Tiger Time – First half blitz sets up win
A FOUR goal blitz in six minutes set up a memorable 16-point win for Claremont over premiership challenger South Fremantle at Revo Fitness Stadium on the weekend. Both sides headed into the match undefeated, and while the Bulldogs lost no fans with their effort, Claremont’s class and ability to go to another gear in that six-minute period ultimately was the different in the 8.2 (50) to 5.4 (34) result.
The reigning premiers came into the clash with a 4-0 record compared to South Fremantle’s three wins and one draw, but both have looked the most lively this season. Led by Ariana Hetherington out of the middle who had a blistering start, South peppered the goals and had the Tigers on the back foot. Young gun Molly O’Hehir had an immediate impact on the team as well with a busy first term.
For the majority of the quarter, the Bulldogs held up the Tigers well despite the work of Rachel Ortlepp and Madeleine Scanlon who were finding their fair share of the ball. It took until the last 90 seconds of the quarter for Claremont to get on the board through Port Adelaide AFLW recruit, Jasmin Stewart. That goal gave the Tigers a boost heading into quarter time, because despite having conceded a lot of forward half possession in the opening quarter, they lead by three points.
Then, it was Tiger Time. The Claremont players came out of the break with a renewed vigour and within five minutes, the game was seemingly done and dusted. The Tigers had slammed home three more goals including two from the goalsquare courtesy of Adele Arnup and Brooke Whyte, and a classy running goal from Jacinta Valentini. After a behind to Ortlepp, the Tigers lead by as much as 22 points, 25-3 and the Bulldogs had not scored since the 14th minute of the first term.
An end-to-end play from South leading to an Ella Ward goal provided a spark for the visitors, but Claremont responded through Arnup again coming off a turnover in the forward half. Scanlon, Ortlepp and Matilda Sergeant were winning plenty of it, while Hetherington and recent Fremantle AFLW recruit Tahleah Mulder were doing their best for the red and whites.
A late goal to the impressive Charli Wicksteed cut the final break deficit to 16 points responding to a Matilda Husband just over a minute earlier and gave the Bulldogs a sniff of hope. That soon faded though as top-age speedster Ella Slocombe got on the end of fast ball movement and iced the game just two minutes into the final term.
South Fremantle ran out the game strongly with majors to Hetherington from a nice snap in the pocket, and then the ruck/forward gave off a handball to the dangerous Noa McNaughton who was never going to miss. Though the Bulldogs would ultimately fall short due to that four-goal blitz, they showed they can compete with the benchmark for long enough, kicking 5.4 to 4.2 outside that six-minute period.
Sergeant and Scanlon both finished with 17 disposals apiece in the win, with Ortlepp looking lively in the front half of the ground, collecting 15 disposals, four marks and kicking two behinds. Arnup and Slocombe both kicked two goals, while Stewart kicked a goal from 14 disposals and laid eight tackles.
Mulder picked up 20 disposals, laid three tackles, had five inside 50s and a goal, with Hetherington arguably best-on for her side thanks to 15 disposals, 17 hitouts and one goal. Captain Lauren Vecchio and Kloe Bassett were also busy, while Charli Wicksteed kicked a goal from 11 disposals and four marks in the front half of the ground.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Subiaco bounced back into the top four with a commanding 57-point win over East Perth. In captain Tarnica Golisano‘s 150th WAFL Women’s match, the Lions ran rampant and booted 8.11 (59) to 0.2 (2) to move into fourth on the table. Unsurprisingly, Golisano lead from the front with a massive 29 disposals, four tackles and a goal to cap off the occasion, while the likes of Tiah Toth and Madison Dodd were impressive in the win. Defenders Sarah Madden and Lillian Ninyett were the top ball-winners for the Royals.
East Fremantle also cruised to a comfortable 35-point win over Peel Thunder. The Sharks showed far too much experience and held the Thunder scoreless in the first half to race out to a 37-point lead. The Thunder managed to outscore the Sharks in the second half, but East Fremantle still posted a strong 7.11 (53) to 3.0 (18) victory. Ashleigh Gomes lead from the front with 29 disposals, with Sharon Wong and Larissa Versaci also busy. Up front, Anjelique Raison and Ashlee Atkins both kicked two goals. For Peel Thunder, Ebony Dowson had a team-high 25 touches out of defence, while Kayla Bradshaw stepped up for 19.
In the final game of the round, Swan Districts took full control against an understrength West Perth outfit to breakthrough for its first win of the season. The Black Ducks had 22 scoring shots to six as they produced a commanding 10.12 (72) to 3.3 (21) victory. Taylah Edwards was a clear best on ground for the winners with 20 disposals, eight marks and three goals, while the midfield duo of Jaime Henry and Ruby Mahony had 20 disposals each. Kayla Van Den Heever and Emily Bennett were among West Perth’s more productive ball-winners.