Around the Grounds: 2024 WAFL Colts – Round 10

WHILE the West Australian Under 18 side had a week off in their National Championships, only a few State Academy members suited up for their respective WAFL Colts outfits on the weekend. Claremont was handed its first loss of the season and West Perth flexed its muscles in wet and windy conditions at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

>> SCROLL for the Round 10 results & ladder

Tempers flared in the final quarter of East Perth’s win over Claremont, a culmination of the frustration the Royals were imposing on the Tigers. A flurry of early fourth-quarter majors led East Perth to cement the four points with an 11.8 (74) to 5.9 (39) win to move one win away from the top five, whilst inflicting Claremont’s first loss of the year.

The lone State Academy member for East Perth, Andre Gulluni (20 disposals, six marks, eight tackles, one goal) spearheaded the Royals’ offensive flare in the early stages of the fourth quarter. He filled the gaps in the corridor with his defensive presence, providing tackle pressure to force turnovers, and a willingness to generate run and carry heading inside 50. His momentum was rewarded late as he bolted inside 50 to receive a quick handball and checkside through his only goal of the day.

Earlier in the contest, Gulluni slowly imposed himself with his natural burst speed out of the defensive half, generating quick dish-off handballs in transition along with the occasional neat kick in a forward passage.

Oliver Diaz (eight disposals, seven marks) was a defensive rock in East Perth’s backline, reliable in all aspects of his game tactically to hold his position as the deepest backman, taking three intercept marks within the first quarter. Diaz utilised his frame well in marking contests up the ground and was rewarded for his efforts clunking some impressive contested marks to force turnovers.

Jacob De Santis (14 disposals, three marks, one goal) was a workhorse for the Royals, providing a marking presence in offensive passages, and capitalising on his patience to size up his options inside 50, getting on the end of a few goal assists. His performance was topped off with a nice set shot from 40 metres to seal the four points.

Another contributor to East Perth’s crafty forward thinking was Angus Motherwell (15 disposals, two goals) who hunted relentlessly outside forward 50 to generate inside 50 entries. His movement patterns at the drop of the ball in the contest led him to assist the first goal with quick hands, and later on found himself scoring a goal worthy of a spot in the Euro’s spinning around and half-volleying the ball off the deck. As the game tired out, his work rate lifted with smart leads up the ground slowing the ball down and holding possession.

You couldn’t fault the effort of Claremont’s Oscar Willis (18 disposals, three marks), with the State Academy member having a day of almost moments. His running patterns around the contest were effective and he generally found ease in extracting it under pressure.

There were a few moments of sloppiness with his disposal around the contest that let him down at times, although his presence was felt with his ability to sweep off half-back to impact a change in angle with his kicking moving forward in transition.

Jezurahn Balacky (seven disposals, three tackles) was insistent on creating a spark at half-forward with his bounce around the loose ball. He had nice moments of composure moving the ball forward, showcasing some moments of desperation one-on-one, willing his team forward where scoring opportunities were limited.

Midfielder Will Wildberger (16 disposals, seven tackles, five marks) and secondary ruckman Lucas Ravenhill (14 disposals, 19 hitouts, one goal) didn’t waver with their effort around the contest, both imposing with their physicality and courage.

Wildberger was crafty at the stoppages with his roving ability, and generated some much needed pace inside 50, whilst Ravenhill was able to utilise his size advantage when moving up forward kicking the first goal of the second half.

As the rain belted down in the first and last quarters at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, West Perth flicked the switch midway through the second quarter to finish the game on a 2-68 run, coming home 3.4 (22) to 11.19 (85) winners, moving up into second place in the process.

East Perth’s solitary State Academy member Jayden Rigoll (24 disposals, five tackles, four inside 50s) was impactful at the stoppages all game, with neat running patterns to execute quick handballs and kicks moving inside 50.

Rigoll was able to size up his options ahead of the play and was decisive with his kicking inside 50 in wet and windy conditions. His strength at the stoppage forced separation which he took advantage of, getting first hands on the footy and bursting away with his first few steps, never seeming to flick out of his offensive mindset.

His partner in crime, Jack Wooden (26 disposals, four marks, four inside 50s), was pivotal in the Falcons stoppage dominance, reading the ruckwork to a tee, generating repeat looks inside 50, and hitting the scoreboard at crucial times in the contest. Wooden’s quick instincts were impactful in offensive transition, and in congestion in the wet, his one-on-one strength stood up forcing the ball back the other way.

Judd Marcello (nine disposals, four marks, three tackles) added some crafty moments to his highlight reel, impacting with his forward craft to flick home a goal kicked off the ground. He maximised his bodywork deep inside 50, to receive a well-weighted kick over the top to stroll into goal for an easy second and was rewarded for his positioning in pockets of space.

For the Sharks, their early competitiveness was led by Taj Forrest (two goals, four marks) who was productive and complimentary of well-executed forward 50 entries, nailing his first two set shots in nearly identical spots from 45 metres out. His work rate didn’t waver as momentum turned, presenting as an option higher up the ground, impacting with his strong hands in marking contests.

Kaydn Wilson (10 disposals, three marks) was lively in the Sharks forward half, often making up for a disposal error with a follow-up pressure act which started to turn things his way. His agility in one-on-ones around loose ball contests gave him moments of burst and speed to reel around inside 50, and his hunt to get first hands on the footy was productive in forward entries.

Jayden Lacquiere (18 disposals, two marks) restricted the floodgates opening early with his sound defensive presence to fill the gaps inside defensive 50 and restrict the impact of West Perth’s small forwards. His decision-making in defensive 50 transition was well executed and took a safe approach when pressure was being applied. His defensive moments were topped off by some goal-saving efforts that kept the margin within a reasonable distance.

The action returns for the State Academy team this weekend as Western Australia head over to Thebarton Oval to face South Australia in search of their first win of the National Championships series.


West Perth:
Jayden Rigoll – 24 disposals, 5 tackles, 4 inside 50s

East Perth:
Andre Gulluni – 20 disposals, 6 marks, 8 tackles, 1 goal

Oscar Willis – 18 disposals, 3 marks, 1 inside 50

>> FULL SQUAD: 2024 Western Australia Under 18s


East Fremantle 3.4 (22) def. by West Perth 11.19 (85)
East Perth 11.8 (74) def. Claremont 5.9 (39)


1. Claremont (7-1, 141.88%)
2. West Perth (5-2-1, 134.42%)
3. Subiaco (5-3, 105.36%)
4. East Fremantle (4-4, 112.04%)
5. Swan Districts (3-4, 94.98%)

6. East Perth (3-5, 84.70%)
7. Perth (2-4-1, 84.07%)
8. Peel Thunder (2-5, 87.01%)
9. South Fremantle (2-5, 68.95%)

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