Sharks and Tigers share spoils in WAFLW

AFTER not seeing a draw in the WAFL Women’s competition until Round 1 this season, there was a second one on Saturday as East Fremantle and Claremont split the points at the WACA. The Round 9 clash was the second grand final rematch for 2023, and while both teams had periods of dominance inside 50, neither side could get that winning score, booting 2.4 (16) apiece.

In what was an ultimate slog on Saturday evening, East Fremantle was hoping to end Claremont’s undefeated run and snap a two-game losing streak in the process. It looked good early as the Sharks dominated forward half possession but kept hitting up the likes of Mackenzie Webb and Claire Ortlepp, before the Tigers punished the missed opportunities up the other end.

Top-age speedster Ella Slocombe kicked a terrific running goal in what would end up being Claremont’s only score of the first half. East Fremantle’s defence was fantastic, and that continued into the second term where they dominated forward half possession again, and finally gained some scoreboard reward.

Chloe Reilly snapped a great goal under pressure to break the deadlock for the Sharks, before Anjelique Raison kicked a goal off a step to put the Sharks up by seven points. In the final two minutes of the first half, Larissa Versaci had a chance to boost the lead out to 13 points but missed the subsequent set shot and the home side had to go into the main break with just an eight-point advantage.

An early chance running into goal from Reilly went begging as the match went up to a game-high nine points, a statistic that would remain true throughout the game. That miss sparked life into Claremont up the other end, but the Tigers too could not seem to find the big sticks as Adele Arnup and Brooke Whyte combined for three behinds and made it a straight kick the difference midway through the third term.

Matilda Sergeant was that difference, launching a long-range beauty from 45 metres to level the scores and head into the final break all squad. To that point, the ruck battle between Georgie Cleaver and Matilda Dyke had been a fascinating one, while Sergeant and Slocombe had won plenty in the midfield and Ortlepp and Webb were outstanding down back. In the absence of skipper Ashleigh Gomes, it was Cleaver, Beth Beckett and Sharon Wong sharing the ball around.

Wong laid a fantastic run-down tackle on Slocombe in the opening two minutes of the final term to save a potential goal, and though East Fremantle was desperately holding on, it would be Claremont to get the first all-important score. That was a behind from Whyte who took a forward stoppage having had a set shot that fell short just earlier.

Up the other end, it would be Ashlee Atkins who had the chance to win the game after a high free kick from a stoppage put her 30 metres out in front, but the set shot drifted for a behind and the game levelled up again. For the final few minutes, it was largely in East Fremantle’s forward half, including in the dying seconds. At the last stoppage, Beckett won the ball off hands and started to burst through but it was just a split second after the siren sounded, and the game was called a draw.

Claremont would rack up 36 more disposals, headlined by Sergeant (18), Slocombe (17), Ortlepp (17) and Webb (16) with the two latter defenders clunking a combined 13 marks in the process. Dyke would have 25 hitouts and lay nine tackle on her way to 14 disposals, while Cleaver also had the 14 touches with 28 hitouts, six tackles, three marks and five inside 50s. Beckett (17 disposals, five marks, 13 tackles and three inside 50s), Wong (12 disposals, 10 tackles) and Fish (13 disposals, six tackles all did well, as did Atkins up forward (10 disposals, two marks, three inside 50s and seven tackles.


South Fremantle maintained second spot on the ladder thanks to a 20-point win over West Perth on Sunday. The Falcons were competitive with more disposals, but the Bulldogs had a whopping 36 more inside 50s (46-10) and 13 scoring shots to three. In the end, four first half goals were enough to grab the win, taking home the four points following a 4.9 (33) to 2.1 (13) victory.

Ariana Hetherington (25 disposals, 27 hitouts, five marks and two inside 50s) had a day out alongside Kloe Bassett (27 disposals, four marks, three tackles and seven inside 50s), while the experience of Kahra Sprylan and Lauren Vecchio was important. Top-age talent Molly O’Hehir notched up 18 disposals, six marks and 10 inside 50s in her best game of the season. For West Perth, Taylor Ferguson and Jeevna Heer worked hard on the outside, as Emily Bennett and Brooke Hongell battled hard all day.

Swan Districts made it four straight wins with an impressive 29-point win over Peel Thunder. Though the Black Ducks had plenty of opportunities, inaccuracy was a problem with 11 scoring shots to three in the first half, but boasting just a 13-point lead at the main break. That changed after the main break with the home team kicking 5.2 to 2.4 and running out 9.9 (63) to 5.4 (34) winners.

Abbygail Bushby starred for the Swans with three goals from 22 disposals and four inside 50s, while Courtney Zappara (11 disposals, six marks and three goals) hit the scoreboard again. Skipper Jessica Cox (20 disposals, four marks and five inside 50s) and fellow ball-winner Jaime Henry (18 disposals, five marks and four tackles) were also among the best. For Peel, defenders Evie Cowcher and Ebony Dowson each had 19 disposals, while Krystal Carter and Kaitlyn Srhoj combined for 30 disposals and five inside 50s.

In the other match, Subiaco took home the four points against East Perth as expected, running away with a 46-point win. After a hard-fought start to lead by 15 points at the main break, the Lions booted 4.7 while keeping the Royals scoreless after half-time to secure the 6.11 (47) to 0.1 (1) victory.

Tiah Toth stepped up in the absence of missing captain Tarnica Golisano, collecting 24 disposals, three marks, five tackles and eight inside 50s in a best on ground display, while Eva Popovsky and Madison Dodd were both lively coming back from the national carnival. Olivia Wolmarans and Hanna Dethlefsen also kicked two goals apiece in the win. For East Perth, Madeleine Goodman (18 disposals, two marks and seven tackles) and Julia Uhe (17 disposals, two marks and three tackles) both tried hard.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments