ALL four Round 8 WAFL matches took place on Saturday afternoon with South Fremantle and Subiaco setting up their top-of-the-table clash with strong wins while West Perth and Peel Thunder also won impressively.
Peel Thunder returned to the winner's list with the reigning premiers snapping a four-game losing run by handing Claremont a fourth straight loss, winning 12.6 (78) to 8.7 (55) at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
West Perth won a fourth straight match and kept East Fremantle winless with a 19.18 (132) to 15.7 (97) victory at East Fremantle Oval.
South Fremantle then consolidated top spot on the WAFL ladder beating Perth 22.14 (146) to 13.8 (86) at Lathlain Park on the back of five goals from Blaine Johnson, and 28 disposals and three goals from Tim Kelly.
Subiaco then stayed just percentage behind South Fremantle with a sixth straight victory beating Swan Districts 15.19 (109) to 6.9 (45) at Steel Blue Oval with Brad Stevenson kicking five goals, and Leigh Kitchin racking up 32 possessions.
The Round 8 results leave South Fremantle (6-1) just ahead of Subiaco (6-1) by percentage with the two teams to meet this Saturday at Leederville Oval.
Swan Districts (5-2) remains in third position just ahead of West Perth (5-2) with Peel Thunder (3-4) rounding out the top five.
Claremont (3-4) is in sixth position ahead of East Perth (2-5), Perth (1-6) and East Fremantle (0-6).
wafl.com.au PLAYER OF THE ROUND – LEIGH KITCHIN (Subiaco)
The prolific ball-winning midfielder has crammed plenty into his first 50 WAFL games with Subiaco and he capped off reaching the half-century with a best on ground display in Saturday's 64-point win over Swan Districts.
Kitchin arrived at Subiaco in 2015 joining the premiership team that had lost Simpson Medallist Jason Bristow. He was a readymade replacement for the tough, in-and-under midfielder and has been remarkably consistent over his first 50 games.
Coming from VFL club Frankston, Kitchin has represented WA in both his seasons in the WAFL, played in the 2015 premiership and grand final of 2016, and his form in the midfield has continued a similar path so far in 2017.
Then on Saturday in the win over Swans, he delivered an outstanding performance in the midfield with 32 possessions, eight inside-50 entries, seven marks, six tackles and a goal with Chris Phelan and Kyal Horsley again terrific alongside him too.
wafl.com.au TEAM OF THE ROUND (times named)
BACK: Michael Sinclair (3), Sam Collins (2), Jason Maskos (2)
HALF-BACK: Jarrod Garlett (1), Matthew Jupp (2), Anthony Morabito (1)
CENTRE: Danyle Pearce (1), Leigh Kitchin (1), Corey Chalmers (1)
HALF-FORWARD: Andrew Strijk (1), Tyler Keitel (3) George Hampson (1)
FORWARD: Gerald Ugle (1), Brad Stevenson (1), Blaine Johnson (2)
RUCK: Mitch Andrews (2), Tim Kelly (3), Rory O'Brien (2)
INTERCHANGE: Trent Manzone (2), Gordon Narrier (1), Cameron Eardley (2), Luke Meadows (3)
BACK POCKET – MICHAEL SINCLAIR (Perth)
Continues to show just how valuable his quality in the back half is to Perth with his ability to provide composure and good ball use from defence. The reigning fairest and best winner did the best he could in a 10-goal loss to South Fremantle finishing with 33 possessions and eight marks.
FULL-BACK – SAM COLLINS (Peel Thunder)
Another week and another solid performance down back for Peel by the Fremantle-listed defender. Was rock solid once again in the 23-point win over Claremont with 16 possessions and 11 marks while being strong defensively.
BACK POCKET – JASON MASKOS (South Fremantle)
He might have struggled a little with the big jobs on the opposition's most dangerous small forwards earlier in the career, but continues to show his growth in 2017. After shutting down Leroy Jetta back in Round 3, was given the job on Brennan Stack who kicked seven goals last week for Perth and did it well limiting him to just the one goal from 15 possessions. He had 11 disposals, four marks, four tackles and four inside-50 entries himself.
HALF-BACK FLANK – JARROD GARLETT (South Fremantle)
The former Gold Coast Suns excitement machine played his best game since returning to South Fremantle this season. Has settled into a role running off half-back and did it well in Saturday's 60-point win over Perth with 22 disposals, five marks and three tackles.
CENTRE HALF-BACK – MATTHEW JUPP (East Fremantle)
His team might have conceded 37 scoring shots from 61 inside-50 entries in a 35-point loss to West Perth on Saturday, but he was anything but to blame. Put in a terrific performance against the tide in defence to finish with 26 possessions and eight marks.
HALF-BACK FLANK – ANTHONY MORABITO (Claremont)
The supremely talented yet injury-plagued 25-year-old got to make his debut with Claremont and it just happened to be in his hometown against his former team on Saturday. The Tigers might not have got the result they were after, but seeing him out on the field and playing well was a huge win. He settled in nicely and finished with 25 possessions, five marks and five tackles.
