to the postseason heating up, they will need to find some victories over the next few weeks. Paisley Prentice fought hard in a losing side, and deserves reward for her weekly efforts. Claremont had the opportunity to snatch second place from Peel Thunder in their clash last weekend, but the opportunity went begging as they fell by 11 points. A response is needed if they are to maintain their position near the top of the pack, especially with Subiaco rising fast. Young gun Tessa Doumanis will be crucial in their side’s chances to get back on track with a win this weekend.

Picture credit: WA Football

2021 WAFL Women’s Round 11 preview: Swan Districts focused on staying grounded ahead of blockbuster clash

ROUND 11 of the Western Australia Football League Women’s (WAFLW) is set to deliver one of the most exciting games of the season as second-placed Peel Thunder is set to take on the undefeated Swan Districts in a top of the table clash on Sunday afternoon. The matchup has been highly anticipated all week, with plenty at stake for both sides. Swan Districts have continued to display their class on a weekly basis, while Peel Thunder have executed a terrific rise to prove themselves as a legitimate contender to dethrone their opponent in the near future.

Swan Districts coach Adam Dancey said the club’s preparation heading into the game will not be majorly adjusted despite the hype around the match and referenced the club’s narrow win over Subiaco as an example that any team can win or lose at any time.

“Our preparation has been pretty normal,” Dancey said. “Subiaco showed us two weeks ago if we give people an opportunity, they’re going to take that, and we’ve got to be at our best at all times. “We discuss who we are playing but that’s all it is, a discussion.”

Swan Districts made WAFLW history last week, becoming the first team to win nine consecutive games since the inception of the league in 2018. It is an amazing feat and one could be forgiven for getting ahead of themselves in this situation, but Dancey has thanked a popular book for keeping his players in reality for the entire season. Dancey has had a fantastic influence on the club since arriving and credits changing his mindset.

“The Resilience Project changed the way I thought about my coaching significantly,” Dancey said. “We’ve taken the principals from that book and rolled it into our footy, this is how we want to enjoy our life and our footy, to be grateful for the opportunity. “We asked a lot of the girls to read the book and a lot of them came back, and they came back with different attitudes.”

Sides all over the league are improving their team lineups heading into round 11, with the conclusion of the AFLW season resulting in an influx of players. Dancey described the difficulties of managing having an excess of performing players.

“The biggest challenge is managing the personnel, to go to a player to tell them they are going to miss because of the talent coming back from the AFLW,” Dancey said. “It’s a tough conversation to have. “We said early on that as a coaching group, we are going to do our best to pick the best 22, and if you’re in that, enjoy it, if you’re not, come and see us for feedback. “Be grateful you are apart of the club, and that you have an opportunity to improve. “To the girls credit, they have.”

Their opponent in the Peel Thunder have greatly improved since their Round 3 clash, where Swan Districts scored a 28-point victory. Since then, Peel Thunder have lost just one game (by three points) and have really found a style of football that works. The Swan Districts coach is aware the winning streak could be over at any moment, and the Peel Thunder will be hoping to be the side that does this.

Around the grounds, Subiaco will travel to Revo Fitness Stadium to take on Claremont on Sunday morning. In the Mother’s Day clash, Claremont will look to bounce back from their loss to Swan District, and keep themselves in contention, as they sit one win behind Peel Thunder for second place. Subiaco sit one spot below their opponent, but with three less wins, so a victory here would keep them in the hunt.

The final match of the round features a cross town clash, as South Fremantle host East Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, in a crucial clash for the bottom two sides. South Fremantle remain winless after nine games, and will be looking at this match as an opportunity to break the drought. Meanwhile, East Fremantle have found themselves on a four-game losing streak, to end up with a 2-7 record, but only one win out of the top four. With plenty on the line for both teams, expect a ferocious contest.

Picture credit: Swan Districts

2021 WAFL Colts MOTR: Round 1 – South Fremantle vs. West Perth

THE 2021 WAFL Colts competition got underway on the weekend, with the four fixtures providing some fairly competitive action. It took little time for much of the West Australian Under 19 talent pool to shake off the cobwebs in Round 1, and fans were treated to high-scoring games with end-to-end forays and even a bit of spirit.

Our featured match of the round, played between South Fremantle and West Perth, exemplified everything good about the opening weekend of football. In a contest littered with momentum shifts and fast-paced transitional play, the Bulldogs came out on top by 14 points 15.11 (101) to 13.9 (87) in warm conditions at Fremantle Oval on Saturday morning.

