Around the Grounds: 2023 WAFL – Round 3

WAFL action continued for Round 3 over the weekend, with East Perth emerging as the competition’s big improvers this season, while a number of draft prospects produced promising performances at senior level.

Subiaco put together its best performance of the season thus far, downing a red-hot Claremont outfit by 24 points at Leederville Oval. The Lions got the early jump on their opponents and were never seriously threatened throughout the contest to run out winners, 14.10 (94) to 10.10 (70).

South Fremantle erased its points deficit with a comprehensive 44-point win over Peel Thunder at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. The Bulldogs controlled the contest from the outset, leading the Fremantle-affiliated Thunder at every break to confirm an important victory that sees them back at parity after their points deduction at the beginning of the season.

East Perth continued their unbeaten start to the, moving to top spot with a thumping 68-point win over Perth at Mineral Resources Park. The Royals, led by their midfield group flushed with ex-AFL talent, ambushed the Demons early, bouncing out to a 40-point lead at quarter time to set up their third straight triumph.

West Perth recovered from a slow start to edge out Swan Districts by seven points in a tightly fought encounter at Steel Blue Oval. In a game that was evenly poised for its whole duration, the reigning premiers overturned a two-point deficit at the final break to resign Swan Districts to their third consecutive loss by under 10-points to begin the season.

East Fremantle made it consecutive victories after hammering a depleted West Coast side by 108-points. With the Eagles suffering some serious player availability issues, the Sharks took the chance to secure an easy kill against their undermanned opponents and move their ledger to 2-1.


Peel youngster Clay Hall was outstanding in just his second league start, racking up 27 disposals and a goal against South Fremantle to show that he belongs at senior level. In the same game, 19-year-old Roan O’Hehir, who attracted interest from Sydney in the lead up to last year’s draft, registered 21 disposals and five tackles in his second game in the top grade.

Koltyn Tholstrup returned from AFL Academy duties and was impressive, picking up 11 disposals, five tackles and a goal to be named in Subiaco’s best players. His teammate Luker Kentfield made his debut and competed manfully as a forward-ruck. He had six disposals, three marks and five tackles in the Lions’ win.

MATURE AGE WATCH – Oliver Eastland

With a number of AFL clubs seemingly always looking for another ruck to bolster their tall stocks, Claremont bigman Oliver Eastland shapes as one of the better state league options available. The 25-year-old has had a strong start to the season off the back of an excellent Grand Final performance, and he was Claremont’s best in its defeat to Subiaco.

Eastland registered 23 disposals, six marks and 33 hitouts to get the better of former Fremantle and Essendon player Zac Clarke. At 199cm, Eastland is not the tallest ruck, but his mobility and follow-up work is terrific which sees him play as an extra midfielder at ground level. With ruckmen at a premium for some clubs, Eastland could be one to consider ahead of the mid-season draft.

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