WAFL Colts MOTR: East Perth vs. Peel Thunder
PEEL Thunder moved into second spot on the WAFL Colts ladder after recovering from a slow start to defeat East Perth by 12 points at New Choice Homes Park. After conceding the first three goals, the Thunder controlled most of the game courtesy of their large contingent of representative players and edged out the Royals to run out victors 8.8 (56) to 7.2 (44).
#15 Bienfat Kishusa
The 15 year-old was a lively presence up forward for the Royals, with his speed and pressure causing several defenders to feel nervous with ball in hand. He kicked a terrific individual goal in the first term after pouncing on a loose ball before exploding away to finish on the run and had a couple of other moments where he created something from nothing. Given he is not eligible until the 2024 draft, the Bayswater product looks to be one to watch over the next few years.
#28 Darcy Miller
The 18-year old has been one of the Royals most consistent players of the campaign and he was again a solid performer against Peel, gathering 20 disposals and laying nine tackles in a workmanlike display. Having started the season across half-back, Miller has been injected into the midfield and his competitiveness and extra size has been a welcome addition into the Royals engine room.
#13 Tyrone Virgo
The 17 year-old played his best game at Colts level as he battled manfully in the midfield and from a wing to gather 25 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s. Although he did not win a heap of ball in space, he was clean at ground level and often gained good meterage for his side in the windy conditions by holding his width and making good decisions with the ball, often by clearing the congestion instead of over-possessing it.
#2 Scott Tuia
The 172cm on-baller is one of the more unheralded players in the Thunder lineup but he was excellent against the Royals, registering 26 disposals to be the leading ball-winner on the ground. Although Tuia was prolific, it was some of his defensive efforts late in the game that were particularly impressive, as he willed himself to lay a couple of crucial tackles at important times. He also was influential around the clearances, showing good midfield craft to break from stoppages on some occasions off the back of some silver service from his ruckmen.
#21 Clay Hall
The bottom ager had another prolific game, working hard in the midfield to gather 22 disposals and lay five tackles. He benefitted from the ruck dominance of Mitch Edwards and Jackson Broadbent, allowing him to get proactive at stoppages and look to gather the ball on the move and use his power running to burst out of congestion. The Harvey Brunswick product has a beautiful, penetrating kick and although he could of used the ball better at times in this match, his left foot looks to be a weapon.
#38 Jed Adams
Off the back of a couple of solid games in the national carnival, Adams returned to Thunder colours and was amongst the best players on the ground, patrolling the airways down back to take several intercept marks and using the ball neatly with his left boot in windy conditions. The South Mandurah product positioned himself smartly behind the ball and used his body well to nudge his opponent under the footy. With East Perth missing their key intercept defender and first round draft prospect in Jedd Busslinger at one end of the ground, Adams’ presence at the other end was a crucial factor in the result.
#39 Jackson Broadbent
The AFL Academy member showed just how dominant he can be as a tap ruckman when he has a physical advantage over his opponent, as he dominated the ruck contests he competed in to win 39 hit outs and give his midfield first use. Although he could have perhaps impacted more around the ground, he did drift forward in the second term to take a contested mark and convert from point blank range. He finished with seven disposals and four marks.
AROUND THE GROUNDS:
West Perth tightened their grip on top spot with a hard fought 28-point victory over South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. The Falcons were led well by their state representatives, with Luke Michael (24 disposals) and Kane Bevan (22 disposals) both finding plenty of the football in their return to club colours. For the home side, Christian Wilson had another busy outing, ending as his teams leading ball winner with 24 disposals while over-ager Seth Connor booted two goals from his 23 touches.
East Fremantle kept their finals hopes alive with a comfortable 36-point win over Perth at the WACA Ground. Luke Yeo was excellent for the Sharks, gathering 26 disposals and 10 marks while Elijah Burrows was also impressive with 24 touches of his own. For the Demons, Oliver Zolnier-Owens continues to be a consistent contributor, as he led his side with 16 disposals and five tackles while Elijah Scoble was amongst the best with 15 disposals and a goal.
Claremont responded from a slow start to storm home to a comprehensive 54-point victory over Swan Districts at Revo Fitness Stadium. Silky ball user Sam Gilbey was terrific for the Tigers, notching up 31 disposals and seven tackles while fellow state representatives Edward Allan (25 disposals) and Harry Cole were also influential for the victors. For Swans, Jack Saunders found plenty of the football with 30 touches and State 16’s representative Otis Harvey was among their best players with 18 disposals.
UP THE GRADES:
Darcy Jones was rewarded for his strong form at colts level and in the national carnival with a debut at league level for Swan Districts against Claremont and did not look out of place against the bigger bodies, picking up 14 touches and booting two goals in his side’s narrow loss. Top 10 prospect Elijah Hewett (31 disposals and a goal) and bottom ager Riley Hardeman (14 disposals) featured in the Reserves, with Hewett being the dominant player on the ground in a tight win for Swan Districts.
Over at the WACA, Jed Hagan made his league debut for East Fremantle and was an excellent contributor, kicking two goals from 20 disposals as the Sharks put up a cricket score against Perth in a 94-point victory.
Steely Green played reserves for South Fremantle alongside fellow Colts-aged player Roan O’Hehir, with both players performing solidly with 19 and 17 disposals respectively.