We take you through some of the top performers from either side in our Scouting Notes. Please note, they are the opinion of the individual scout.

SCOUTING NOTES

SOUTH FREMANTLE vs. WEST PERTH

By: Michael Alvaro

South Fremantle:

#9 Julian Hultan

Hultan was a sensation in the attacking half for South Fremantle, finishing with half-a-dozen goals and proving a handful for opposition defenders. While not an overly tall player at 182cm, Hultan defied his listing to play like a key forward at times with the way he commanded space and worked strongly in the air. He opened his account with an opportunistic goal from nothing in the first term and added another in the second, but was sighted contributing more work up the ground before the main break. Afterwards, his forward craft came to the fore inside 50 with some really crafty goals. His composure and willingness to compete at ground level proved the theme for two third term goals, while contested marking became his MO in the fourth with another two majors. Overall, it was a memorable day for the 18-year-old.

#18 Aaron Drage

A key part of the Bulldogs’ strong midfield rotation, Drage won his fair share of ball on the inside early and did not mind getting nice and physical with the opposition. He looked to send the ball forward quickly from congestion with some hurried kicks away at stoppages, but also remained strong under tackling pressure to dish out by hand. As the game wore on, Drage also worked up to either end of the ground and was competitive in his efforts to ensure South could hold on for victory.

#20 Caleb Stephens

Stephens was South’s leading ball winner on the day with 22 disposals and provided some real drive from midfield with a game-high seven inside 50 entries. He looked to set the tone by wheeling and going quickly, while also working to string together some nice handball chains as South broke forward. Stephens almost troubled the scorers in the third term but pulled a snap wide, though his long kick to Lochlan Bloomer ended in a goal assist during the same stanza. He also ran hard back to defence in the fourth quarter after South was beaten in the middle, providing a clutch intercept at the death.

#21 Angus Fraser

Another of the Bulldogs to play a key hand in midfield, Fraser provided a handy point of difference with his willingness to stay on the move once in possession at the contest. He was not as overtly dominant as a pure ball winner, but did some nice things with ball in hand and most importantly, impacted the scoreboard. Fraser’s first major came from a crafty and clean finish at a forward 50 stoppage, showcasing his quick thinking. His second was a set shot conversion on the end of a 50-metre penalty, having initially cut across to turn the ball over inside attacking 50.

#37 Jesse Motlop

The Fremantle Next Generation Academy (NGA) member and son of Daniel was lively in South’s win, rotating through midfield from up forward. He bookended his game inside the attacking 50 and constantly looked to create forward of centre, showing great confidence to take on opponents and baulk his way into open spaces. He first hit the scoreboard with some quick work over the back in term two, putting boot to ball with composure to snap through a classy goal. His second major was the highlight of the day through, as Motlop initiated a give-and-go hemmed in on the boundary, before cutting inside and snapping home once again. He is still a raw type who looks more comfortable up forward, but has rare instincts and constantly backs himself to make something happen.

Others:

Lochlan Bloomer was another South Freo forward to shine, taking his chances well for three goals on the back of some lively work inside 50. Liam Brandis and Ira Jetta were others to provide some spark in the front half, while Lachlan Turley played a key role down back and Toby Dodds‘ work on the rebound was terrific. Another Fremantle NGA prospect, Riley Colborne also showed promise on the wing.


West Perth:

#3 Zac Fleiner

Difficult to miss under his brightly-coloured helmet, Fleiner also has an eye-catching style of play. The run-and-gun defender loves to break the lines out of defence and strung together a number of passages with multiple running bounces. He is a kick-first kind of talent and often sent forward short, darting passes, but can refine some of his work at full tilt. His first term goal was one of the moments of the day, as Fleiner finished from long range on his favoured left foot having taken a couple of bounces and good meterage. While lightly built, another pleasing aspect of Fleiner’s play was his intensity and courage to work back defensively; flying for intercept marks and doing some dirtywork at ground level.

#4 Luke Reilly

Reilly was one who worked well into the game and began to show his best traits once he built up a full head of steam. His first good bit of play came in the second term, with a spearing pass to assist Jack De Marte’s goal. The nippy midfielder looked smooth on the ball and often looked to dart into open space before delivering forward passes by foot. He set the tone for West Perth’s ball movement with a relentless willingness to move it on quickly, constantly looking to move with intent. Reilly seemed to lift in the final term and kicked a goal on the run having taken the advantage from a free kick.

