WAFLW R2 wrap: Tigers go it alone on top after Thunder strike
CLAREMONT is the sole side to have picked up all eight points this WAFL Women’s season following a Round 2 victory over Peel Thunder. The Tigers, who were bolstered by a host of experienced names, were too strong for a young Thunder side, but failed to fully capitalise on their dominance with an inaccurate scoreline of 2.13 (25) to 1.1 (7).
In what was indicative of what was to come early, Claremont peppered the goals in the opening term, but returned just three behinds, before Peel rushed it up the other end and usual defender, Tanisha Anderson found the big sticks off a creative play. In a frustrating first half for the Tigers, the ball spent the majority of time in the forward 50, but the home team could only convert four more behinds.
Though in fairness one was rushed across thanks to strong defending, the likes of Matilda Dyke, Eva O’Donnell and the mercurial Eva Campo joined Jacinta Valentini has having missed opportunities. Luckily for the Tigers, it seldom went up the other end, with only a Kira Phillips five minutes into the third term – to level the scores – adding to Anderson’s goal for the visitors.
At the 10 and a half minute mark of the third term, Adele Arnup finally converted her side’s first major following eight straight behinds, with the goal extending the lead to seven points. The misses would keep coming over the last 30 minutes though, as Claremont added another five behinds, with Arnup’s quick thinking midway through the final term the only other goal in the match.
She would finish with two majors, and help Claremont earn the four points, but the Tigers made life difficult on themselves when they easily could have put the young Thunder away earlier. To put it in perspective, Claremont had 95 more disposals and 28 more inside 50s, but inaccuracy combined with second-gamer Evie Cowcher stopped the margin from being greater.
Cowcher notched up 29 disposals, eight marks and four tackles, flying for multiple contested grabs, and also producing some highlight-worthy moments out of the back half. Combining well with her skipper Ebony Dowson (19 disposals, four tackles and two inside 50s), the pair tried hard to drive the ball out of the defensive 50. Around the contest, the experience of Krystal Carter (18 disposals, 19 tackles) was enormous, as the youth in Jorja Haines and Dakota Sexton both received valuable minutes in the midfield.
Claremont’s experience came to the fore in the win though, with AFLW experienced Jasmin Stewart bringing her own ball to Revo Fitness Stadium, as she accumulated 31 disposals, three marks, five inside 50s and laid five tackles. Jayme Harken and Jacinta Valentini both amassed 26 disposals to clearly be among the best, while the further AFLW experience of Kate Orme, Ella Smith and Emily Elkington shone through.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Earlier in the day, Subiaco dominated Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval en route to a 47-point victory. The Tigers booted six goals to nil in the opening half to set up the win despite only having two more inside 50s than the Black Ducks. Captain Tarnica Golisano lead from the front again with 25 disposals, five marks, four tackles and a goal, with second-gamer Joanne Cregg and the experienced Tiah Toth racking up 20-plus disposals in the 8.9 (57) to 1.4 (10) victory.
Tall Jessica Ritchie made the most of her touches with two goals from 12 disposals and five marks, while Kelsey Patterson added 2.2 from 12 disposals and four marks. For the home side, AFLW Academy member Jaime Henry returned for a team-high 19 disposals, while captain Jessica Cox and Kayley King were also among the best in defeat.
Last year’s minor premiers East Fremantle got on the board via a 28-point win over a competitive West Perth outfit, securing a 5.10 (40) to 1.6 (12) victory. The Sharks found themselves challenged by the reigning wooden spooners who were coming off the first win in women’s club history, held scoreless in the opening quarter and level with the Falcons at the main break. The experienced Sharks put the foot down in the second half though, booting 4.6 to 0.2 to run away with the contest, 5.10 (40) to 1.6 (12).
The AFLW experience in the Sharks team was the difference, with Gabby O’Sullivan a clear best-on with 24 disposals, six marks, four inside 50s and a goal. She was well supported by the likes of Ashleigh Gomes (23 disposals, three marks and three inside 50s), Jae Flynn (21 disposals, two marks and three tackles) and Ashlee Atkins (20 disposals, five marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s.
West Perth’s Grace Betti lead her side in disposals with 20, as well as two marks, five tackles and two inside 50s. Defender Jessica Roper (16 disposals, three marks and four tackles) was not fair behind, while ex-Docker Bianca Webb was influential with her 11 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s.
In the only Saturday game, South Fremantle bounced back from its draw against Subiaco to put newcomers East Perth to the sword through an 11-goal win. The Bulldogs completely dominated the opening three quarters to race out to a 10-goal lead at the final break. Much like the week before, the Royals were the most competitive in the last term, but it would not be enough, going down, 11.9 (75) to 1.3 (9) at Fremantle Oval.
Tahleah Mulder was a clear candidate for best on ground, accruing a game-high 21 disposals and eight inside 50s, as well as five tackles. Noa McNaughton (three goals from 13 disposals), Makaela Tuhakaraina (two goals from 16 disposals and 10 tackles) and Zoe Huggett (two goals from 10 disposals and six hitouts) were the dominant forwards. Liusaidh Gilchrist also impressed through the midfield, while Ariana Hetherington was again influential throughout the ruck.
East Perth had a range of contributors yet again, with ruck Matilda Bennett kicking the side’s sole goal from 10 disposals, 13 hitouts and laying six tackles. Madeleine Goodman (12 disposals, seven tackles) tried hard throughout the match, while Lillian Ninyette and Julia Uhe worked well in defence for the Royals.