ROUND 5 in the WAFL saw the competition gear up for next Sunday's State Game with Perth and Subiaco continuing their undefeated runs going while South Fremantle continued to impress, West Perth got its first win and Peel Thunder also won big.
It was the last round of WAFL action before next Sunday's State Game against the SANFL at Optus Stadium with players right across the board desperate to impress to earn their way into selection to pull on the Black Swans jumper.
The results mattered too and Subiaco had to come from behind but kicked five goals to nil in the last quarter to join Perth as the last two remaining undefeated teams. West Perth also prevailed in the battle of winless teams while Peel Thunder and South Fremantle impressed in thumping wins.
The action in Round 5 of the WAFL began on Saturday afternoon at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with South Fremantle improving to a 4-1 record, beating the West Coast Eagles 20.11 (131) to 9.18 (72).
East Fremantle and West Perth were then desperate for their first wins of the season when they battled at New Choice Homes Park, and it was the Falcons who pulled away late to beat the Sharks 13.9 (87) to 9.7 (61).
Peel Thunder returned to the winner's list beating East Perth 19.11 (125) to 7.6 (48) at Mandurah's David Grays Arena while Perth improved to 5-0 in their stunning start to the season beating Claremont 8.9 (57) to 5.13 (43) at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park.
Subiaco then suffered a scare that its winning run since losing the 2017 Grand Final could come to an end at the hands of Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval, but it wasn’t to be with the Lions finishing well to win 11.13 (79) to 9.7 (61).
SOUTH FREMANTLE 20.11 (131) defeated WEST COAST EAGLES 9.18 (72)
South Fremantle continued its impressive start to the 2019 season with a 59-point win over the West Coast Eagles at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.
Despite significant turnover over summer with the loss of a host of quality, senior players, South Fremantle has been able to start 2019 strongly and that was confirmed with their dominant win over the Eagles on home soil on Saturday afternoon.
South Fremantle kicked the first two goals of the contest and it was both from marks deep inside-50 from key forwards Mason Shaw and Zac Strom.
The Eagles did respond thanks to Matthew Allen, but the Bulldogs got the last two goals of the opening term courtesy of Brandon Donaldson and then with Shaw's second to go into the quarter-time break with a 19-point advantage.
Then after West Coast kicked the opening goal of the second term from captain Fraser McInnes, South Fremantle took control of the contest.
The Bulldogs kicked the next four goals from Haiden Schloithe, a beauty from excitement machine Dion Munkara, a terrific crumbing effort from Donaldson and then a third of the day for Shaw.
That saw South Fremantle lead by 36 points but the Eagles hit back with their best period of the match with goals to Bailey Williams, McInnes and Josh Smith to be just 16 points down at half-time.
It only took 12 minutes for South Fremantle to again put the game beyond the reach of the Eagles opening the second half with goals to Jake Florenca, Shaun Bewick and Shaw.
By the time Shaw added a fifth for the day just before three quarter-time, South Fremantle's lead had grown to 46 points and then the Bulldogs really rammed home their advantage in the last term.
South Fremantle kicked six goals to two in the final quarter to run out 20.11 (131) to 9.18 (72) winners.
That improves the Bulldogs to a 4-1 record on the season while the Eagles slip to 2-3.
Spearhead Mason Shaw ended up kicking six goals for South Fremantle in a dominant performance, even more impressive considering he was in doubt to play all week after pulling up sore in the second half last week against East Fremantle.
Brandon Donaldson was also lively at ground level in attack kicking three goals for the Bulldogs with Dion Munkara adding two goals, Zac Strom two and Shaun Bewick continuing to thrive in his new role with two as well.
Jacob Dragovich continued his career-best form for South Fremantle to open the season with another 28 possessions and 12 tackles in the midfield with Jake Florenca finishing with 27 disposals, Haiden Schloithe 26, Brendan Verrier 23 and ruckman Brock Higgins 21 along with 29 hit outs.
South Fremantle's back-line again stood strong led by Noah Strom while Nick Suban racked up 24 possessions, Chad Pearson 22, Blayne Wilson 21 and Zac Dent 17 to go with six tackles.
Bailey Williams, Fraser McInnes, Matthew Allen and Josh Smith all kicked two goals apiece for West Coast.
Brendon Ah Chee had an impressive afternoon for the Eagles to put his hand up for an AFL call up. Not only did he have 32 possessions but he took a spectacular mark along the way.
Jackson Nelson also gathered 24 disposals for West Coast, Brayden Ainsworth 22, Josh Rotham 21 and ruckman Keegan Brooksby 15 to go with 37 hit outs, five tackles and four marks in a fascinating battle with Higgins.
EAST FREMANTLE 9.7 (61) lost to WEST PERTH 13.9 (87)
It was a battle of the winless teams at New Choice Homes Park on Saturday and it was West Perth who got the result they were after with a 26-point win over East Fremantle.
East Fremantle and West Perth both have new coaches in 2019 and neither have made the start they were hoping for with Saturday also providing added intrigue with Bill Monaghan coaching the Sharks against the Falcons for the first time.