#8 Lochlan Paton

Paton is a player with a lot of class and while he was not overly prolific with 15 disposals, his high level was evident in nearly every possession. He started a little shakily with a poor kick across defensive 50, but redeemed himself with some nice moments in the first quarter. A couple of important defensive efforts led to goals for West Perth in term two; with the first being a smother as South Fremantle looked to break out of defence, and the second a terrific holding the ball tackle which had the same effect. Paton seemed to have more time on the ball than most others and showed off with some nice spins to break out of congestion cleanly. If he can begin to accumulate better and string together such moments more consistently, he could quickly rise in 2021.

#24 Jack De Marte

Leading all comers on the day with 23 disposals (20 kicks), De Marte was one of the more busy players out there. He built into the contest well and began to take hold after quarter time, propping nicely in congestion to get an open kick away and even sneaking forward to snare a goal in term two. His kicking became neater as the game wore on and he was one of the key West Perth players to lift when the game was on the line late. One particularly clutch play saw him lay a tackle and then deliver inside 50 for a Saverio Marafioti goal.

#28 Zarne Robis

Robis was clearly West Perth’s premier forward on the day and finished with four goals in a highly promising display. He took a bit of luck to get going, but exemplified the Falcons’ ability to be efficient inside 50 with two snap goals in the first term. Later, he would showcase his smooth set shot routine to complete the four-goal haul and catch the eye of many onlookers. At 191cm, the 19-year-old is not exactly key position size, but rather dynamic and versatile in the role he plays up forward.

Others:

Cooper Blackburn showed plenty of dash coming out of defence for the Falcons, while Saverio Marafioti‘s raw talent came to the fore up forward with bull-like attack and real penetration in his play. Kane Bevan‘s transition to a key forward role yielded one goal, as Liam McWha and Riley Sprigg battled well in the ruck. Harrison Baxter was also handy in the front half and Jordan Berry had his moments.

Image Credit: AFLNT Media

Swan Districts flex muscles with strong win against Subiaco

SWAN Districts have retained top spot on the ladder after setting up their Sunday afternoon win with a dominant first half performance to win 7.12 (54) to 2.6 (18). In 37-degree heat, the Swans led Subiaco 44-1 at half-time, in what was a clinical performance with contributors all over the ground. In a surprise turn of events, the second half belonged to the visitors as Subiaco were able to negate the attacking ball movement of Swan Districts and outscore their opponent 17-10 to finish the game with promising signs. The second half fade out may disappoint the Swans, but their scintillating first half meant the result was never in doubt.

From the opening bounce, the Swans stamped themselves on the game, dominating clearances and opening up a three-goal lead heading into the first break, and they were not done yet. The exceptional ball movement continued into the second quarter as the pace and ball use of their midfielders and backline created plenty of scoring opportunities for their forward line. Subiaco were beaten around the ball, and when they finally constructed some good play, their forward 50 entries let them down. It almost seemed like a message to the rest of the competition, as the Swans showcased their ability to win the ball and hurt their opposition with their clean ball movement. With a 43-point half-time lead, things were looking ominous for not only Subiaco, but all the teams in the path of the Swans.

The second half told a much different story. Subiaco showed no signs of the team that was stunned earlier on, controlling the game and putting their opponents under constant relentless pressure. Inaccurate kicking meant Subiaco only closed the gap by 10 points, but the signs were promising for a young team in the midst of a rebuild. The fourth quarter was more of the same, with Dana East’s second goal sealing the result and sending her side to the top of the ladder, undefeated after five rounds.

The loss of Sarah Wielstra from the team allowed regular fullback Aimee Ralph to spend more time in the ruck and around the ground, an opportunity she grabbed with both hands. Ralph exerted her influence all over the ground, whether it was perfect palm downs to her midfielders on the run, winning ground balls in an often scrappy game, or hurting the opposition on the scoreboard, chiming in for a goal of her own. The coaches would be wrapped with her ability to adapt to another position and put in a best on ground performance. East was damaging through the middle, using her pace around the ground and kicking two goals. Fellow midfielder Jessica Cox was damaging at ground level, winning plenty of clearances. Mikayla Morrison hit the scoreboard with two goals of her own, while Bella Edgley and Nyra Anderson kicked one goal each.

