SWAN Districts looked refreshed after three weeks since its last WAFL game and claimed a solid 33-point victory over Perth at Lathlain Park on Saturday.
Swans had started the 2017 impressively with four successive wins. But leading into the Round 10 bye and then the break for last week's state game, they had lost three of four to be just clinging to a spot in the top five.
That made it a must-win game for them against Perth at Lathlain Park on Saturday to avoid the chance of ending Round 11 outside the top five.
Swans didn’t fail in that quest kicking five goals to one in the first quarter and never seriously being headed from there, going on to win 14.13 (97) to 9.10 (64).
The win improves the black-and-whites to a 6-3 record on the season to already have triple the number of wins they had in 2016. Perth is struggling in eighth spot at 2-8.
It was a day to celebrate for Swan Districts defender Alex Howard who was playing his 100th game to book his name on the No. 25 locker. He didn’t disappoint either with a strong showing down back with 17 possessions and 12 marks while also sneaking forward to kick the 15th goal of his career.
Matthew Rogers put in a best on ground performance at half-forward for Swan Districts against his old side kicking four goals to go with 24 possessions and eight marks. Ricky Cary also kicked two goals.
Matt Riggio responded to a somewhat surprise omission from the WAFL State Team by racking up 29 possessions to go with two goals while David Ellard racked up 30 disposals for Swans, Jesse Turner 27, Jackson Slater 23 and Adam Faulkner 22.
Jake Nuich (18 touches, seven marks, 13 hit outs) and Corey Gault (16 possessions, six marks, 19 hit outs) were both solid in the ruck for Swan Districts with Tony Notte strong at centre half-back with 20 touches and nine marks.
Jesse Manton played his first league match since 2014 and impressed as well with 19 possessions, seven marks and 11 inside-50 entries.
Perth's young small forward Cody Ninyette put in another exciting display kicking three goals from 24 possessions.
Callum Papertalk played his second league game of his career and first with Perth and booted three goals. His journey has been a fascinating one beginning in East Fremantle's colts where he was drafted from by West Coast.
He didn’t play an AFL or WAFL league game while listed and then managed one league appearance for West Perth in 2015 and has now made his Perth debut in his second season with the Demons.
Perth again had some good ball winners through the middle led by captain Clint Jones with 34 possessions, eight marks and five tackles. Corey Byrne also gathered 30 disposals and Aidan Tropiano 25 with Christian Eyres battling hard in the ruck for 15 touches and 31 hit outs.
Reigning fairest and best winner Michael Sinclair again impressed down back with 29 possessions and eight marks for the Demons.
Swans started the game with the opening goal thanks to Levi Ridley with Perth soon responding in Papertalk's first game with the club.
But from there the black-and-whites took control with goals to Todd Banfield, Slater, Rogers and Cary before quarter-time that saw them hold a commanding 26-point advantage.
Perth did fight hard in the second quarter and managed three goals to two from Swans to cut the deficit to 17 points by the major break.
Swan Districts again took over in the third term to put the game beyond reach of Perth with five goals to three. Another two goals apiece in the last quarter and Swans took out the solid 33-point victory.
Swan Districts will look to make it back-to-back wins at Steel Blue Oval against West Perth next Sunday with Perth hosting the league-leaders Subiaco at Lathlain Park on Saturday.
SWAN DISTRICTS 5.4 7.5 12.8 14.13 (97)
PERTH 1.2 4.6 7.9 9.10 (64)
SWAN DISTRICTS – Goals: Rogers 4; Cary, Riggio 2; Banfield, Slater, Howard, Turner, Ridley, Noble.
Best: Rogers, Riggio, Howard, Ellard, Notte, Turner, Slater.
PERTH – Goals: Ninyette, Papertalk 3; M Jones 2; Ansey.
Best: Sinclair, Byrne, Ninyette, C Jones, Papertalk, Tropiano.