Up until the end of 2018, Monaghan had been coaching West Perth since 2009 and along the way took them to three grand finals and won the premiership in 2013 as he made history becoming the Falcons' longest-serving and most successful coach ever.
That provided an extra laying to proceedings on Saturday but Monaghan will have to wait a little longer for his first win coaching East Fremantle with Geoff Valentine earning his first victory with West Perth winning by 26 points.
East Fremantle kicked the first goal of the game through key forward Cameron Loersch setting the tone for a strong start by the Sharks with Luke Strnadica also kicking truly and when Loersch booted a second, the home team led by 10 points at quarter-time.
The Sharks still led by 10 points when West Perth premiership player Kody Manning kicked truly during the second quarter against his old side. But the Falcons responded with the last two goals of the first half through Corey Chalmers and Michael Lourey to lead by four points at the main break.
East Fremantle regained the lead to start the second half with a goal to Sean Fletcher and again when Nick Bonomelli responded to a West Perth goal from Keegan Knott.
But by three quarter-time, Tom Medhat gave West Perth a five-point lead and the Falcons dominated the last term with four goals to one to win 13.9 (87) to 9.7 (61).
It was West Perth's first win since last year's preliminary final while East Fremantle remains winless this season and has lost 15 games straight dating back to last year.
Michael Lourey and Keegan Knott kicked three goals apiece for West Perth while Corey Chalmers was terrific with two goals from 23 possessions, seven marks and four tackles. Tom Medhat made an impressive debut too kicking two goals from 16 possessions and six marks.
Trent Manzone was outstanding for West Perth amassing 37 possessions with Shane Nelson finishing with 33 disposals, Aaron Black 32, Aidan Lynch 24 (11 tackles), Kris Shannon 21 and Mitch Peirce 20.
Cameron Loersch kicked three goals from 13 kicks and eight marks for East Fremantle with Nick Bonomelli chipping in with two goals.
Claremont recruit Morgan Davies gathered 24 possessions for the Sharks, Milan Murdoch 22, Cameron Eardley 18, Tom Bennett 17 and ruckman Luke Strnadica 15 along with 50 hit outs, four tackles and a goal.
PEEL THUNDER 19.11 (125) defeated EAST PERTH 7.6 (48)
Peel Thunder returned to the WAFL winner's list in emphatic style on Saturday beating East Perth by 77 points at David Grays Arena.
Neither team came into the game in great form but Peel made a flying start with the only four scoring shots of the first quarter and kicking three opening term goals through Blair Bell, Connor Blakely and Gerald Ugle.
Peel then made sure it kicked the opening five goals of the game when Ryan Bennell kicked truly. East Perth eventually got on the board thanks to Sharrod Wellingham but it couldn’t change the tide of the contest.
Despite late first half East Perth goals to Shayne Hille and Jackson Ramsay, Peel still led by 26 points at the main break.
The Royals did close to within 14 points after early second half goals too from Wellingham and Shayne Hille, but the Thunder steadied through former skipper Ugle and then continued on from there.
Peel ended up leading by 36 points at three quarter-time and then kicked another eight goals to one in an emphatic last term to run out 19.11 (125) to 7.6 (48) winners.
Gerald Ugle ended up kicking three goals for Peel with Lachie Schultz also booting three majors to go with 16 possessions. Blair Bell continued his good form after coming into the team with another three goals too.
Small forward Ryan Bennell continued to impress in his debut WAFL season with another two goals.
Connor Blakely put his hand up for an AFL return with the Dockers for the first time in 2019 with a tremendous effort for the Thunder made up of 31 possessions, eight marks and a goal.
Mitch Crowden also had 27 disposals and 12 tackles while Bailey Banfield finished with 22 touches, Tom North 22, Brett Bewley 22, Stefan Giro 19 and emerging defender Tobe Watson 18 along with seven marks.
Sean Darcy dominated the ruck with 42 hit outs to go with 11 touches, four tackles and a goal.
It was a tough day for East Perth but Shayne Hille and Sharrod Wellingham did kick two goals each.
There were plenty of big ball winners for the Royals with Rohan Kerr racking up 34 possessions, Jackson Ramsay 33, Shaquille McKenzie 26, Stan Wright 23 and Nathan Blee 20.
PERTH 8.9 (57) defeated CLAREMONT 5.13 (43)
The stunning start of Perth to the 2019 WAFL season has been the story of the year to date and the momentum the Demons are building continued on Saturday with a 14-point home victory over Claremont.
The fact that Perth has not made a WAFL finals campaign since 1997 is why there is such excitement surrounding what the Demons are now doing to start the 2019 season on the back of only missing out on the top five by a game and percentage in 2018.
Perth had opened the season winning its opening four matches against West Coast, South Fremantle, Swan Districts and East Perth, but Claremont had also won three of its first four games so presented a stern test for the Demons.
