WE had some big goalkicking hauls in losing efforts in Round 12 of the WAFL including seven goals from Andrew Stephen and five from Callum Papertalk, while Clancy Wheeler booted five in a Subiaco win and Shane Nelson had 40 possessions in a West Perth triumph.
Round 12 of the WAFL saw three games take place on Saturday afternoon with Peel Thunder cementing its spot inside the top five holding on to beat the second placed South Fremantle 13.5 (83) to 11.11 (77) at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
Claremont snapped a six-game losing run and kept East Fremantle winless in 2017 with a 14.11 (95) to 14.8 (92) victory to celebrate the reopening of the redeveloped Claremont Oval.
The other game on Saturday saw the league-leading Subiaco move further clear in top spot with a 22.18 (150) to 11.9 (75) win over Perth at Lathlain.
Third spot went on the line on Sunday at Steel Blue Oval with West Perth prevailing over Swan Districts 12.17 (89) to 12.9 (81).
The results leave Subiaco (10-1) three games clear in top spot ahead of South Fremantle (7-4) and West Perth (7-3). Peel Thunder (6-5) improved to fourth with Swan Districts (6-4) just clinging to fifth.
East Perth (5-5) is just outside in sixth position ahead of Claremont (4-6), Perth (2-9) and East Fremantle (0-10).
wafl.com.au PLAYER OF THE ROUND – ANDREW STEPHEN (East Fremantle)
He has been perhaps the best and most consistent mid-size defender in the WAFL over the past decade during a 150-plus game career that has seen him represent WA on four occasions.
The East Fremantle fairest and best winner has been used in the forward-line for the most part in 2017 to add some experience and defensive pressure, and if some goals eventuate on top of that then it would be a bonus.
That became quite the bonus on Saturday against Claremont at Claremont Oval when he had a day out kicking seven goals from 17 possessions and six marks.
Not only is the seven-goal haul a career best showing, but he had kicked 20 goals in his previous 153 games and his best previously was two in a game. In fact, he had never kicked more than four goals in an entire season up until the performance on Saturday.
wafl.com.au TEAM OF THE ROUND (times named)
BACK: Jason Maskos (3), Nick Rodda (2), Devin McFarlane (2)
HALF-BACK: Jayden Schofield (4), Jordan Lockyer (1), Wayde Twomey (3)
CENTRE: Ryan Lim (4), Shane Nelson (5), Kyal Horsley (5)
HALF-FORWARD: Cory Dell'Olio (2), Tyler Keitel (4), Ian Richardson (2)
FORWARD: Andrew Stephen (1), Clancy Wheeler (2), Callum Papertalk (1)
RUCK: Mitch Andrews (5), Leigh Kitchin (3), Josh Deluca (2)
INTERCHANGE: Dean Munns (1), Tom Bennett (1), Adam Faulkner (2), Max Walters (4)
BACK POCKET – JASON MASKOS (South Fremantle)
The small defender is in career-best form in 2017 and put together a tremendous performance on Saturday that could very well have been the best he has delivered despite his team's loss to Peel Thunder. Not only did he restrict Peel captain Gerald Ugle to two kicks for the day, but racked up 27 possessions and 15 marks himself.
FULL-BACK – NICK RODDA (West Perth)
Key defensive roles often go unrewarded but his task of lining up on Swan Districts full forward Ricky Cary on Sunday was always going to have a big say in the final result. In the end, not only did he hold him scoreless and to just four kicks and no marks for the day, but he did such a dominant job on him that Cary ended up being moved into defence. On top of his defensive efforts, had 14 possessions and six marks himself.
BACK POCKET – DEVIN McFARLANE (Perth)
Continues to show his class out of the back-line in his first season for Perth as the former Peel Thunder defender settles back into life in the WAFL. He is a cool head, can provide good run and is generally a good deliverer of the football on his powerful left boot. Contributed another 23 possessions, eight marks and a goal against the tide in a 75-point loss to Subiaco on Saturday.
HALF-BACK FLANK – JAYDEN SCHOFIELD (East Fremantle)
His team might still be winless in 2017 but he continues to be the shining light with the run and drive he is providing off half-back. As he nears his 100-game milestone, had another strong performance in Saturday's narrow loss to Claremont with 35 possessions and nine marks.
CENTRE HALF-BACK – JORDAN LOCKYER (Subiaco)
With Declan Jackson and Aaron Heal missing from Subiaco's back-line, even more responsibility went onto the shoulders of the state defender and he responded tremendously to continue his fine 2017 season. Strong defensively and also had 18 possessions and four marks for the day.
HALF-BACK FLANK – WAYDE TWOMEY (Subiaco)
The 162-game, triple premiership veteran remains more than effective coming off half-back setting up play for Subiaco. Was influential with his 25 possessions and six marks in the big win on Saturday over the Demons.
WING – RYAN LIM (Claremont)
Continued his standout season in the midfield for Claremont as a strong ball winner, hard runner and a goalkicker and had a big say in his team returning to the winner's list for the first time since Round 3 in the first game back at Claremont Oval. Finished the day with 24 possessions, six marks and two goals.
CENTRE – SHANE NELSON (West Perth)
Continued his remarkable ball-winning season with another 40 possessions, seven inside-50 entries, six tackles and five marks in his team's crucial win over Swan Districts on Sunday. Averaging a remarkable 33 disposals a game in 2017 and it was the third time he's reached 40 or more.
