WAFLW R7 wrap: Royals rise to maiden win

EAST Perth cracked through for its first ever WAFL Women’s win by overcoming fellow winless side Peel Thunder on a historic day. The Royals had been peppering for a win for some time, and after leading by 14 points at the main break, survived a third quarter fightback to post a 13-point win, 5.5 (35) to 3.4 (22).

Pre-game the Royals were excited about the challenge given both sides were yet to get a win and the visitors were arguably in better form. Only a disappointing Round 1 loss kept them at the bottom of the table, but much improved efforts in the past few weeks had been promising. East Perth also brought in AFLW-listed duo Jessica Rentsch and Kayley Kavanagh to help with the push for the first win, though the latter copped a knock to her knee early in the first term.

After a scrappy start and both teams trying their best, East Perth was dealt with a double blow as Courtney Horsham limped off to make it two players down in the opening term. After missing a chance via a snap from Chloe Sauzier, the Royals watched as Peel Thunder raced it down the other end and Ebony Bilcich calmly slotted one off a step.

Down by a goal at quarter time, bottom-age talent Lucy Greenwood stepped up to the plate. In a remarkable purple patch midway through the term, she set up goals to Sauzier and Courtney Lindgren either side of kicking her own major. Essentially she was the catalyst for the win as the Royals did not look back.

Even when Bilcich kicked her second major from a long-range set shot to cut it to eight points and then a Kaitlyn Hayes snap drew it within a kick. The Thunder kept coming to the point of levelling the scores and had most of the play in the premiership quarter, but against the momentum the Royals worked it down the other end and Makayla Rogers got on the end of the chain to lift the visitor’s spirits.

Peel Thunder bottom-ager Evie Cowcher moved into the middle and won the first two clearances, and while Peel were pushing, but Lindgren won it off hands with a deep kick to stretch the lead back out to 13 points which ended up being the final margin.

Greenwood’s goal and two goal assists in the third term was the spark, also collecting 13 disposals, four marks and six tackles. Jess Verbrugge (15 disposals, two marks and two tackles), Emily Boothman (12 disposals, three marks and four inside 50s) and Sabella Banks (18 disposals, two marks and three tackles) were also among the best. Lindgren was the most damaging forward with 2.2 from 12 disposals, five marks and four inside 50s.

Bilcich was the clear standout for the Thunder, racking up 23 disposals, three tackles, six inside 50s and two goals, while Gracie Fenton was the other player above 12 disposals. State Academy members Dakota Sexton and Evie Cowcher also worked hard around the ground.

PEEL THUNDER 1.1 | 1.1 | 3.3 | 3.4 (22)
EAST PERTH 0.1 | 3.3 | 4.3 | 5.5 (35)

Peel Thunder:
E. Bilcich 2, K. Hayes
East Perth: C. Lindgren 2, L. Greenwood, C. Sauzier, M. Rogers

Peel Thunder:
E. Bilcich, E. Dowson, D. Sexton, E. Cowcher, B. Jackman
East Perth: L. Greenwood, J. Verbrugge, E. Boothman, S. Banks, C. Lindgren


East Fremantle leapt up to second spot on the WAFL Women’s ladder with a six-goal victory over previous occupants West Perth at Pentanet Stadium. Controlling most of the play, East Fremantle held the Falcons scoreless in the second half to run away with the 7.3 (45) to 1.3 (9) victory.

Top AFLW draft prospect Zippy Fish racked up an incredible 39 disposals, five marks, four tackles, seven inside 50s and kicked a goal as she did as she pleased all night, enjoying the open spaces. Chloe Wrigley (22 disposals, seven tackles) And Ashleigh Gomes (19 disposals) also found plenty of the ball in the midfield, while Laura Catherine kicked two goals from nine touches. Philipa Seth (16 disposals, six marks and five tackles) was also influential around the ground.

Falcons midfielder Emily Bennett (26 disposals) led all-comers on her side, while winger Taylor Ferguson (25 disposals, four inside 50s) and Mia Russo (24 disposals, three marks, five tackles and five inside 50s) also found plenty of it. Brooke Hongell and Kaitlyn Roper were also productive with 19 touches apiece, combining for 11 tackles, while the former kicked her side’s only major.

Claremont maintained its unbeaten streak with a hard-fought 10-point win over Subiaco. Though the Tigers had a plus-10 inside 50s differential and comfortably win the disposals, the Subiaco defence held up well for the most part. Though they did close to within a kick in the final term, the Lions could not quite get over line as second-gamer Savannah Muir nailed the game winning with four minutes left on the clock.

Jayme Harken (23 disposals, two marks, three tackles and three inside 50s) found plenty of it across the ground to be the top ball-winner against her former side, while Claudia Wright returned from AFLW Academy duties to record 19 disposals, five marks and eight tackles. Kate Orme ad ruck Jessica Ritchie were also influential in the victory, while Adele Arnup slotted three goals up forward.

Olivia Wolmarans rolled through the ruck and rested forward to collect a team-high 18 disposals and 18 hitouts for the Lions, while fellow youngsters Madison Dodd (15 disposals, 10 tackles) and Eva Popovsky (13 disposals, nine tackles) brought the heat. Leila Rowe kicked two majors and was the only multiple goalkicker.

In the final game of the round, South Fremantle held off Swan Districts enough to notch up its third win of the season and move to an even keel of 3-3 for the year. The Bulldogs led throughout the match, but were forced to hold on in the last quarter as the Black Ducks kicked the only two goals of the final term. In the end though it was a case of too little, too late and the home side won, 7.4 (46) to 5.2 (32).

Star top-ager Molly O’Hehir had a field day across the ground racking up 26 disposals, three marks, five tackles and four inside 50s, teaming up well with the likes of Tahleah Mulder and Alyssa Smogavec who also finished with 20-plus touches. Up forward, Poppy Stockwell continued her wonderful season form with two goals from 14 touches and three marks, while Pippa Sideris also kicked two majors.

For Swan Districts, bottom-age midfielder Carys D’Addario and partner-in-crime Lily Paterson were busy despite the strength of the Bulldogs’ midfield, each finding plenty of the ball an laying a combined 15 tackles and kicking a goal. Kayley King (13 disposals, two goals) did the most damage on the scoreboard, while defender Isabella Edgley and ruck Lauren Quaife got the upper hand in their battles.

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