Every week, Footy Prophet will be giving you the best coverage of the WAFL U/18 action.
Subiaco 4.2. 7.5 14.7 19.11(125)
East Perth 1.5 3.9 6.10 7.10 (52)
Subiaco made the best possible start as they look to atone for a very disappointing 2017 season by thrashing last years’ preliminary finalists East Perth by 73 points at Leederville Oval.
It was warm sunshine which greeted both sets of players for the first round encounter for 2018 on Good Friday. Subiaco’s Jacob Pelletier had the honour of kicking the first goal of the season and Harley Sparks hit back for the Royals. However, three goals in eight minutes from bottom-ager Michael Georgiades, Daniel Frost and Sam West gave the Lions a handy 15 point lead at quarter time.
Jack Mayo then kicked the first of the second term for the Lions and the alarm bells were starting to ring for the East Perth coaching staff. Rory Sparks kicked a vital goal for East Perth to stem the bleeding but bottom-ager Levi Duyckers and top-ager Luke Foley replied for Subiaco to give them a 28 point lead halfway through the second term. Liam Martin kicked the third goal for East Perth to leave them with a 20 point deficit at the long break.
In terms of general play, East Perth should have been a lot closer than they were with both teams having the same amount of scoring shots and the Lions just edging the possession count(158-150). However, it was the ruck work of Xavier Peacock (16 hit-outs) which was giving his midfielders first use out of the middle and around the ground.
The Hickmott brothers (Will and Liam) capitalised the most from that dominance leading the way for the Lions with 16 and 12 disposals respectively while the seven individual goalkickers illustrated a great brand of team football.
Zane Shellabear Healey broke that trend early in the second becoming the first multiple goalkicker of the game with two in as many minutes. Martin then kicked his second for the Royals to keep them in with a fighting chance, however, they couldn’t afford to trade goals with the opponents if they wanted to significantly challenge them in the second half.
West then became Subiaco’s second multiple-goal scorer of the game to push the lead out past five goals yet again. Martin was proving the one reliable focal point in the Royals forward line kicking his second for the quarter, but yet again the Lions had the response through Frost. When 15-year old Taj Schofield (son of senior Lions coach Jarrad) kicked Subiaco’s fifth for the quarter, it gave them their biggest lead of the game (37 points) and moving ever closer to a first-up win for 2018.
Two more goals from Mayo and Schofield put the game on ice for Subi before a belated consolation by bottom ager Rhai-Arn Cox just before the siren.
Teams like to set a standard early on in the season, and for Subiaco, the seven-goal quarter was a great starting point.
The final quarter was a formality but that did not come into the minds of the Lions players as they piled on the pain for their co-tenants by kicking another five goals to one and finishing with a thumping win.
In all, Subiaco shared the load superbly with 11 goal scorers for the contest, with eight players scoring two.
Naturally, in the second half, due to the Lions overall dominance, it was shown on the stats sheet as they compiled 79 more possessions (336-257), 19 more inside 50s (52-33) and their hunger for the ball was shown by the fact that they had 13 more tackles on the day (57-44).
Luke Foley, Will and Liam Hickmott each had 28 disposals for the Lions while Zane Shellabear Healey produced an impactful second half to finish with 23 disposals (of which 22 were kicks) to go along his two goals.
Damon Greaves was the only player to have more than 20 disposals for the Royals finishing with 21 and tried hard all game.
Peel Thunder 2.2 4.6 10.8 11.12(78)
East Fremantle 4.0. 6.0. 6.1 8.5(53)
Peel Thunder looked like they had put their heartbreaking 2017 finals exit well and truly behind them by defeating reigning premiers East Fremantle by 25 points at Bendigo Bank Stadium on Friday.
It was a strong start for the Sharks with the 2017 leading goalkicker Dillon O’Reilly getting off to a fine start kicking three first-quarter goals and give the visitors a ten point lead at quarter time.
Peel cut the margin to a goal at the long break, but it was the efficiency of the Sharks keeping their nose in front despite having four less scoring shots 6.0 to 4.6.
O’Reilly was the definition of efficient with three goals from as many kicks and marks, while Sharks midfielder Tom Joyce had a strong first half with 13 possessions. Peel’s Jackson Perry led all players with 15 possessions as well as four marks and a goal.
The old adage that the third term is the decisive quarter never proved truer as the home team scored 6.2 to a solitary behind.
The home side made a fine start to the third term, hitting the lead for the time since scoring the first behind of the game through goals by Jarrad Fazioli and Tyrone Thorne.
Fazioli and Jack Howes then kicked their second of the game to give the Thunder a very important three-goal lead in the context of a closely fought contest.
Goals to James Sturrock and Ben Middleton continued the third term onslaught and blew the lead out to 31 points.
The Sharks offered very little resistance in that term and would have been well aware that they needed to get some respect back by showing the kind of response that good teams often have at their disposal.
Trey Ruscoe looked to do just that by kicking the first goal of the final term, narrowing the gap to four goals and Ruscoe soon narrowed the gap to 18 points by kicking his second major in a matter of minutes.
Bottom- ager Thorne, kicked a much needed steadier for the Thunder and that was all that was required as the Thunder held firm and completed an impressive 25-point victory.
Peel led their opponents in a number of important areas including disposals (294-271), hit-outs (41-32), tackles (62-59) inside 50s (50-35) and shots on goal (23-13).
