Around the Grounds: 2023 WAFL – Round 8
A WET and wild weekend of Perth weather played host to the WAFL’s WA Day Round, with a couple of upset results in the local derbies headlining the action.
Claremont proved its forward line could cover the loss of mid-season draftee Jack Buller, after booting 131 points on the way to an 86-point win over Perth at Mineral Resources Park.
The Tigers had full control of the contest from start to finish, dominating the possession and territory battles to return to the winners list and keep in touch with top spot.
Swan Districts notched a much needed win, snapping its trend of narrow losses with a comfortable 81-point victory over West Coast at Steel Blue Oval.
The Eagles, featuring top mid-season draftee Ryan Maric, were competitive across the first two and a half quarters, but ran out of legs late as the Swans kicked away to secure an important percentage boosting win.
Subiaco underlined its credentials with a six-point win over Peel Thunder in Mandurah. In difficult conditions, the Lions outmuscled their opponents around the football to seal the victory that sees them draw equal on points with Peel at the top of the table.
In apocalyptic conditions at the WACA, South Fremantle retained bragging rights over East Fremantle, edging over their rivals by 15-points. The Bulldogs’ defence was watertight, holding a potent Sharks forward line to just two goals as they went on the secure a remarkable 15th consecutive win over their local rivals.
In the round’s other derby, East Perth made a statement, bursting out of the blocks to defeat West Perth by 36-points at Leederville Oval. The Royals set the tone from the outset, opening a 21-point lead at the first change and they never looked back, going on the clinch their most impressive victory of the season to date.
With the National Under 18 Championships kicking off this weekend, the state’s brightest prospects have been absent from club duties in preparation for the carnival.
MATURE AGE WATCH – Angus Schumacher (East Perth)
There have been few more influential figures in East Perth’s improved form this year than former Carlton midfielder Angus Schumacher, with the Bendigo Pioneers product enjoying an outstanding season in a strong Royals on-ball group. He was superb again on the weekend, racking up 34 disposals and five tackles to help his side to a big win over the reigning premiers.
The 24-year-old is one of the more dynamic midfielders in the league, with his 194cm frame and penetrating kick seeing him be an extremely effective clearance player. He attracted attention from in the lead up to the mid-season draft, with Sydney among the clubs interested, and while he went undrafted, his strong performances at state-league level show no signs of slowing down.