ROUND 14 in the West Australian Football League (WAFL) Colts saw the top two teams meet, while a new contender emerged for the last finals berth.
WAFL Colts Round 14 Wrap:
Subiaco 12.8 (80) defeated Peel Thunder 7.11 (53)
A strong second half performance has earned Subiaco their fifth straight win and a return to the top of the ladder for the first time in two months after a 27-point win against their closest rival Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval on Saturday.
The scene was set for a great encounter between the two hottest teams in the WAFL Colts in 2018. After starting the season 1-3, the visitors brought a seven game winning streak into the contest while after a sticky spell, Subiaco had won four games in a row.
A partly cloudy day with little breeze greeted both teams onto the field and the first few minutes saw Subiaco dominate the play. Jordan Faroane kicked the first goal of the game for the Lions but Ben Middleton crumbed well to give Peel the quick reply. Subiaco took back the early initiative with a goal to Jack Mayo from 45 metres from a acute angle. After an extended part of the quarter was defined by strong pressure tackling by both teams, it was Peel who broke the deadlock through key forward Lachlan Cullen. Soon after, Cullen appeared to push his opponent out the contest but the mark was paid and he kicked his second from 15 metres to give Peel their first lead of the game. Cullen was proving a real headache for the Lions defence and he took another mark just before the siren. Although the kick missed, Peel had illustrated their credentials from the 10 minute mark of that quarter.
Zane Shellabear Healey got the home side of to the perfect start in the second term where he was all alone in the forward 50 and able to dribble it through from 30 metres. Not soon after, Jack McIntosh gave the Lions back the lead with a true snap on goal. Just like the early stages of the contest, Subiaco was dictating the terms as Peel has suddenly lost its forward structure and composure in possession. For all Subi’s dominance, they only led by five points so the visitors were well in the contest. With the weight of possession came opportunities for Subiaco’s forwards and Mayo kicked his second for the half with a fine goal from the boundary. Middleton kicked Peel’s first for the second quarter which was vital to take a bit of momentum away from the Lions. The halftime siren saw the Lions lead by five points in an intriguing half of football.
It looked to be a battle of the key forwards with Mayo for Subiaco, and Cullen and Middleton for the Thunder set to have a key say in proceedings in the next 50 minutes. Nicolas Martin gave Subiaco the best possible start after the long break with a mark and goal from 35 metres in front and he backed that up a few minutes later with his second and give Subiaco their biggest lead of the game of 16 points. Some excellent forward pressure from Faroane forced a fumble from his opponent and he took advantage kicking his second of the game. Both teams then had their chances but it was the Lions who went into the final change leading by 24 points. Some great interplay by ball magnets Jacob Peletier and Tristan Hobley set up Martin for his third to take them a massive step closer to icing the four points.
However, good teams like Peel always manage to hit back hard and they did so through a classy goal to James Wiltshire from the boundary and then Cullen took a strong mark and goal to narrow the gap to under three goals with fifteen minutes remaining. It was now Subiaco’s time to reply and some good ball movement saw Duane Oxenham-Smith kick his first and arguably the sealer. Once again the pure determination by Subiaco in their forward 50 was superb as 15 year old Tyler Broughton ripped the hall away from his opponent and snapped truly. Peel bottom-ager Jack Sears kicked a clever goal from a acute angle, but it was Mayo who had the final say in the contest kicking his third which made the final margin 27 points and move the Lions a game and percentage clear of Peel and Swan Districts on the ladder.
In the end it was a very composed performance by the Lions in a hotly contested battle befitting of the two top teams on the ladder. Their pressure around the ball especially in the second half was superb and that was able to force mistakes from their opponents which they were able to seize upon and create opportunities of their own.
To put Subiaco’s 2018 season into perspective, this win was their ninth for the season. In the previous three seasons they had only won 12 games combined (including a one win season in 2016). Their last finals appearance was back in 2013, and while they wouldn’t want to be getting ahead of themselves in any way, it is looking very likely that they will make a long-awaited to September action this year.
Although Peel’s coaching group will be aware they they can play a lot better, they will have lost few friends with their competitive performance. In truth, they lost the contest in the second and third quarters being outscored six goals to one and lost all momentum they had after a very impressive first quarter.
Hobley (28 disposals, six marks and six tackles) and Peletier (24 disposals and seven marks) were strong contributors and the impact of their forwards Mayo (11 disposals, seven marks and three goals) and Nicholas Martin (17 disposals, six marks and three goals) were essential to the victory.
Sturrock (25 disposals, six tackles) and Riley (21 disposals, eight marks) were solid contributors all game for the Thunder while Cullen was a strong target with three goals.
In other games;
South Fremantle put on a emphatic display to defeat Claremont by 82 points at Fremantle Oval and with the win moved into the top five for the first time this season.
The final score was 15.13 (103) to 3.3 (21).
Lachlan Feeney kicked four for the home side and he was well supported by Lachlan Johnson and Thomas Weston each with two. It was a grim old day for the Tigers with Liam Henry and Benjamin Elliott the only goal kickers.
Feeney had 20 disposals and eight marks to go along with his four goals while their on-ball brigade had a field day, as Tom Blechynden had 34 disposals, Enrique Aiken-Featherstone with 28 disposals and Jack Musika 27 disposals to name just three. Liam Henry tried all day with 20 disposals and nine tackles for last years grand finalists who with their poor percentage (71.5) fell to the bottom of the ladder.
Meanwhile, East Fremantle continued their impressive form to defeat West Perth by 43 points at East Fremantle Oval and further entrench themselves in the top five.
The final score was 12.12 (84) to 5.11(41).
Bottom-ager Connor McPartland was the leading goalkicker with four goals while Ethan Brown kicked two. There were five individual goalkickers for the Falcons.
Milan Murdock was irrepressible with 33 disposals but was also superb with 16 tackles while McPartland also had eight tackles, six marks and 16 disposals to go with his four majors. Meanwhile Nathan Murray kept up his superb season with 37 disposals, four marks and four tackles along with a goal.
In the round’s final game, a powerful last quarter display saw Swan Districts consign Perth to their fifth loss in a 39 point win – 9.15 (69) to 4.6 (30).
Bottom-age youngster Nelson White and Matthew Russo each kicked two goals for the home side while Kade Walldrot racked up 29 disposals and seven tackles. Meanwhile for Perth, Zac Casey was their best on the day with 27 disposals, nine marks and eight tackles.