For Subiaco, the midfield duo of Tarnica Gosliano and Lara Filocamo were major factors in the second half fightback, winning the ball not only at centre clearances but all over the ground. The duo stepped up to bring their team back into the game, and were well assisted by Sarah Walters on the wing, who fought hard in the first half, winning plenty of the ball despite the constant pressure by the Swans. Taylisha Brown and Hayley Corlett kicked one goal apiece.

The win put Swan Districts one game clear on top of the ladder as they prepare to host second placed Claremont in a blockbuster clash on Saturday morning. Subiaco currently sits in fifth place at one win and four losses but will be looking to break the drought against the 0-5 South Fremantle on Saturday afternoon.

In other games this weekend, East Fremantle put in an outstanding performance, smashing the last placed South Fremantle 10.12 (72) to 4.2 (26). For East Fremantle, the goal kickers were Gabby Radojkovich and Paisley Prentice with two goals each and Chloe Reilly, Sharon Wong, Madeline Ross, Ann Mcmahon, Anjelique Raison and Ashleigh Gomes all kicking one goal. Their best players were Alex Williams, Wong, Ellie Sanders, Mcmahon and Kahra Sprylan. For South Fremantle, the goal kickers were Zoe Huggett with two goals and Makaela Tuhakaraina and Makayla Cocking with one goal each. Their best players were Pia Durk, Casey Byrne, Lauren Wakfer and Lauren Vecchio.

At Revo Fitness Stadium, Claremont won in a thriller against the Peel Thunder, claiming the win 5.6 (36) to 5.3 (33). For Claremont, the goal kickers were Katherine Bennett with two goals and Sasha Goranova, Ella Smith and Madeleine Scanlon with one goal each. Their best players were Matilda Dyke, Jessica Low, Bennett, Mackenzie Webb and Jacinta Valentini. For the Peel Thunder, their goal kickers were Kate Bartlett and Kira Phillips with two goals each and Ella Roberts with one goal of her own. Their best players were Chloe Wrigley, Cassie Davidson, Courtney Rowley, Bella Mann and Abby Barnden.

South Fremantle keen to become a destination club

SOUTH Fremantle are gearing up for their second season in the Western Australian Football League (WAFL) Women’s with coach Beau McCormack excited by the young group of players making their way through the club.

“We’re trying to really emphasise South Fremantle as a destination club for females and the other clubs that have been around so we’ve been trying really hard to get an influx and we’re lucky enough to have had around about 19 new girls come to the footy club, this year as well so got a huge spread of girls,” he said.

Coming off the back of a shortened preseason – a similar story to last year – South Fremantle has taken everything in its stride whether it be having to accommodate for lockdown or being flexible with training programs throughout its preseason period to ensure the Bulldogs are in tiptop shape ahead of Round 1.

“We had a shortened introduction last year, three weeks and thrown into league football and this year we were doing our preseason and then had the word that the season was going to be brought forward so again we’ve had a shortened run up I guess. But preseason so far the girls have worked really hard. We have had some challenges with COVID as everyone has, and during some lockdowns the girls have, pushed each other and posted workouts and driven each other to continue to train, albeit with a partner. So, you know, we’re heading in a really good direction.

“We had a scratch match on the weekend and, you know, the fitness levels seem to be, on par with East Fremantle from what we saw so that was a good thing. Gives us a base to work on and see where we’re at and gauge the work they’ve done throughout the preseason,” McCormack said.

McCormack also touched on the difficulties his side along with the other teams in the competition have to encounter on a weekly basis as the players try and juggle a high intensity regime in their personal life.

“Trying to balance work and training and days, and games of roll and stuff at the moment it’s. You just have to have, as we do, a huge bit of flexibility around that, we obviously want girls to come to as many sessions as they can, but our stance on it is, is, family, work, and football, in that order.”

Although 2020 was a difficult season, with the Bulldogs unable to register a win and still finding their feet in the competition there is hope for improvement in the upcoming year as they aim to market South Fremantle as hot property for players to come to. Bursting at the seams with young talent and players in the state programme McCormack did not waste any time highlighting the players looking to make a name for themselves in the squad ahead of this season touting Pia Durk as another star in the makings thanks to her “tough attack on the footy” while there is plenty of promise around Evelyn Burry who “takes the game on and runs hard of half back.” Ash Reidy has also drawn the attention of McCormack with the youngster playing in the Grand Final at the Rogers Cup last year.

