The Price is right: Falcons do it again

WEST PERTH is making a habit out of snatching victory out of the jaws of defeat in the dying moments of a match, and after stunning Claremont last week, doubled down with an incredible win over South Fremantle. The Falcons trailed by as much as 17 points early in the fourth term, before kicking 3.2 to 0.1 in the final term to run over the top of the Bulldogs and win, 5.6 (36) to 5.4 (34).

This week it was inclusion Elissa Price who became the hero not once, but twice at both ends of the ground in an incredible finish. Trailing the entire match since Shannyn Pomersbach kicked the opening goal of the game, the Falcons looked out of it at times but just kept coming right until the final siren.

With four and a half minutes left, West Perth top-ager Megan Norbury burst down the middle of the field and weaved her way past opponents to kick inside 50 and get it to a pack of players. Winning it and throwing it on her boot around her body, Price’s snap sailed home for a goal to put the Falcons in front for the first time in the match.

But it was not Price’s only game-winning moment. She ensured her last five minutes were etched into the Falcons’ memory bank by pushing hard into defence to help out, and when South Fremantle’s Poppy Stockwell lined up a flying shot that was going straight through the middle to regain the lead with two minutes to play, Price clunked a mark on the goalline, playing goalkeeper.

From there, the Falcons were able to hold on with Imahra Cameron taking a crucial contested mark on the wing, and after being awarded a 50m penalty, wore down the clock and had the last kick of the game. For the second week in a row, West Perth had overcome a slow start and a multiple goal deficit to finish strong and take home the four points.

The opening term belonged to South Fremantle, kicking 3.2 (20) without West Perth scoring, and considering the Bulldogs’ early dominance, they should have put five or six majors on the board. Goals to Pomersbach, Stockwell and Noa McNaughton had the team up and about, and when Annalie Polimeno just missed a flying shot in the opening five minutes of the second term, the score was 21-0.

Enter Kayla Van Den Heever. The overager stepped up to kick her side’s first two goals and provide a much needed spark. Along with the likes of Norbury and Emily Bennett through midfield, and Kaitlyn Roper intercepting off half-back, the Falcons were starting to work their way into the game. They had been jumped, but were back on an even keel.

However a couple of missed chances in the third term saw some doubt creep back into the visitors, with South Fremantle converting two more goals as Polimeno kicked her first, and Stockwell nailed her second – a long-range effort that bounced home – to build a 17-point lead at the final change.

There was some drama on the three quarter time siren, as Pomersbach gathered the ball inside 50 after winning a one-on-one but as she went to put ball to boot, the siren sounded. Naturally the ball would dribble through the unattended goals, but it would not count, leaving the margin at 17, rather than 23 points.

Both sides had some early chances in the fourth quarter with Van Den Heever missing a third chance on goal, but two minutes later she laid a strong tackle and earned a free kick which she duly delivered another goal. When defender Liliana Grassenis found the space to charge forward and pump it inside 50, the Falcons were building belief. Then came a mark and set shot goal from Natasha Spurr, and the deficit was down to just four points.

It would not be the last chance South Fremantle got to build the lead, with the Bulldogs capitalising on some poor defending from the Falcons with seven minutes to go. The home side chipped around for multiple marks inside 50 before deciding on Madizen Wilkins to take a set shot from 25m. It unfortunately pushed to the left and hit the post, which meant there was still less than a kick in it.

From there, history was written with Norbury and Price combining for what would be the match-winning goal, and then Price saved the day a second time with her strong mark on the defensive goalline. Though it was a result that had to be seen to be believed for a second straight week considering where they came from, the Falcons had done it again and got home by just two points.

West Perth had plenty of contributors in the end, with Norbury (19 disposals, three marks and seven tackles), Bennett (13 disposals, eight tackles) and Roper (18 disposals, five marks, three tackles) among the best. Cameron racked up a game-high 22 disposals and eight marks, while Van Den Heever kicked 3.3 to be the major goalkicker on the ground. Bianca Webb and Taylor Ferguson were also prominent.

For the Bulldogs, Liusaidh Gilchrist (19 disposals, five marks and four tackles) was the dominant ball-winner, while Stockwell’s two majors and forward craft shone. McNaughton (14 disposals, one goal) and Molly O’Hehir (14 disposals, three marks and five tackles) both had their moments in the loss as well, while skipper Lauren Vecchio and Hunter Cronin did some nice things out of defence.

SOUTH FREMANTLE 3.2 | 3.3 | 5.3 | 5.4 (34)
WEST PERTH 0.0 | 2.2 | 2.4 | 5.6 (36)

South Fremantle: P. Stockwell 2, N. McNaughton, A. Polimeno, S. Pomersbach
West Perth: K. Van Den Heever 3, E. Price. N. Spurr

South Fremantle: P. Stockwell, M. O’Hehir, L. Vecchio, H. Cronin, L. Gilchrist
West Perth: M. Norbury, E. Bennett, K. Roper, K. Van Den Heever, I. Cameron


Subiaco ensured it kept in touch with Swan Districts, producing a convincing 43-point win over Peel Thunder. The Lions had a fight on their hands early, but kicked away after quarter time with eight goals to two to win, 9.11 (65) to 3.4 (22).

Winger Hayley Corlett was a key inclusion, having seven shots on goal and slotting three majors from 22 disposals and six marks to be. a standout on the ground. Krstel Petrevski, Madison Dodd and Eva Popovsky were lively throughout, while bottom-ager Olivia Wolmarans was busy through ruck and forward. For the Thunder, Ebony Dowson (37 disposals, seven marks) and Ebony Bilcich (32) had the ball on a string, while Gracie Fenton and Evie Cowcher also accumulated plenty of it.

East Fremantle poured more pain on Claremont in the second grand final rematch of the season, keeping the out-of-form Tigers goalless for three quarters to win by 21 points. Kicking. the first five goals of the game, the Sharks put away their rivals after three quarters to win 5.3 (33) to 1.6 (12).

Zippy Fish (25 disposals, four marks, 12 tackles and a goal) was dominant once again, working well with Sharon Wong (15 disposals, two goals) in hitting the scoreboard, while midfielders Beth Beckett, Chloe Wrigley and Ashleigh Gomes were all prominent once again. For the Tigers, Jayme Harken (30 disposals) and Jacinta Valentini (22 disposals, seven marks) tried hard, and youngster Juliet Kelly caught the eye.

In the most one-sided match of the weekend, Swan Districts put East Perth to the sword with a 101-point demolition of the Royals. The Black Ducks had a quiet one-goal second term, but piled on a ridiculous 12 goals in the second half in a massive 17.12 (114) to 2.1 (13) victory.

Damaging forward Courtney Zappara had a field day slotting seven goals from 10 scoring shots, as well as 16 disposals and four marks. Her fellow forward Emily McGuire kicked four, while usual defender Isabella Edgley nailed three. Lily Paterson (36 disposals) Was outstanding through midfield, wile Luka Davis and Carys D’Addario both found plenty of it. In a tough day at the office, Havana Milner (14 disposals, one goal) and Jess Verbrugge (13 disposals, three marks) both tried hard.

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