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East Perth 3.1 6.2 7.4 9.4(58)
South Fremantle 3.2 7.7 10.9 10.10(70)
South Fremantle claimed a vital four points with a 12 point win over fellow strugglers East Perth at Leederville Oval on Saturday.
With both teams on one win from five games to start the season, it was a must-win clash for both teams to stay in touch with the top five.
There was very little breeze and and with the sun shining brightly, conditions were perfect for Football.
Kyle Robinson kicked the first goal of the game for East Perth from just inside the 50-metre line.
The Bulldogs were dominating field position but could not get the score on the board.
They finally got their due reward with a free kick for high contact to Enrique Aiken-Featherstone who converted from 50 metres.
Aiken-Featherstone was influential in the Bulldogs second with a quick kick into the forward 50 which was converted by key forward Thomas Weston.
Weston then kicked his second from the goalsquare and the Bulldogs had made a fine start to proceedings.
Jarrad Hamar-Mathew then ended the run of three goals to South Fremantle with a goal for the home side from 35 metres from a free kick.
Some good ball movement down the outer wing by the Royals was finished off with aplomb by Eric Bashemule from a acute angle.
In all, it was an even quarter with South Fremantle taking hold of the first 12 minutes and the Royals getting on top in the second part of the term.
So in all, both coaches Gary Moss (East Perth) and Mark Foster (South Freo) would have been pleased with passages of that term and each had something to work with.
Some great work further up the ground set up by Bashemule led to the first goal of the second term for East Perth by top-ager Matthew Hatch, but South soon responded courtesy of bottom-ager Zaine Atwell.
A mistake in the Royals’ defensive 50 gave bottom-ager Alec Petkovic a chance to respond which he duly did with a polished snap on goal from 30 metres and saw the visitors reclaim the lead.
The Bulldogs were starting to dominate the second half the second term just like they did in the early stages of the game and were aided by sloppy disposal from the Royals.
John Chegwidden extended the South Fremantle lead to 11 points close to the halftime break East Perth got a break when a free kick was awarded to Rory Sparks which narrowed the gap to five points once again.
However, a flashy piece of play by bottom-ager Darryl Anderson set up Eric Botha for a set shot on the half-time siren which he duly converted and gave the visitors back their 11 point lead in a terrific open affair full of momentum swings.
Eric Bashemule was a polished performer with 10 first-half possessions while Weston was a real focal point with 2.3 and four marks from his seven possessions.
It was a scrambled start to the second half with the ball pinging around from one end to the other, but East Perth steadied first with Reece Edwards kicking truly from a set shot from 45 metres.
Some excellent forward pressure from Botha then won him a free kick and he duly converted giving the Bulldogs back their two-goal lead.
Weston then gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the game which was 17 points.
It was the poise of South Fremantle which was the winning them the big moments, as they were cleaner from defence using the ball better into their forward half.
Atwell kicked his second for the game for the Bulldogs to push the lead out to four goals just before the three-quarter-time break.
A great contested mark in the goalsquare by Harley Sparks set the Royals on their way in the fourth term as they aimed to make a stirring fightback.
A few minutes later and a strong mark and goal from Ben Santella made that hope a distinct reality.
The last ten minutes saw a range of heavy collisions as both teams were desperate for the elusive goal.
Despite only kicking one point for the quarter, it was South Fremantle who had the more polish and awareness to claim their second win of the season.
In terms of the key difference it was South Fremantle’s ability to get their hands on the ball as they had 71 more possessions (293-222), and 28 more inside-50s (51-23) which led to led to seven more scoring shots (20-13).
In a tight low scoring contest, South Fremantle’s forwards were the difference with Thomas Weston (three goals) Eric Botha (two goals) and Zaine Atwell (two goals) each having a key impact.
In all fairness, East Perth should have been defeated by a lot more than they were but the effort was there and it was due to the likes of Rory Sparks who had 13 disposals, six tackles and four marks.
That game was the ‘blowout’ result of the weekend as the other three games were all decided by under 10 points.
Peel Thunder moved into the top five after winning their second game in a row against Subiaco 11.4 (70) to 9.12(66).
The Lions have now lost two in a row after winning their first four and looking like a class above their rivals.
Lachlan Cullen kicked three goals for Peel while Jack Mayo was Subiaco key forward target with four first-half goals along with seven marks.
East Fremantle made it three wins in a row as they kicked four goals to two in the final term to record a three-point victory 12.9 (81) to 12.6.(78).
Mitchell Anderson kicked three goals for the Sharks while Lachlan Scurria, Jack Burke and Callum Johnson each kicked two for the Falcons.
In the closest result in a remarkable round, Claremont who had controlled the majority of the contest, lost the lead early in the last term, but kicked a late goal which saw them hang on for the win 9.8(62) to 8.12(60).
Lewis Henry and Ben Clohessy each kicked three goals for the winners while Alan Narkle kicked four for the Demons.
After seven rounds, the Colts ladder has a fascinating look to it.
Four teams sit level on 16 points with Perth having a superior percentage to Swan Districts, Subiaco and East Fremantle, however, the Sharks have played a game more.
Peel sit inside the top five on 12 points ahead of West Perth and Claremont who also have three wins.