“She’s just super strong around the contest, has some great marking ability and her kicking as well so with Ash in full flight she will be the pretty exciting, she’s part of the Fremantle next generation Academy as well over here so you know they’ve already picked up on that, and if we can keep Ash fit and get her fitter as far as her knee I mean, we’re excited to see what she can bring to the team.”

However the side will be without star Taylah Cruttenden who became a regular for South Fremantle last year with the youngster committing to athletics ahead of the World Athletics in Kenya later this year. They could also be without the services of 2020 club leading goal kicker Poppy Stockwell for large chunks of the season given her cricket commitments. But with one door closing, another opens, as McCormack shed some light on a couple of exciting prospects set to take to the park and despite some only being new to the sport boast a wealth of raw potential and talent.

“We’re lucky enough to have Luce Gilchrist, who has been playing for a couple years in the Perth Football League Amateurs for Kurt and Wesley, an outstanding midfielder with just run and carry. It’s pretty phenomenal she’s still learning a game. “But Lucy is as ex-400m runner as well so she’s just can run all day long and skills. “Skills to clean up as she acknowledges, but it’s pretty exciting to watch.”

“We’ve got another young girl, Lauren Wakfer, her grandfather played at South Fremantle. She’s a young 16-year-old girl who’s in the state program. “Had a bit of timeout last year, with an injury and that but is growing every session and is exciting to watch. “In the scratch match on the weekend as well for a young girl, and her ability to go and ruck against some of these seasoned girls. “[She] just puts her body on the line, and just does it all with a massive smile and loves every minute of it so she’s really exciting.

“We have a new girl this year, she has only played one season of football I believe if I’m correct and her name is Makaela Tuhakariana. “She comes from a rugby background but she has burst of speed, and a sidestep that is just blowing people’s minds. “She has exquisite skills even at this stage, she can kick while running flat out. “She brings a tackling pressure obviously from rugby that you know we got some work to do on her technique but she’s not shy, in definitely impacting the contest and a person, in her way so she’s very exciting to watch and I’m sure there’s going to be some, some big things for Mikayla going forward.”

Casting an eye ahead to the upcoming season, McCormack’s main aim for the side was to play a brand of football that was hard hitting and free flowing to ensure that they could capitalise on their strengths.

“I think our brand football we set out last year to play a brand football of high impact football and being known for a hard hitting team, and I think we, we definitely set that example last year and it’s something that we take on and have taken in again to this year, as I said, you know, tackling pressure from my point of view is a huge part of the game and we don’t have it, we get it back,” he said.

“We’ve got some really good runners, that are in the side, just trying to get it out and quick movement of the football from, one end of the ground to the other sort of fast flowing, free flowing football.”

Out to impress: 2020 WAFL Grand Final previews

YOUNG talent continues to turn heads at state league level around the nation, and it has been no different across all three WAFL grades upon the competition’s resumption in 2020. As we await a trio of exciting Grand Final matchups, Draft Central continues its new weekly preview format, highlighting some of the best up-and-comers who will be out to impress with each passing game. With premiership glory up for grabs, stakes are high for the state’s brightest prospects and bonafide stars alike.

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Claremont has earned passage to the final week of all three WAFL grades, with the League side set to take on minor premier, South Fremantle. Only a fortnight ago, the Tigers toppled their highly-fancied weekend rivals, who will feature in their second-straight League decider after going down to fallen powerhouse, Subiaco in 2019.

20-year-old midfielder and former West Coast rookie Callan England has been crucial this year for Claremont, pushing his case for another shot at AFL level with plenty of possessions and goals out of the engine room. He has been named in the forward pocket, while Max Spyvee, who enjoyed a stellar debut this season will rotate off the bench.

Thomas Baldwin, who has been a permanent League fixture in 2020 takes his place at half-back, with Tyron Smallwood on a flank at the other end, and Dylan Smallwood making his way into the side via the interchange bench.

The Bulldogs have been forced into a change from last week’s winning side, with 23-year-old midfielder Jake Florenca picking up the most untimely of calf injuries at the end of a terrific individual campaign. Jarrad Doney is the man who replaces him, a 24-year old who has made a late surge back into the League fold after some time in the Reserves this year.