Jarrad Fazioli was a key difference maker in the second half and finished 15 possessions, five marks, three tackles along with two goals while Bradley Oldfield was composed with 21 possessions and eight tackles.
Just like Fazioli for Peel, Trey Ruscoe was an influential figure in the second half for the Sharks and had 11 disposals, six tackles, three marks and two goals, while Corey Robinson was very solid with 24 disposals to go along with six marks and five tackles.
West Perth 2.4 5.8 7.13 8.13(61)
Claremont 3.1 4.1 6.2 12.6(78)
A six-goal to one final quarter showed that Claremont will remain one of the teams to beat in the 2018 season as they defeated West Perth by 17 points at HBF Arena on Friday.
Claremont edged a tight first quarter leading by three points but the weight of possession paid dividends for West Perth in the second term as they kicked three goals to one to lead by 13 points at the long break with Alec Johnson and Daniel Cruickshank each kicking two goals.
West Perth compiled 63 more disposals than the Tigers in the first half with Nathan Murray leading the way with 23 disposals and six marks. Bottom-ager Koopah Todd was solid support with 16 disposals and five marks.
For the Tigers, Rylie Morgan and Tyron Smallwood each had 15 disposals with the latter also kicking two goals.
Jack Buller kicked the first goal of the quarter for the Tigers, but Cruickshank replied soon kicking his third for the game. Henry narrowed the gap under double figures once again for the visitors but the Falcons inaccuracy worked to their advantage and saw them hold their ground. A Noah Clune goal on the three-quarter time siren saw the Falcons win the quarter and head for home 19 points in front and the runners/up from 2017 had the job in front of them.
The Tigers peppered the goals to start the final term and their perseverance paid off when Elijah Murray kicked truly and then Oliver Henderson piled on the pressure cutting the margin to three points. The pressure paid off as the Tigers hit the lead for the first time since early in the second quarter courtesy of Buller’s third for the fame.
After being scoreless for the first fifteen minutes of the term, Thomas Medhat stepped up when his team needed him the most. It was end to end frenetic action as the Tigers reclaimed the lead through bottom-ager Anthony Davis.
It was now a matter of whether the Tigers could hang on to claim the four points. The answer was an emphatic yes as goals to top-age players Bowe Roads and Jacob Dorsett-Sawyer see the final margin blow out to 17 points.
After making the running for the majority of the game, the defeat would feel like a bitter blow to the Falcons, but a real boost for the Tigers as they aim to go one better in 2018.
Rylie Morgan and Tyron Smallwood each continued their good form from the first half, ending up with 30 and 28 disposals respectively. Morgan also compiled eleven marks and six tackles to lead the team in with categories.
The Tigers were able to also put the clamps on Nathan Murray after the break as the Falcons midfielder only added eight more disposals in the second half to give him 31 for the game. Koopah Todd finished with 26 possessions and nine marks while Daniel Cruickshank also proved a lively target up forward with three goals.
Perth 2.1. 5.1. 6.2 10.3(63)
Swan Districts 4.3. 5.6 9.8 11.9(75)
Swan Districts got their 2018 campaign off to a solid start as they defeated a gallant Perth by 12 points at Lathlain Park. While Swans were never headed, they had to be on guard as the Demons made several challenges throughout the contest
Jarrod Brockbernd kicked the first goal of the game for the Swans and that was followed a few minutes after by majors Atem Deng and top-ager Blake Pescud. Just as Swans had opened up a mini-break, Perth hit back late in the first term through two goals by Alan Narkle.
Swans soon regained their two-goal lead early in the second quarter through Casey Vandersluys, but despite Swans dominating the overall possession, Perth managed to win the quarter through a great deal of effort with Luke English continuing his fine 2017 season form amassing 17 disposals and kicking a goal. For Swans, bottom ager Riley Garcia had a fine first half with 20 disposals and four marks.
Jarrod Cameron got the visitors off to the best possible start, but Simon Hayward hit back quickly for Perth. Kye Barker then kicked two goals to allow Swans to open up a mini-break of 17 points approaching three-quarter-time and that lead grew to a four-goal margin on the siren through a Patrick Farrant major.
To stand any chance in the game, Perth needed to come out the blocks quickly in the final term and they got just the start from bottom-ager Harry Zimmerman. When fellow young gun Tarkyn Henry kicked truly at the seven-minute mark, the contest was well and truly alive.
Cameron instantly replied to give Swans some breathing space, but Perth refused to say die and Elijah Taylor got them back within 12 points. However, that is as close as the Demons got as Swans held out strongly to claim a first-up win.
Despite the loss, there was plenty of heartening signs for Perth who could have easily been blown away on a number of occasions but stood strong and gave a very respectable performance.
Swans used their extra possessions (313-256) to their advantage as they generated ten more inside 50s (47-37) which equated to seven more scoring shots that in a close game made all the difference.
Riley Garcia continued finding the ball in the second half, collecting 32 disposals along with six tackles and a goal in the third quarter.
While Jarrod Cameron (younger brother of former Crow and now Lions forward Charlie) was instrumental in keeping the Demons at bay ending up with 15 disposals and two goals.
For Perth, it was the ever reliable ball magnet Luke English with 28 disposals and six marks and while the very exciting duo of Ian Hill and Sydney Stack did not hit the scoreboard, their overall pressure acts was outstanding with 11 tackles between them.