WING – DANYLE PEARCE (Peel Thunder)
Has played 250 AFL games between Port Adelaide and Fremantle, but none at the Dockers since Round 2. After several weeks as a non-playing emergency, finally got back onto a field on Saturday as Peel beat Claremont in Mandurah. Put in a strong performance as well through the middle finishing with 35 possessions, six marks, six inside 50s and a goal.
WING – COREY CHALMERS (West Perth)
Has received the league opportunities this season that he's been craving for a couple of years and continues to make the most of them. Did well in Saturday's win over East Fremantle both in the middle and going forward to end the afternoon with 27 disposals and three goals.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – ANDREW STRIJK (West Perth)
Has been moved to half-back in recent weeks and to no one's surprise was doing that well with his kicking impressive. But moved back to half-forward on Saturday against East Fremantle and delivered 24 possessions, eight marks, eight inside-50 entries and three goals.
CENTRE HALF-FORWARD – TYLER KEITEL (West Perth)
He had a breakout season in 2016 as a key defender who became an expert at intercept marks and setting up play out of the back-line. But has been moved forward to good effect in 2017 to provide that second tall option to Michael Lourey. Delivered again in the win over the Sharks kicking four goals from 15 touches and six marks.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – GEORGE HAMPSON (East Fremantle)
He could very well be the best player in the WAFL when he's fully healthy and that's why East Fremantle missed him so dearly in the opening three games of the season. Spent most of the game on Saturday in the midfield with stints forward and did all he possibly could to try and drag the Sharks to their first win of 2017 with 36 possessions, eight inside-50 entries and two goals.
FORWARD POCKET – GERALD UGLE (Peel Thunder)
The premiership winning skipper hasn’t quite had the start to the 2017 season he was after, but he turned his form around on Saturday to be a pivotal figure in the 23-point victory over Claremont. Having kicked just two goals over the opening six games of the season, the captain came up big on Saturday with four majors to go with 17 possessions and five marks.
FULL-FORWARD – BRAD STEVENSON (Subiaco)
The versatile and experienced key position player showed again on Saturday in the win over Swan Districts that he is capable of being a match-winner on his day. He has had his troubles and had to fight back from two knee reconstructions in his career, but when healthy is one of the best and most versatile key position players in the league. Showed why on Saturday with five goals from 14 possessions and six marks.
FORWARD POCKET – BLAINE JOHNSON (South Fremantle)
The dynamic small forward continues to show that he is tremendously hard to stop with his ability to lead up and mark, and also be outstanding at ground level with his creativity, elusiveness and to kick the miraculous goal. Booted another five majors on Saturday to go with 19 possessions and five marks.
RUCK – MITCH ANDREWS (Claremont)
Put in another strong competitive effort up against Peel's Fremantle's listed ruckmen Sean Darcy and Jonathon Griffin. Took them both on virtually single-handedly and did well ending the afternoon with 17 possessions, four marks and 25 hit outs despite his team's 23-point loss.
RUCK-ROVER – RORY O'BRIEN (Peel Thunder)
The 231-game premiership-winning, five-time fairest and best winning veteran has shown no signs whatsoever that he is slowing down in 2017. He has been ever consistent and again put in an outstanding showing in Saturday's win over Claremont with 29 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s and a goal.
ROVER – TIM KELLY (South Fremantle)
Continues to be an unstoppable force in the midfield for South Fremantle. Despite Perth trying to tag him with Taran Etto, it proved impossible as he shows the grown he's made because he has struggled with being tagged in the past. Kicked three goals for the first time in his career in the win over the Demons to go with 28 possessions and five marks.
INTERCHANGE – TRENT MANZONE (West Perth)
After being pigeonholed as a half-back in his early years at West Perth since moving from Queensland, has found his feet as a midfielder with the Falcons over the past 18 months. Put in another impressive showing in Round 8 over East Fremantle with 32 disposals, seven inside 50s and a goal.
INTERCHANGE – GORDON NARRIER (Perth)
He might only be 18 years of age, but plays with far greater poise and class than that. His left foot is powerful and accurate while he is quick and can run and carry the ball, while not afraid to take on the opposition and create some excitement for the Demons. Had a great day on Saturday with three goals from 17 possessions, five marks and four inside-50 entries.
INTERCHANGE – CAMERON EARDLEY (East Fremantle)
Is really building some impressive form now in the middle for East Fremantle despite his team remaining winless. Did all he could on Saturday against West Perth finishing with 30 possessions, eight tackles and two goals.
INTERCHANGE – LUKE MEADOWS (West Perth)
Has made the move into the midfield this season for West Perth and with his big body, ability to win the contested ball and then use his powerful right boot, it continues to work a treat. Had another 28 possessions and seven inside-50 entries in Saturday's win over East Fremantle.
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 8 but couldn’t quite squeeze into the Team of the Round, including:
Claremont's Keifer Yu, Ryan Lim, Ryan Murphy and Jared Hardisty.
Peel Thunder's Leroy Jetta, Nick Suban and Griffen Logue.
East Fremantle's Jonathon Marsh and Matthew Watson.
West Perth's Aaron Black and Scott Simpson.
South Fremantle's Haiden Schloithe.
Swan Districts' David Ellard, Kirk Ugle and Warrick Wilson.
Subiaco's Kyal Horsley, Chris Phelan and Liam Baker.