WAFLW Round 8 preview: Big Round 7 winners face off

AFTER massive wins in Round 7, Peel Thunder and East Fremantle are set to face off at Lane Group Stadium on Saturday in a huge West Australian Football League (WAFL) Round 8 clash. The Round 8 action actually starts tonight with South Fremantle still searching for its second win, and Subiaco wanting its third victory. Completing the trio of games, Claremont hosts Swan Districts on Sunday at Revo Fitness Stadium.

  • Team
  • South Fremantle
  • Subiaco

Friday, April 8 @ 6:30pm
Fremantle Community Bank Oval

Having lost five consecutive games, South Fremantle will be looking for a win here in what a is a very gettable game compared to most weeks. Subiaco has not had a season to write home about just yet, winning two games, and both were against the bottom two sides. That does include the Bulldogs though, so despite being the away side, Subiaco will start favourites in the clash. A win and they will draw level with Peel Thunder in fourth, but a loss, and the Bulldogs will eye off their spot, with only percentage separating them.

It will be a huge game for South Fremantle skipper Lauren Vecchio who will be celebrating her WAFL Women’s 100th game. Whilst the Bulldogs will be without gun young ruck Lauren Wakfer, they still have exciting Under 16s talents in Noa McNaughton and Molly O’Hehir who have been impressing up forward and on the wing. In defence, Casey Byrne has been a rock on the last line, whilst the consistency of Kiara Templeman, Pia Durk, Tahlia Holtze and Liusaidh Gilchrist is something Bulldogs fans can rely on.

Subiaco has built a formidable midfield combination, with the likes of Jayme Harken and Tarnica Golisano leading from the front both through their words and actions. They are averaging a combined 36.1 disposals, whilst the likes of Madizen Wilkins and Ellie Blackmore have also been impressive. Subiaco just needs a bit more depth and consistency in the forward half, having gone goalless last week, with Nyra Anderson the most dangerous looking forward but she will be missing from the game, along with the dynamic talents of Hayley Corlett and Hanna Dethlefsen.

  • Team
  • Peel Thunder
  • East Fremantle

Saturday, April 9 @ 3pm
Lane Group Stadium

Peel Thunder were back to their best in the first half last week, and did run out 118-point winners, but the victory was against a half-strength West Perth outfit that had been riddled by injury and COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols. The Thunder have plenty of talent out on the park, and three consecutive losses for the reigning back-to-back premiers just seemed strange, but now they have much bigger fish to fry in the form of the undefeated East Fremantle. The Thunder also have Subiaco breathing down their neck in fifth, whilst the Sharks will not want to drop this game given Claremont can leapfrog them with a victory over Swan Districts.

The unstoppable Kate Bartlett will be quite the handful for an East Fremantle defence, coming off an eight-goal game to bring her 2022 season total to 20. With Kira Phillips missing last week (she is back in this week), the Thunder still scored an 118-point win, but it will be much tougher here. Outside those two, the next highest scorers are on three goals, of which Jade Briggs (all three last week) was impressive against the Falcons. The midfield is a high-possession side, with Chloe Wrigley (20 disposals), Gracie Fenton (18.2) and Jaide Britton (15.4) leading the way through the middle, whilst Ebony Dowson and Cassie Davidson have been reliable as always in the back half.

Speaking of strong midfields, the Sharks on-ball brigade is the crème de la crème of the WAFL Women’s, with the depth simply outstanding. Ashleigh Gomes and Sharon Wong are the two biggest threats to the Falcons group, with Larissa Versaci capable of hitting the scoreboard, and Beth Beckett also having a good year. Abbey Amaranti has made a promising start to her career in three games, whilst first-year player Julia Teakle has slotted 12 goals from 10.3 disposals and three marks per game.

  • Team
  • Claremont
  • Swan Districts

Sunday, April 10 @ 12pm
Revo Fitness Stadium

On form it is the game of the round, with a well-rested Claremont coming off its first bye of the season, taking on a Swan Districts side that has clicked into gear. The Swans have won four on the trot and looking mighty fine to be a real contender after a shaky start, but the Tigers are well positioned to be qual favourites with East Fremantle. Given the high volume of young talent at the AFLW Under 18 Championships, the Swans are far heavier hit than the Tigers , and therefore will be more understrength in this match, giving Claremont a clear advantage.

Claremont has a high-powered forwardline that will trouble the Swans defence, missing Jaime Henry for state representation. Although the Tigers will be without Brooke Whyte (12 goals), Tessa Doumanis (seven) and Eva Campo (five) have both been consistent scorers, with Claremont having 15 different goalkickers this season. Even losing Ella Smith to injury has not stopped them this season, with Madeleine Scanlon one of a few handy players to step up in her absence, to win the ball and provide plenty of run.

Swans captain Jessica Cox has lead from the front this season, so looms as a major absentee for her side. Ruby Mahony has aided her in the midfield, but the loss of Henry, Tara Stribley, Abbygail Bushby and Emma Nanut – among others – to State Under 18s will hurt the black and whites. Emily McGuire has a massive job in defence, with Demi Liddle also providing that experience, whilst Ashley Sharp and Taylah Edwards are the two damaging forwards to look out for in the match.

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