West Perth swoops to third WAFLW win

WEST Perth is back on the winners’ list with an upset win over Subiaco, its third of the season, and second against an established club. After going winless in 2022, the WAFL Women’s side boasts a 3-4 record this year, sitting just two points outside the top four. Yesterday, the Falcons set up the win over Subiaco with a strong first half, and held on for an impressive 6.5 (41) to 4.6 (30) victory over the Lions.

Coming into the match at Leederville Oval the Lions were heavily fancied coming off some impressive performances to get themselves back into the top four, while West Perth had suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Swan Districts and Claremont.

In the clash in perfect conditions, it was Subiaco who struck first via a goal to Jessica Ritchie. Though down, the Falcons were pressing hard and peppering the goals, and while they only secured the one through Tia Bergin, were looking good.

The visitors led by three points at quarter time, and that stretched up to 16 points midway through the second term thanks to majors from experienced duo, Katherine Bennett and Bianca Webb. Subiaco would only score one more behind in the next eight minutes as a second Webb goal pushed it out to a game-high 22 points at the 15-minute mark.

A second major to Ritchie on the eve of half-time gave the Lions some home, but then Betti converting a major – the only one of the third term – helped give the visitors some breathing space. Subiaco was building for a big finale though, and while West Perth was on top thanks to its ability to run across the ground, the experience of Subiaco was coming to the fore.

Tarnica Golisano had the ball on a string and was willing her team on, while Grace Hahnel and Jess Pillera were also having an impact. The pressure gauge rose significantly when both Kelsey Patterson and Hayley Corlett kicked goals in the final term. That cut the deficit to a single straight kick despite the best efforts of the Falcons dropping a couple of numbers behind the ball via defensive wingers.

The ball mostly lived in Subiaco’s forwardline as the likes of Jessica Roper, Brooke Hongell and Karla Stagg tried to desperately clear it from danger. There were some nervous moments, including a couple of goal-saving moments, and only a rushed behind added. However the next four minutes were nerve-wracking for the Falcons fraternity as the Lions kept pushing to the final siren.

But by throwing caution to the wind in attacking, there were numbers behind the ball against Subiaco, and West Perth, through some experience in Katherine Bennett going forward, managed to work the ball to Liza Kneebone who marked just before the final siren. She converted after it to stretch the margin to 11 points, but the final term had been a nail-biter.

Emily Bennett would finish with 23 disposals, six marks, seven tackles and three inside 50s, with Betti (19 disposals, four marks, three tackles and a goal) and Roper (16 disposals, five marks and three tackles) also among the best. Kayla Van Den Heever and Jeevna Heer had their moments, while the experience of Webb and Hongell was critical in getting the win.

For Subiaco, Golisano was a standout with 28 disposals, two marks, three tackles and four inside 50s, while Ritchie booted two goals from 11 touches, three marks, six hitouts and two inside 50s. Hahnel (17 disposals, three marks, four tackles and four inside 50s) and Pillera (15 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s) were among the best, while Corlett had the 13 disposals, two marks, three tackles, two inside 50s and a goal.


The other three matches were one-sided results, with Swan Districts defeating East Fremantle the next closest match. The red-hot Swans strung together their third straight win, storming to a 44-point lead at the final break. To the Sharks’ credit, they fought it out well kicking three goals to one in the final term to reduce the full-time deficit to 29 points.

Courtney Zappara was the difference with a ridiculous nine scoring shots from 14 touches and five marks, while Chloe Reilly slotted 3.0 for the Sharks. Black Ducks midfielders, Ruby Mahony and Kayley King were both prolific, while Abbygail Bushby was busy in the forward half of the ground. For the Sharks, the usual duo of Sharon Wong and Ashleigh Gomes combined for 38 touches and 16 tackles, while debutant Chloe Williams impressed with 13 touches and three marks.

South Fremantle made light work of Peel Thunder, storming to a 74-point win to retain second spot on the WAFLW ladder comfortably. Never really looking like losing down in Mandurah after seven goals to nil in the first half, the Bulldogs kept the foot down before Tanisha Anderson got Peel on the board in the final term with a few minutes remaining to make it a 12.10 (82) to 1.2 (8) scoreline.

Dangerous forward duo Makaela Tuhakaraina and Bethany Bond both snagged three goals in the win, the latter from six scoring shots, while Hunter Cronin made the most of her chances with two goals from 12 disposals and three marks. Ruck Ariana Hetherington had 19 disposals, 26 hitouts, seven inside 50s and a goal in the win, while Kloe Bassett was sensation, collecting 24 touches, four marks and six inside 50s, working well with Lauren Vecchio (26 disposals, nine marks and three tackles). For Peel, skipper Ebony Dowson (24 disposals) tried hard, while Greta McKinley and Chelsea Hutchinson also did their best.

The final match of the round went about as many expected, with the unbeaten Claremont Tigers running out 12.13 (85) to 0.0 (0) over the winless East Perth Royals. The Tigers were inaccurate in the first term kicking 3.7 off 14 inside 50s, but they fixed up their radar and kicked 9.6 for the rest of the game, not conceding an inside 50 until later in the match with the final count 44-7.

Adele Arnup (three goals from 13 touches and three marks) and Brooke Whyte (two goals from 23 touches and seven marks) did the damage on the scoreboard, while nine players had more than 15 touches with the winners having a plus-142 disposal advantage. Jayme Harken (22 disposals), Matilda Sergeant (20), Sarah Viney (20) and Kate Orme (19) were the higher ball-winners. Defenders Sarah Madden (18 disposals, two marks) and Lillian Ninyett (12 disposals, four marks) both battled hard against the overwhelming inside 50 count.

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