Swans scrape home in Lions’ den

A BEHIND midway through the final term to Cassie McWilliam proved the match-winner as her Swan Districts side headed home from Leederville Oval with its sixth consecutive win, this time by a point over Subiaco. The WAFL Women’s most in-form team was facing its biggest challenge to-date against a side that had won four of its past five games, and passed the test with a nail-biting 4.3 (27) to 4.2 (26) victory.

In a contested slog throughout the match, more than a few players came off worse for wear or with little knocks throughout the game including Swan Districts duo Emma Nanut and Tyla Fitzgerald and Subiaco ruck Tess Lyons, with two of those three knocks coming in the first two minutes of the game. Luckily all kept playing or returned in the case of Nanut, as the sides went blow-for-blow across the course of the Round 11 match.

Subiaco sent Lauren Bilaloski to keep a close watch on Swan Districts young gun Jaime Henry at the stoppages, limiting the talented top-ager to 10 disposals, her lowest tally of the season. Meanwhile, Subiaco over-ager Eva Popovsky and her skipper Tarnica Golisano went to work in the midfield each picking up 16 disposals and laying a combined 16 tackles to bring the heat at the stoppages.

In a fitting pre-cursor as to what would be to come, McWilliam slotted the first goal of the game from the goalsquare after some nice play from in-form goalkicker Courtney Zappara putting it into her path. Subiaco had a couple of chances in the early term but could not put it through the big sticks with double bottom-ager Olivia Wolmarans too unselfish close to goal opting for a handball instead of a snap, and a set shot from Kate Pocsidio falling short.

The second term saw Swan District kick ahead by as much as three goals with Taylah Edwards clunking a one-handed mark and slotting the set shot from straight in front, before a free kick to midfielder Ruby Mahony saw the ball-winner extend the lead to 18 points just six minutes into the second term.

Subiaco was not going to lie down and let the Swans run away with it though, as Hanna Dethlefsen answered the call. She got into space and won the ball to run into an open goal for her side’s first just before the main break making it a more salvageable 13 points at the half.

Dethlefsen would be the key target inside 50 for the Lions finding space again and taking a good mark to convert the set shot in the sixth minute, before Wolmarans produced a one-two running back towards goal into space to run onto another loose ball and kick truly. In the blink of an eye, scores were level again and it was game on.

Swan Districts needed a steadier and it came in the form of Hope Ugle-Hayward who kept her feet in congestion and running into goal popped it over an opponent’s head in the 15th minute to give her side a six-point buffer with a quarter to play.

Neither team was willing to give an inch in the final term, with Popovsky running down an opponent in the fourth minute to set the tone. That defensive intensity turned into offensive impact and the hero of the day, Dethlefsen remained active inside 50 and when everyone had stopped following a tackle, the ball spilled out and the forward ran on and put her side back on level pegging.

A minute later, a loose ball inside 50 and subsequent snap from McWilliam bounced through for a behind. That behind proved to be the crucial score as Swan Districts managed to maintain the majority of forward half play in the final eight minutes. While Subiaco still had its chances, the McWilliam snap was the match-winner.

Popovsky and Golisano were standouts with Wolmarans having 16 disposals, two marks and a goal up forward. Grace Hahnel impressed in space taking seven marks to go with 16 disposals, three tackles and three inside 50s, while Dethlefsen (11 disposals, three goals) and Olivia Crane (11 disposals, five marks) stood out up opposite ends.

For the Swans, McWilliam’s 15 touches, four marks, four inside 50s and a goal stood out, while Mahony (14 disposals, two marks, three tackles and a goal) was also important. Indiana West, Fitzgerald and Naomi Baker all found their fair share of the ball too.


East Fremantle broke through for its first win in a month, proving too strong for cellar dwellers East Perth despite an inaccurate performance at Leederville Oval. In the second game of the double-header at the venue, the Sharks kicked 4.10 in the opening half, before straightening up for 5.4 in the second half to produce a 9.14 (68) to 1.1 (7) win.

Larissa Versaci collected a game-high 26 disposals, six marks, nine tackles and six inside 50s, while kicking three behinds. Beth Beckett (19 disposals, five marks, three tackles and a goal) and Zippy Fish (16 disposals, four marks, seven tackles and four inside 50s) impressed, while State Academy members Georgie Cleaver and Tayah Palmer kicked two goals each. Defender Julia Uhe (21 disposals, four marks) was the clear standout for the Royals.

West Perth picked up its fourth win of the season, and second over Peel Thunder with an ultra-impressive victory down in Mandurah. The Falcons had a fight on their hands for the first three quarters with scores level heading into the final break, but a 2.1 to 0.2 final term sealed the result for the visitors to run out 6.2 (38) to 4.3 (27) victors.

Jeevna Heer (22 disposals, three marks, five tackles and two inside 50s) and Taylor Ferguson (21 disposals, eight marks, three tackles and four inside 50s) took control on the respective wings, while Emily Bennett and Bianca Webb combined for 41 disposals and 23 tackles to bring the contested heat. Despite the loss, Greta McKinley brought her own ball to the game with 29 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and five inside 50s, while Ebony Dowson, Evie Cowcher and Krystal Carter all racked up more than 20 touches.

In the final game of the round, ladder leaders Claremont reasserted its authority on the competition with a 29-point win over second-placed South Fremantle. The Tigers remain undefeated heading into the final five rounds of the season, after keeping the Bulldogs goalless in three of the four quarters. While South Fremantle kicked three goals to two in the second term, that was the only one it managed to control, with the Tigers kicking six goals to nil in the other three en route to an 8.4 (52) to 3.5 (23) victory.

Claremont’s strong midfield was on-song with Jayme Harken (24 disposals, four marks and four tackles) and Matilda Sergeant (20 disposals, five marks, four tackles and three inside 50s) both controlling play. Up respective ends, Claire Ortlepp and Andie Payne impressed, with fellow co-captain Rachel Ortlepp slotting 2.2 from 12 touches and five marks. Ariana Hetherington was outstanding in the ruck with Matilda Dyke a late withdrawal for the Tiers, collecting 27 hitouts from 14 touches. Charli Wicksteed and Zoe Huggett also tried hard, while Molly O’Hehir kicked two goals.

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