Dogs dare to dream after taming Lions

SOUTH Fremantle is not done with just yet in the WAFL Women’s competition after a come-from-behind over Subiaco kept its finals dream alive. A loss would have meant a line through the reigning preliminary finalist’s post-season chances, but after trailing by as much as three goals, level in the last couple of minutes, the Bulldogs found a way to get up over the Lions, 5.9 (39) to 5.7 (37).

In an evenly matched contest, two sides that were desperate to keep within striking distance of fourth placed Swan Districts it was the Lions who raced out of the blocks early. Goals to Olivia Wolmarans and Tess Lyons – both while under pressure – saw Subiaco scoot out to a 13-0 lead. The next clearance after the latter led to a shot on goal from Poppy Stockwell with South registering its first score, albeit a behind to head into quarter time 12 points down.

The work of Krstel Petrevski, Meg Brown and Hayley Corlett getting it forward was helping the Lions get on top, and soon Wolmarans kicked a second major out of nothing and the visitors were out to an 18-point lead. South was not going to go down without a fight, as bottom-age forward Alira Fotu stepped up to the plate, kicking consecutive goals in a four-minute span as the Dogs had a nice purple patch for the first half ot the second term.

Despite Fotu closing the gap to just four points by the 12-minute mark, a fantastic run-down tackle in the forward pocket by Aimee Schmidt as Caitlin Pears attempted to stroll out of defence. She made no mistake from close range on an angle and the Lions were back out to a 10-point lead at the main break.

That forward half momentum continued into the second half as the inclusion of Tiah Toth this week was proving a headache for the South midfield, while winger Corlett was pushing hard forward of the ball. She had a couple of shots on goal, and then Schmidt and Toth combined only for Bulldogs skipper Lauren Vecchio to rush through a behind at the five and a half minute mark of the term.

South would again have its chances, this time though Noa McNaughton, with the top-age crafty forward attempting to play on from a 40m set shot to get within her range but the kick just fell short on the line and was rushed across. A few minutes later she would win it that extra 10m closer and made no mistake from the set shot, and it was back within a kick.

Yet again the Lions continued to push, with both Corlett and Schmidt adding behinds to their team’s score to be seven points up with a quarter to play. A rushed behind early in the fourth term made it eight points, but it would prove not enough as McNaughton again stepped up to the plate.

In the space of four minutes the talented forward managed to kick one of the goals of the year, before producing one of the worst misses of the year. The former saw her sell candy not one, not two, but three ways before snapping as she was losing balance from 25m for it to bounce home in a ripping effort, while the latter was running into an open goal from 10m out but pushing it wide.

Regardless, with those scores and a major from Poppy Stockwell in between, the Dogs had worked the lead they had secured up to a six-point advantage. All the Lions needed was one straight kick, and that game when Toth smothered an attempted rebound and moments later a quick clearing kick landed in the arms of Corlett in the goalsqure who quickly dished off to the running Schmidt to goal.

Now on level pegging, Subiaco had it inside the attacking 50, but a great play from South defender Hunter Cronin intercepted what would have surely been at the very least a score from an open Schmidt, and sent it back the other way. It led to a set shot from Annalie Polimeno which fell short, but was scooped up by Stockwell. She snapped around her body but it went wide from a metre out on a tight angle. It had put the Dogs in front and it was up the right end.

Subiaco attempted to clear the ball, but just as the Lions attempted to roll the dice one more time, the whistle blew and a free was handed to Zoe Keley. The final siren sounded so the result was known, with Keley adding one more behind to the tally for a two-point victory.

Vecchio led from the front picking up 19 disposals and laying eight tackles, while Fotu and McNaughton were both dangerous in their spurts kicking two goals apiece. Cronin and Stockwell had their moments, while Liusaidh Gilchrist finished with 27 touches.

For Subiaco, Petrevski notched up a match-high 29 disposals as well as four marks and four tackles, while Corlett (20 disposals, three behinds) was the other major ball-winner. Beatrice Devlyn and Eva Popovsky worked hard throughout, while Wolmarans kicked two clever goals from 14 touches and five marks.

SOUTH FREMANTLE 0.1 | 2.3 | 3.5 | 5.9 (39)
SUBIACO 2.1 | 4.1 | 4.6 | 5.7 (37)

South Fremantle:
A. Fotu 2, N. McNaughton 2, P. Stockwell
Subiaco: A. Schmidt 2, O. Wolmarans 2, T. Lyons

South Fremantle:
L. Vecchio, A. Fotu, L. Gilchrist, H. Cronin, N. McNaughton
Subiaco: K. Petrevski, H. Corlett, O. Wolmarans, B. Devlyn, E. Popovsky


West Perth produced a commanding performance over East Perth to further extend its percentage advantage to Claremont as the Falcons prepare for their first finals series. In the Perth Derby, the second placed Falcons piled on 25 scoring shots to five and only conceded eight inside 50s for the entire match, while getting the ball forward on 47 occasions.

Mia Russo was a clear best on ground, booting three goals from 23 disposals, four marks, four tackles and 11 inside 50s for the Falcons, well supported by Imahra Cameron (20 disposals, three marks and five tackles). Combining well on the inside and outside, Emily Bennett (19 disposals, four marks and seven tackles) and Taylor Ferguson (18 disposals, four marks) were both busy. For the Royals, Alessia Schmiedgen booted a goal from 17 disposals, while Hannah Challender also found her fair share of the footy.

Claremont bounced back from a couple of losses to get past a struggling Peel Thunder in an inaccurate display. The sides combined for 4.16 (40) from the match, with the Tigers keeping Peel goalless in the first half, but being held goalless in two of the three quarters themselves for the 3.11 (29) to 1.5 (11) victory.

Kate Orme (27 disposals, eight marks and four tackles) led the way, while the likes of Sarah Viney (25 touches, nine tackles), Jayme Harken (23 disposals, six marks) and Jacinta Valentini (20 disposals, seven marks) were also prolific. For the Thunder, it was the usual suspects in skipper Ebony Dowson (29 disposals, five marks), Ebony Bilcich )26 disposals, six tackles) and Evie Cowcher (@2 disposals, 10 tackles) who led the way.

East Fremantle maintained its place at the top of the WAFLW ladder while outlasting Swan Districts in a low-scoring, hard-fought contest. The Sharks led narrowly at the first two breaks before gaining some breathing space at three quarter time and managing to hold on to win by 12 points, 4.10 (34) to 3.4 (22).

Unsurprisingly it was once again Zippy Fish at the forefront of the Sharks’ attack, collecting 27 disposals and kicking a goal, while fellow top-ager Taya Chambers clunked five marks from 17 disposals. Midfielders Chloe Wrigley (22 disposals, nine tackles) and Ashleigh Gomes (17 disposals) were also busy. For the Sharks, midfield duo Lily Paterson and Carys D’Addario combined for 60 disposals, 11 marks and 14 disposals, while Isabella Edgley had 20 kicks and four marks.

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