Claremont’s Reserves side is also littered with promising young talent, who will look to beat the East Perth Royals to the two’s throne. On track to go through an entire season unbeaten, the Royals will have their hands full with a bunch of lively types on each line.

Claremont’s Isaac Barton was unlucky to be squeezed out of senior calculations, but promises to provide plenty of speed and flair through midfield. Anthony Davis is another who has enjoyed a taste of League footy, but will ply his defensive trade in the second grade having been named as a senior emergency. Jack Buller (half-forward) and Max Minear (full forward) are others to keep an eye on, along with Jye Clark at half-back – the brother of Geelong’s Jordan.

For East Perth, Jacob Msando is a reliable defender who will look to finish his year on a high. The 20-year-old has been named in the back pocket and is likely to take on a lockdown role. Harley Sparks should live up to his name while stationed on a wing, while Sebit Kuek is a raw target to look for at centre half-forward. Among those named on the bench is Jack Cooley, who had 33 touches in Claremont’s 2019 WAFL Colts Grand Final triumph. He’ll be hoping to claim more silverware – against former teammates, no less.

A fortnight after they met in the first week of finals, Claremont and Subiaco will play off for the ultimate Colts glory. The Tigers have the opportunity to go back-to-back after taking out last year’s title, with Joel Western, Cameron Anderson, Ben Ramshaw, and Logan Young all part of the successful 2019 side.

Skipper and Fremantle Next Generation Academy product, Western provides great pace and skill through midfield alongside Anderson, with Young the current competition leading disposal winner, and Kalin Lane the 204cm ruck set to service them. They’ll all have to be on-song against a Subiaco midfield which boasts Jack Clarke medalist Lachlan Vanirsen, who had 29 disposals and two goals in last week’s preliminary final.

The Lions will also rotate the likes of Connor Patterson, Jed Kemp, and bottom-ager Matthew Johnson through the middle, types who enjoy getting their hands dirty. Subiaco leader Sandon Page will also renew his rivalry with Jack Avery, after being held goalless for consecutive weeks. Jaxon Bilchuris is another Subiaco forward with plenty of goals to his name, while recent state combine addition Tyler Brockman will hope to impress.

After a qualifying final decided by 15 points in Claremont’s favour, the reigning premier will again be the favoured side coming in. While premiership glory is the number one priority, many of the prospects out there will also be looking to bring good form into the upcoming West Australian All-Star fixtures.

FIXTURES

League:

Claremont vs. South Fremantle | Sunday October 4, 3:10pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Reserves:

East Perth vs. Claremont | Sunday October 4, 9:15am @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Colts:

Claremont vs. Subiaco | Sunday October 4, 12:10pm @ Fremantle Community Bank Oval

LEAGUE TEAMS

Featured Image: Sandon Page (left, Subiaco) and Joel Western (Claremont) with the WAFL Colts premiership cup | Source: (Retrieved from) @WAFLOfficial via Twitter

Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Geelong Falcons vs. South Fremantle

OUR next All-Star Team battle makes for another intriguing quarter final clash, set to play out between a powerhouse Victorian region and West Australian club, in the Geelong Falcons and South Fremantle Bulldogs, respectively. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were ‘the little master’ Gary Ablett Jnr (Geelong Falcons) and West Coast great Peter Matera (South Fremantle).

These clubs are seeded second (Geelong Falcons) and 10th (South Fremantle) respectively, meaning the Bulldogs will be made to pull off another upset in order to advance. Our proposed Falcons squad outvoted the Greater Western Victoria Rebels after a first-round bye, while South’s path to this stage came through Claremont and the Bendigo Pioneers. The winner will qualify for the semi finals, set to face the Port Adelaide Magpies/Dandenong Stingrays.

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TALKING POINTS

THE STINGY DEFENCES:

While there lies plenty more glitz and glamour further afield, a solid starting point is the stingy defences of either side. Geelong’s is one of the best of the lot, boasting premiership skippers Luke Hodge and Nick Maxwell at half-back, while Geelong pair Matthew Scarlett and Tom Stewart take up the key position posts, and Steven Baker takes up the opposite pocket of Will Schofield. If you’re left wanting more, the versatile Lachlan Henderson and Matt McGuire await rotation from the bench, potentially adding a touch more height to deal with monster key forwards. The marking power is evident, as is the pure defensive nous, and leadership in spades. Baker’s addition also adds a much-needed small option, able to lockdown the liveliest of opposition forwards.

