WAFLW R3 wrap: Sharks tame Lions

EAST Fremantle became the first side to defeat a much-improved Subiaco in season 2023 of the WAFL Women’s in what was a hard-fought six-point victory. The Sharks – who struggled with inaccuracy at times throughout the opening fortnight of the season – found the big sticks more often than not, then survived a second half comeback from the home side to record a 5.4 (34) to 4.4 (28) win.

There was not much that separated the sides throughout the contest with State Academy Anjelique Raison kicking the first goal of the match as she had in Round 1, slotting it following a great lead and mark. Chloe Reilly and Gabby O’Sullivan showed their class by adding first quarter majors, largely off the work of a midfield that contained O’Sullivan, Sharon Wong, Ashleigh Gomes and Mylee Leitch, the latter of whom had a ripping first term.

Fremantle AFLW listed talent Amy Mulholland looked like the Lions’ most damaging forward with a clever goal in the first term, then kicked her second early in the third term to cut the deficit to four points. Reilly could have had a big bag of goals had she converted a couple of third quarter shots, as Subiaco also missed its fair share of chances in front of goal.

Getting the deficit to as little as three points, Subiaco was never out of it, as the likes of Kelsey Patterson and Tiah Toth had set shots that drifted. The Sharks made life difficult early in the fourth term though as Raison took a strong grab and converted her second goal to stretch the margin back out to two straight kicks.

Double bottom-ager Olivia Crane moved from defence to attack midway through the quarter and made an instant impact with a goal, but the Lions could not get any closer than that in the last eight minutes, as East Fremantle held on and secure the win.

Gomes notched 21 disposals and six marks in the win, leading from the front with Wong and Beth Beckett also finding their fair share of the football. Out of defence, Taya Chambers provided plenty of run in tandem with Zippy Fish, while O’Sullivan was class throughout the match despite being tagged at different points.

The usual suspects were at it again for the Lions as captain Tarnica Golisano, and AFLW-experienced Tiah Toth controlled proceedings across the match. Mulholland kicked the two majors including a ripper off her non-preferred left on the run, while fellow Irishwoman Joanne Cregg worked hard despite winning less of the ball in Round 3.


The other Saturday game saw South Fremantle overcome inaccuracy to post a 28-point win over West Perth. The Bulldogs flew out of the blocks to boot the first three goals of the game in 12 and a half minutes, before West Perth settled. Both teams kicked three goals in the last three quarters, but while West Perth drew within 14 points at the last change, the Bulldogs kicked the final two goals of the game to end up winning, 6.13 (49) to 3.3 (21).

Tahleah Mulder was busy again for the Bulldogs, racking up 23 disposals, six inside 50s and laying five tackles, while the experience of Lauren Vecchio and Liusaidh Gilchrist were critical in the midfield. Key forward Bethany Bond slotted three goals in a dominant forward effort, while Zoe Huggett missed out on a massive day, booting 1.4 from 14 disposals and seven marks. Defender and co-captain Brooke Hongell notched up a match-high 25 disposals for the Falcons, as teenagers Kayla Van Den Heever and Jessica Roper found plenty of the ball and Taylor Ferguson clunked a team-high seven marks with her 19 disposals.

Claremont continued its unbeaten streak at the top of the table with a four-goal win over the winless Swan Districts. The Tigers were hot favourites against the inexperienced Swans, but it was the home side who burst out the blocks to boot 2.1 to 1.3 in the opening term. Unfortunately from there, Swan Districts only managed the three behinds as the Tigers peppered the goals on their way to another win, 5.10 (40) to 2.4 (16).

Claire Ortlepp was instrumental with 25 disposals, five marks, five tackles and three inside 50s, while Jayme Harken also amassed the 20 touches in the win. AFLW-experienced midfielders Jasmin Stewart and Hayley Bullas both found their fair share of the ball. Forward Brooke Whyte provided a target taking five marks and had 17 disposals and five inside 50s. For the Black Ducks, double bottom-ager Carys D’Addario (21 disposals, six marks and five tackles) starred, while Ruby Mahony made a successful return to the team alongside the consistent form of Kayley King and Jaime Henry.

Peel Thunder had to work hard but eventually shrugged off a determined East Perth to post a 5.6 (36) to 1.5 (11) win. The Thunder controlled the play early, but could only kick the three first half goals, and then East Perth held its own following the main break with one goal to two. In the end, the visitors did come away with the four points in a 25-point victory, but the Royals came away with plenty of positives from the loss.

The inclusion of midfielders Chloe Wrigley and Jaide Britton was critical to the Thunder’s success as they combined for a massive 25 tackles as well as 40 disposals. In defence, Evie Cowcher and Ebony Dowson were again among the best, while up the other end, Tanisha Anderson booted three goals. For the Royals, Chloe Sauzier had 16 disposals, six marks and five tackles in the loss, while captain Jess Valvasori and Madeleine Goodman were once again among the best.

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