It was quite the exciting opening to the game with Perth's opening two goals coming from Cody Ninyette and Michael Bennell while Claremont's first major was from their own excitement machine, debutant Anthony Treacy.
Perth ended up leading by seven points at quarter-time with a goal to Sam Garstone and Claremont kicking a string of four behinds.
The teams then traded goals to start the second quarter before Claremont took a slender lead just before half-time with a goal to co-captain Ian Richardson.
But scores were all tied at half-time before Perth went ahead to open up the biggest lead of the game to date to start the second half with goals from Matthew Rogers and Bennell.
That saw the Demons lead by 15 points at three quarter-time but Claremont did close to within nine points three times during the final term.
They couldn’t get any closer and eventually Perth kicked the sealer thanks to Brent Edmonds after a 50m penalty with the Demons winning 8.9 (57) to 5.13 (43).
Perth has now started the season 5-0 for the first time since their Grand Final year of 1978 with it also their fifth win in-a-row at any stage of the season for the first time since they last played finals in 1997.
Michael Bennell ended up kicking four goals from five kicks for Perth as the Demons' only multiple goal scorer on the day.
Ex-Demons skipper Clint Jones collected 25 possessions and laid nine tackles with Michael Sinclair finishing with 25 disposals, Corey Byrne 21 (11 tackles), Matthew Taylor 21, Corey Yeo 20, Cody Leggett 20, Kasey Nicholas 17 and ruckman Christian Eyres 15 to go with 30 hit outs and four tackles.
Anthony Treacy made an exciting debut for Claremont kicking two goals from 17 possessions and five marks.
Jye Bolton gathered another 31 possessions for the Tigers with Kane Mitchell also picking up 28 disposals, Bailey Rogers 24, Ian Richardson 20 and Ryan Lim 18. Jeremy Goddard had 53 hit outs in the ruck.
SWAN DISTRICTS 9.7 (61) lost to SUBIACO 11.13 (79)
For three quarters Swan Districts gave themselves a real chance of ending Subiaco's winning streak but the Lions responded with typical quality with a dominant last quarter to win by 18 points at Steel Blue Oval.
Subiaco came into the game having still not lost since the 2017 Grand Final and having won 24 straight matches since then including last year's Grand Final and also having beaten Swan Districts on the past eight occasions.
So that meant the job was ahead of the Black Ducks but Swans' season had been better than their 1-3 record suggested with narrow defeats at the hands of South Fremantle, East Perth and Perth.
But Swans were coming off a morale-boosting 44-point win over West Perth and weren’t daunted by the task of taking on the might of Subiaco.
Despite Subiaco kicking two goals to one in the opening quarter and leading by seven points at quarter-time, it had been an encouraging start from Swan Districts with their goal courtesy of Leigh Kohlmann.
Swans then took the lead to start the second quarter with a second goal to Kohlmann who is working nicely into being a key forward in the WAFL.
Subiaco responded in trademark fashion with quick goals to Ben Sokol and Simon Moore but Swans finished the half strongly with two goals to Brayden Noble as the home side was just a point down at the major break.
Swan Districts then took the lead within two minutes of the third quarter with a goal to George Hampson against the team he played in a premiership with and won a fairest and best award at.
Chad Daniels gave the black-and-whites a 10-point lead shortly after and suddenly the upset was on the cards when Swans went 22 points to the good thanks to two goals from Josh Simpson, and another to Warrick Wilson.
Rowen Powell got one goal back late for Subiaco but Swan Districts still led by 16 points at the last change.
Subiaco's winning run was in real jeopardy but the Lions responded with the only five goals of the last quarter courtesy of Sokol, Kyal Horsley, debutant Jack Mayo, Moore and then Josh Deluca as they pulled one out of the fire to win 11.13 (79) to 9.7 (61).
Simon Moore has returned to Subiaco in 2019 and picked up where he left off becoming a regular member of a line-up that's tough to break into. He kicked three goals on Saturday for the Lions as did Ben Sokol from 20 possessions and 11 marks.
Four-time premiership player Josh Deluca racked up 32 possessions along with eight marks, six tackles, six inside-50 entries and a goal.
Hayden Kennedy gathered another 26 disposals for the Lions with Kyal Horsley finishing with 25 touches, Leigh Kitchin 22, Greg Clark 21, Max Walters 21 and Craig Hoskins 20.
Lachlan Delahunty was impressive once more with his versatility finishing with 26 possessions, nine marks and 17 hit outs.
While Swan Districts had 90 fewer possessions than Subiaco while taking 34 fewer marks, eight less inside-50 entries and eight less scoring shots, heart can count for a lot and it was a tremendous fighting effort from the Black Ducks.
Brayden Noble kicked two goals for Swan Districts as did Leigh Kohlmann and Josh Simpson.
George Hampson had another 23 possessions, six tackles, six inside 50s and a goal for Swans with Steven Payne collecting 21 disposals, Tony Notte 20, Jesse Turner 19, Matt Riggio 18, Corey Gault 15, Warrick Wilson 15 and Nathan Blakely 15 along with 25 hit outs.