WING – KYAL HORSLEY (Subiaco)
The inspirational captain just continues to deliver strong performances leading his dominant team who has now won 10 straight matches to be three games clear on top of the ladder. He had another 22 possessions, five inside 50s and two goals in Saturday's 75-point win over Perth.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – CORY DELL'OLIO (South Fremantle)
The longer 2017 goes on, the more he looks back to the player of old after being forced to sit out all of 2016. He is running on top of the ground and looks sharper and more dangerous in attack. That all resulted in four goals from nine possessions and six marks on Saturday in the narrow loss to Peel Thunder. Has now kicked 10 goals in the last three games.
CENTRE HALF-FORWARD – TYLER KEITEL (West Perth)
He has been doing everything right this season since moving forward after an outstanding 2016 at centre half-back to deserve to be considered the best tall forward target in the competition. But he just hasn’t been finishing in front of goal. He has been taking the most contested marks and having the most shots on goal as all key forwards, but in the past two weeks he had kicked 1.7. Turned it around on Sunday with four goals from 19 possessions and seven marks including nailing the sealer with a tough shot late in the game.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – IAN RICHARDSON (Claremont)
The 180-game veteran half-forward might not have hit the scoreboard but worked tremendously hard to set up his fellow forwards. Was at his hard-leading best to amass 17 possessions, 10 marks and seven inside-50 entries in the victory at Claremont Oval over East Fremantle.
FULL-FORWARD – CLANCY WHEELER (Subiaco)
Having kicked 11 goals in the opening nine games of the season, he has moved deeper into attack over the past two weeks and it's paid great dividends. He kicked three goals last week in the win over Peel and then on Saturday against Perth, kicked five goals for the second time in his career to go with 15 possessions and seven marks.
FORWARD POCKET – CALLUM PAPERTALK (Perth)
His story is a remarkable one and it shows that persistence can pay off. He was drafted out of East Fremantle's colts to West Coast but never played an AFL or WAFL league game. Emerged back in the WAFL at West Perth in 2015 and made his long-awaited league debut, but joined Perth in 2016 and now in his second game for the Demons on Saturday, was terrific as an opportunist forward kicking five goals from 10 kicks.
RUCK – MITCH ANDREWS (Claremont)
The state ruckman continues to be the dominant big man in the competition and had another strong display in Saturday's drought breaking win over East Fremantle opposed to the more mobile Matthew Watson. Finished the day with 60 hit outs to go with five kicks, six handpasses and three tackles.
RUCK ROVER – LEIGH KITCHIN (Subiaco)
His third season in the WAFL with Subiaco continues to see him as one of the very best and most consistent on-ballers. Has played in three state games already and two grand finals, and will have a big say in the Lions' efforts at winning another premiership. Racked up another 33 possessions, nine marks, nine inside 50s and a goal on Saturday against Perth.
ROVER – JOSH DELUCA (Peel Thunder)
The dual premiership player had a slow start to 2017 through injury but he now looks like he is ready to be an elite WAFL footballer and to take the next step to deliver in the AFL if given the opportunity by Fremantle. Was terrific in the midfield in Saturday's win over South Fremantle with 22 possessions, nine tackles, five marks and two goals.
INTERCHANGE – ADAM FAULKNER (Swan Districts)
The prolific Swan Districts midfielder celebrated his 100-game milestone on Sunday and while it didn’t result in a victory against West Perth, it was through no fault of his own. He also had to cope with having Dean Munns try to quieten him at times in the second half, but still finished the afternoon with 33 possessions, nine marks and four entries inside-50.
INTERCHANGE – DEAN MUNNS (West Perth)
He broke onto the scene in 2016 in an old-fashioned tagging role and did a tremendous job on a number of occasions against some of the best WAFL ball winners. Has been used in that role again at times in 2017, but he was back to his lockdown best on Sunday putting the clamps on Swans on-baller David Ellard holding him to two disposals in the first half and then splitting his time between Ellard and Adam Faulkner after half-time.
INTERCHANGE – MAX WALTERS (Subiaco)
Has had to bide his time patiently in the reserves with Subiaco but a chance opened up at the start of 2017 and he has never looked back. Continues to split his time between playing at half-forward with stints in the midfield, and was tremendous again in Saturday's win over Perth kicking three goals to go with 16 possessions and eight marks.
INTERCHANGE – TOM BENNETT (East Fremantle)
Youth has to be the way forward for East Fremantle and he is one player making the most of his league opportunities in 2017. In just his sixth game, he put in a strong showing for the Sharks with 22 possessions and 11 tackles.
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 12 but couldn’t quite squeeze into the Team of the Round, including:
Claremont's Jye Bolton, Tom Ledger, Jared Hardisty, Matt Guelfi and Eddie Simpson.
East Fremantle's Cameron Eardley and Nathan Fahey.
Perth's Clint Jones.
Subiaco's Lachlan Delahunty, Ben Sokol, Adam Creeper and Joel Latham.
South Fremantle's Haiden Schloithe, Adam McIntosh, Steve Verrier, Steven Edwards and Chris Luff.
Peel Thunder's Traye Bennell, Rory O'Brien and Taylin Duman.
Swan Districts' Jack Watson and Matthew Rogers.
West Perth's Aaron Black, Trent Manzone, Michael Lourey and Kody Manning.