Sharks surge past Swans in semi

A COUPLE of critical moments from bottom-age talent Zippy Fish in the third term sealed East Fremantle’s spot in the 2023 WAFL Women’s Preliminary Final after defeating Swan Districts by 29 points at Fremantle Oval yesterday.

The Sharks were in control for the most part in the match and looked fairly comfortable at the main break, but Fish produced a goal assist and then a major herself within a few minutes to seal the 7.4 (46) to 2.5 (17).

Granted at that point, East Fremantle looked like winners, leading by 25 points, but Swan Districts remained alive with a number of chances, including in the first term. Unfortunately to that point the score stood at 5.3 to 1.2 and one more goal would just about ice the game.

Then Fish provided two. One from a brilliant burst out of a half-forward stoppage and elite pass across her body at top speed to the well positioned Anjelique Raison. Then she got on the board herself, converting a set shot from 45m out with a favourable bounce. It had blown the margin out to 37 points by the last change and it was game over.

East Fremantle had more forward half entries with 28 inside 50s to 20, and a lot of those Swan Districts inside 50s came in the first and fourth quarters. When the game was up to be won, East Fremantle had the answers and knocked off the Black Ducks for the first time in the 2023 season after two previous losses to their opponents.

Swan Districts was not without its moments, having a couple of chances during that first term that just went begging, and by the time Hope Ugle-Hayward kicked her side’s first of the contest in the 14th minute of the second term, her side still trailed by 19 points.

A late ripper from Larissa Versaci provided an immediate response for the third placed side, as she celebrated with the crowd. Last year’s grand finalists were edging towards that decider again, and when Fish brought her magic in the third term, it was done and dusted.

Swan Districts had its best chances in the final term but could only convert 1.3, with a soccer off the deck from Taylah Edwards hitting the post and denying a miracle start. Competition second leading goalkicker Courtney Zappara added a second goal to the cause after those early misses, but ultimately it was too little, too late. East Fremantle enjoyed the 7.4 (46) to 2.5 (17) victory and booked its place in next week’s preliminary final against South Fremantle.

Though not a high disposal game, plenty of players shared the pill around, with Sharks midfielders Sharon Wong, Beth Beckett and Ashleigh Gomes all getting their hands on it. Raison was impressive with two goals from 11 disposals, three marks and seven hitouts, while fellow State Academy members Fish and Leitch also stepped up.

For Swan Districts, Jaime Henry battled hard all day and had 16 disposals and three marks, while Ruby Mahony (15 disposals, 12 tackles) and Isabella Edgley (12 disposals, three marks and five tackles) were also among the best.


Claremont reached its second successive grand final with a 16-point win over South Fremantle at Revo Fitness Stadium, earning a break next week. The Bulldogs did well defensively to contain the reigning premiers to just four goals, but could only convert the two themselves, and the Tigers got up, 4.5 (29) to 2.1 (13).

In a nail-biting first term, Claremont scored the only behind of the quarter in the first two minutes. With a 20-minute lull in scoring, the Tigers hit the scoreboard with a six-pointer in the third minute of the second term via midfielder Sarah Viney and lead by as much as eight points midway through the term. Bethany Bond responded with a critical goal of her own, though that was to be countered by Tess Blackburn on the eve of half-time.

Trailing by eight points at the main break, Bond kicked another in the opening 90 seconds of the quarter, before Claremont again responded via Jayme Harken. At the final break, the margin was again eight points, and anyone’s game.

Claremont took full advantage of that situation though, with Kobi Nichols converting the game sealer in the seventh minute of the last quarter. Though South Fremantle restricted the Tigers to just the four majors, and only 1.2 in the final term, it would not be enough in the 16-point defeat.

Harken finished with 23 disposals and a goal, while Viney (20 disposals, one goal and 12 tackles) and Matilda Sergeant (22 disposals, four marks and six tackles) were also prolific. Kate Orme and Claire Ortlepp were the other 15-plus disposal winners.

For South Fremantle, ruck Ariana Hetherington was the top ball-winner in a different role as Zoe Huggett and Ella Ward primarily took those duties. Young guns Renee Morgan (17 disposals, eight tackles) and Molly O’Hehir (15 disposals, four marks and five tackles) were prominent.

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