Loss ends Thunder finals hope
REIGNING premiers Peel Thunder were unceremoniously dumped from finals contention by AFL alignment rivals East Perth with a solid 84-point victory by the Royals at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
The 16.18 (114) to 4.6 (30) victory placed the Royals in the five at the right time of the season and they face Claremont at Claremont Oval on Sunday.
A number of West Coast squad members played important roles in the victory in a game that will not be remembered for its high standards.
Docker Danyle Pearce did not manage a farewell game for the Dockers but tried hard for his WAFL side and is likely to retire now.
SUBIACO achieved a rare feat by completing the home and away season undefeated on Saturday with a thumping 72-point victory over Perth, 17.10 (112) to 6.4 (40).
Subiaco now enjoy a week off as the other four sides in the finals compete to challenge the all-conquering Lions, who only need two more victories to secure the premiership.
Subiaco were never challenged in a game that saw them break away to a 21-point lead at quartertime despite a slow start.
The Lions increased this to 39 points at the main break as they dominated proceedings through the familiar avenues of their powerhouse midfield of Kyal Horsley and Josh Deluca. Ruckman Zac Clarke again controlled the tap-outs.
Ben Sokol had another excellent day, finishing with five goals for Subiaco.
The margin had blown out to 50 points by threequarter time and the result was academic, but the Lions took even more control against a Perth side that didn’t cope well with the pressure applied by the league leaders.
CLAREMONT waited until after the siren to confirm they will host an elimination final next weekend against East Perth with a five-point win over Swan Districts on the weekend.
Trailing the Swans most of the day, Tigers champion Jye Bolton managed a longdistance goal from a mark on the siren to clinch the victory.
The 13.13 (91) to 13.8 (86) win cemented fourth spot ahead of the Royals, who would have jumped Claremont to host the final at Leederville if the Tigers had lost due to superior percentage.
The game also saw the end of the career of Swans defender Kirk Ugle, who was chaired off and shown great respect by the Swans faithful.
Swans came out of the blocks early with three first-quarter goals to one, and extended that lead by half-time to three goals.
Claremont came back at Swans in the third term to narrow the gap to just six points at the final change and were able to throw everything at the Swans in the final quarter to get home in the end.
Tom Lee stepped up in the second half with a dominant performance in attack and Swans debutant 17-year-old Mitchell Bain kicked one of the goals of the year with a blistering run and long goal in the final term to keep Swans in the contest.
Alex Manuel had a big day with five goals for the Tigers, while Brayden Noble kicked a career-best four goals, all in the first half for Swans.
SOUTH Fremantle are travelling very nicely as they enter the finals campaign and had little more than a training run against a East Fremantle to register a massive 113-point victory at East Fremantle Oval on the weekend, 23.11 (149) to just 5.6 (36).
The loss ends coach Rob Wiley’s stint at the club and a very disappointing period for the Sharks, who promised much with an aggressive recruitment drive before the season.
The Bulldogs were dominant from the outset despite missing some key players through injury and enter the finals in very good shape.
SUBIACO continued their great form coming into the finals and threw everything at league leaders East Fremantle in the Mundella WAWFL Grand Final but just couldn’t hold them out in a frantic last quarter to go down by just five points, the final score 6.5 (41) to 5.6 (36).
East Fremantle kicked two goals for a 13-point lead at quarter-time.
A terrific second quarter saw six goals kicked for the term, with three goals a piece and a 12-point lead retained by the season trendsetters, East Fremantle.
Subiaco came back strongly in the third term and scores were level at the final change, with the scene set for a classic final term.
The last quarter was an absolute arm wrestle and the Sharks scored the only goal of the quarter at the 13minute mark to snatch the lead and hang on for the final siren. The game was a fitting end to an outstanding season.
Peel Thunder’s Brandon Matera had eyes only for the ball.