FROM pouring rain to fireworks and a muddy centre circle, the Fremantle Derby had a bit of everything and it was East Fremantle that survived the conditions to outlast its southern counterparts by three goals. In a low-scoring match, two of the three goals came in the first term before the weather really took a turn, and the Bulldogs were unable to put one through the big sticks in a 3.1 (19) to 0.1 (1) loss.
East Fremantle crept back inside the top four last week after back-to-back wins over East Perth and West Perth, but was yet to defeat a top two side. The Bulldogs’ run-and-gun offence that has seen them pile on massive scores most weeks was completely nullified by Mother Nature.
Though the weather was a large part in the result, the Bulldogs’ kicking inside 50 also left a lot to be desired compared to usual, with most of their 21 inside 50s failing to find a red and white target in a meaningful spot.
Up the other end, East Fremantle had hold of the all-important field position, with almost double the inside 50s (40-21). Luckily for the home fans at the WACA, the Sharks did all their best work in the opening term, with key forward Anjelique Raison winning a one-on-one ball at ground level and setting up Larissa Versaci for the running goal.
Two minutes later and top-age talent Georgie Cleaver provided a brilliant running goal, receiving it and bursting away to kick from 45m out and it sailed home with the breeze. She would have another chance in the second term just 15m out after a free kick but would kick it into the player on the mark.
After Cleaver’s goal, just two more scoring shots would come in the final three and a bit quarters, with Raison to set up another goal, this time to Georgia Bett who snuck forward into the goalsquare. The initial kick came tucked up against the boundary, but putting it into the dangerous spot allowed Bett to kick the Sharks third and go 19 points up at the last break.
The rain only got heavier and the challenge greater for the Bulldogs, and while they did manage to avoid going scoreless via a behind midway through the last term, could not take advantage of their dangerous forwardline. East Fremantle’s defence was up to the task and cleared it time and time again, with Zippy Fish and Natasha Entwistle able to provide rebound and run down the ground.
Fish would finish with a team-high 23 disposals, two marks, four tackles and five inside 50, while the ruck combination of Cleaver (13 disposals, 12 tackles, 14 hitouts and a goal) and Laura Catherine (16 disposals, two marks, 16 hitouts and three inside 50s) had a great tag-team battle against Ariana Hetherington (17 disposals, nine tackles and 29 hitouts).
Entwistle would help herself to 12 disposals, four marks, five tackles and three inside 50s, while fellow State Academy member Caylen Crook (14 disposals, two marks, seven tackles and five inside 50s) and skipper Ashleigh Gomes (17 disposals, three tackles and six inside 50s) were also prominent.
For the Bulldogs, Kloe Bassett thrived in the wet collecting 24 disposals and laying six tackles, while youngsters Renee Morgan (17 disposals, eight tackles) and Molly O’Hehir (16 disposals, six tackles) were in the thick of it.
AROUND THE GROUNDS
Just one other game took place as part of the split Round 13 and 14 of action, with the Perth Derby bathed in sunshine the day before. In a scrappy affair, East Perth had its best result to-date, kicking the first two goals of the game to take a surprising lead over the much improved Falcons.
Within two quarters, the Falcons had piled on four majors in response, and in a fiery display that included a last quarter melee between the teams, resulted in West Perth taking home the win, 4.6 (30) to 2.2 (14).
Taylor Ferguson had eight more disposals than anyone else on the field to finish with 27, as well as four marks, eight tackles, five inside 50s and two behinds. Emily Bennett and Bianca Webb were tough at the contest, while Grace Betti and Jeevna Heer provided some great run.
For the Royals, Mel Hardy was a standout with 19 touches, three marks and three tackles, while Chloe Sauzier and Jorja Elisseou also brought the heat for the blue and black side. Former West Perth player Mahli Turland also helped herself to 12 disposals in the loss.