We feared there would be no match for the Geelong defence, but alas, South Fremantle’s back six comes in strong. The Bulldogs lay claim to a premiership captain of their own, in outgoing Essendon coach and Eagles champion John Worsfold, who slots in alongside fellow West Coast great Glen Jakovich at half-back. With the ever-reliable Darren Gaspar and James Clement behind them, it would take something special to penetrate South Freo’s last line. Let’s not forget Paul Duffield in the pocket, along with ‘Miracle on Grass’ hero Ash McGrath at half-back, who add a different dimension to the back six.

On paper, these defences are difficult to split. Balance is a key aspect to the equation, slightly favouring South, but versatility looks to clearly be in Geelong’s favour, with the bench depth allowing for a good range of possible lineups. The players themselves, namely Hodge, Maxwell, and Stewart can play a variety of roles down back both below and above their heights, but the key position strength remains. We’re sticking with the Falcons here, just.

THE MIDFIELD BATTLE:

Two contrasting midfields also do battle when these sides line up, with the Geelong side boasting a rich vein of ball winners, while South Fremantle’s prime movers are most significantly based on the outer. Local Cats premiership players Cameron Ling and Jimmy Bartel feature at the heart of Geelong’s engine room alongside Travis Boak, making for a durable trio which balances both sides of the game well. South also lays claim to a tagging centreman in Clinton Jones, who is joined by Fremantle stalwart Peter Bell and current Eagles star, Tim Kelly. In terms of credentials at the centre bounce, Geelong takes the chocolates. That’s without touching on the ruck battle, which looks to also favour Geelong as Matthew Primus opposes Jaymie Graham.

But on the outside is where it gets interesting, with Matera and Nicky Winmar making for one hell of a fine wing pairing. Jordan Lewis and Jack Steven are no slouches, but would have their hands well and truly full with those two for opposition. Steven’s prime running power would serve him well, as would Lewis’ hardness and ball use, but we feel the Bulldogs have their counterparts found out in this area.

Then there is the question of depth, which will also spawn a later talking point. Geelong could well make up three or four centre bounce combinations to rival that of every club, but see many of their midfield options squeezed out to flanks or the bench. While South Fremantle’s proposed engine room is the cream of its crop, Geelong has the like of Patrick Dangerfield, Ablett Jnr, and Shaun Higgins up forward, while Taylor Adams, Ben Cunnington, and Devon Smith remain benched. That kind of depth is scary, and proves another tick for the stacked Falcons side.

THE FORWARD BALANCE:

As alluded to, the weight of Geelong’s midfield depth somewhat hinders its balance on other lines, namely up forward. While the likes of Dangerfield and Ablett Jnr are both no strangers to the forward 50, their work as midfielders is what they are primarily known for. Add Higgins into the mix, and that’s three of the four flanks/pockets filled up by improvised forwards. Luckily, they may not be needed much at ground level with Scott Lucas and Jonathan Brown in the key position posts.

But we feel the balance of South Fremantle’s front six looks much better. Peter Sumich is a terrific spearhead, aided aerially and in strength by Brad Hardie and Allen Jakovich, while true smalls in Phillip Matera and Jeff Farmer are joined by Mark Williams, who made the ‘shotgun’ celebration famous (or, infamous). Add Andrew Krakouer and Ashley Sampi to the mix off the bench, and you have a truly dynamic forward set-up, laden with x-factor and match winners. It gives the Bulldogs a good edge over Geelong, despite its overspill of talent.

SUMMARY:

While South Fremantle lays claim to some important points of difference over the second-ranked Geelong side, it is difficult to look past the Falcons’ weight of elite talent. Geelong’s midfield and defence come up trumps, and there is plenty of firepower up forward despite a lesser structure when compared to South’s. We’re taking the Falcons.

Which All-Star Team do you think would win?
Geelong Falcons
South Fremantle
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: Claremont vs. South Fremantle

OUR next All-Star Team battle is between two West Australian clubs, in the Claremont Tigers and South Fremantle Bulldogs. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Fremantle captain, Nat Fyfe (Claremont) and West Coast great, Peter Matera (South Fremantle).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded seventh (Claremont) and 10th (South Fremantle) respectively, forming another Round of 16 clash in our draw. The winner will qualify for the quarter finals, set to face the Geelong Falcons.

STRENGTHS:

Claremont’s defence and midfield jump off the page most significantly, though South Fremantle is arguably just as strong in both areas. The Tigers boast premiership Eagles of differing eras in Jeremy McGovern and Ashley McIntosh at the key position posts in defence, while Guy McKenna and Heritier Lumumba complete up a terrific half-back line, and the pockets are filled by the very capable Alan Toovey and Eric Mackenzie.

Glen Jakovich and Darren Gaspar make for another talented key position defensive pairing, with James Clement in tow, and John Worsfold joined by the ‘Miracle on Grass’ hero, Ash McGrath across half back for South Fremantle. The Bulldogs’ midfield also stands up to Claremonts, with their on-ball trio of Tim Kelly, Peter Bell, and Clinton Jones stacking up well against Claremont’s Fyfe, Tom Mitchell, and Matt De Boer.

The x-factor in each forwardline is also apparent, as South Fremantle lays claim to Jeff Farmer, Phillip Matera, and the enigmatic Allen Jakovich, while Claremont’s Chris Lewis and Paul Medhurst also boast decent highlight reels.

WEAKNESSES:

While top 10 clubs often boast few chinks in their armour, there is one glaring hole in South Fremantle’s ruck department. Cam McCarthy, an undersized key forward as it were, fills that spot, up against a formidable opponent in Michael Gardiner. The bench depth on either sides doesn’t quite match up to the starting standard either, but that is to be expected.

SUMMARY:

This is a tough one to call, but despite what our seeding system may suggest, we fancy South Fremantle in this matchup. Despite the ruck fault, the Bulldogs’ midfield is strong inside and out, Their forwardline boasts over double the amount of goals of Claremont’s, while the back six matches up quite well too.

Which All-Star Team would you pick?
Claremont
South Fremantle
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Draft Central All-Star Team matchup: South Fremantle vs. Bendigo Pioneers

OUR next All-Star Team battle is one between a South Australian club and Victorian region, in South Fremantle and the Bendigo Pioneers. The two captains voted in by the public as the All-Star Players of the AFL Draft era were Peter Matera (South Fremantle) and Dustin Martin (Bendigo Pioneers).

TEAMS:

These clubs are seeded 10th (South Fremantle) and 23rd (Bendigo Pioneers) respectively, and makes up the penultimate clash in the second half of our draw. The winner will qualify for the Round of 16 stage.

STRENGTHS:

South Fremantle is a team which is strong across the board, boasting legendary talent on each line and some serious x-factor. With Matera and Nicky Winmar featuring on the outside, with Tim Kelly streaming through the middle and Jeff Farmer up forward, this Bulldogs team would provide plenty of highlights and attacking flair. That’s not to mention the additions of Andrew Krakouer and Ashley Sampi off the bench. The defensive solidity is there too, with West Coast Eagles premiership players Glen Jakovich and John Worsfold teaming up once again, while Darren Gaspar and James Clement feature on the last line. Competitive as you will get.

The Pioneers side is also well equipped up forward in terms on x-factor, with high fliers Chris Tarrant and Andrew Walker joined by Nathan Brown and Jake Stringer. The other obvious area of strength is Bendigo’s midfield, led by Martin and Joel Selwood. The pair are complimented by Scott Selwood at the centre bounces, with the class of Nick Dal Santo and brawn of Michael Braun on the outer. The engine room depth also extends to the interchange bench, where a couple more Selwood’s are named among others.

WEAKNESSES:

While both are inevitably relatively strong teams, there are a couple of areas which could do with a boost. South Fremantle’s ruck stocks, or lack thereof sees the recently released Cam McCarthy take up that position, despite playing as an undersized key forward for most of his career. The bench depth also leaves a little to be desired in terms of consistency, though we doubt some of the starting stars would even warrant rotation.

Bendigo’s key position depth is also an area of slight weakness, with terrific talent available in at least one of the two posts up either end. Akin to the Bulldogs, Bendigo’s ruck spot is filled by a key position forward in Nathan Thompson, though the midfielders named would hardly need a dominant ruckman to find their own ball. Some added tall options on the bench would also have been handy.

SUMMARY:

We are backing South Fremantle to get up in this one, with just a touch more class around the ground despite Bendigo’s midfield prowess. They should be stingy at one end, and free-flowing up the other.

 

Which All-Star team are you picking?
South Fremantle
Bendigo Pioneers
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