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TABtouch Team of Round 17Thursday, August 8, 2019 - 7:37 AM - by Chris Pike

SUBIACO opened Round 17 in the WAFL with a thumping win over Perth to all but secure the minor premiership before the next three teams on the table Claremont, South Fremantle and West Perth also prevailed while Swan Districts broke its losing run.

The final month of the 2019 Optus WAFL Premiership Season began on Thursday night with Perth hosting Subiaco at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park. 

The Lions once again proved too strong beating the Demons for a seventh consecutive time to all but lock away a fifth straight minor premiership with the 15.10 (100) to 6.6 (42) victory.

Claremont then prevailed in a thriller against Peel Thunder at David Grays Arena in Mandurah to retain second position on the ladder, with the Tigers ended up winning 13.7 (85) to 11.17 (83).

South Fremantle so remained in third position courtesy of a 15.16 (106) to 11.7 (73) win against East Perth at Leederville Oval on the back of an eight-goal to nil third quarter.

West Perth leapfrogged Perth into fourth position on the ladder as well on Saturday afternoon overcoming a slow start to end up beating East Fremantle 14.12 (96) to 10.14 (74) at HBF Arena.

Swan Districts snapped its seven-game losing run on home turf at Steel Blue Oval with a 12.8 (80) to 12.4 (76) victory against the West Coast Eagles as well on Saturday.

There was really only one choice for Player of the Week in Round 17 of the 2019 Optus WAFL Premiership Season and that was Subiaco's Ben Sokol who kicked seven goals in a dominant display against Perth on Thursday night.

Sokol's performance was the best individual haul of goals this season as he became the first person to kick seven goals in the WAFL in 2019 as he moved to 33 goals for the campaign as he continues to be one of Subiaco's more under valued recruits in recent years.

Coming through the junior and then colts ranks at South Fremantle, Sokol was always seen as one of the best emerging forward talents in the state. 

He would then graduate to play some good reserves football at the Bulldogs in 2014 and 2015, including kicking 39 goals in 2015 but for whatever reason he could never cement a spot at league level playing just 11 games across the 2014 and 2015 seasons, including just two in 2015.

Given he hadn’t quite shown what he was fully capable of at league level yet, it wasn’t a high-profile signing by Subiaco when they recruited him ahead of the 2016 season but it has turned out to be an inspired signing by the Lions.

Sokol would kick 22 goals in 12 appearances in 2016 but couldn’t earn a game after Round 16 missing out on the eventual Grand Final loss to Peel Thunder

But by 2017 and forming a tremendous partnership alongside excitement machine Liam Ryan, Sokol was able to really unleash his potential with Subiaco and would go on to kick 49 goals in 21 matches including kicking bags of six and five, both against West Perth.

This time Sokol would hold his place for the Grand Final defeat to Peel and he kicked four goals in an impressive performance on the big stage despite the disappointing team result.

He backed that up with another tremendous 2018 season where he kicked 43 goals in 20 matches and became a premiership player and was right in the hunt for the Simpson Medal having kicked five goals from 19 possessions and 12 marks.

Now his 2019 season is following a similarly impressive trajectory with Sokol having kicked 33 goals in the 15 matches and he is in a rare patch of form right at the moment having kicked 16 goals in the past four games.

He also represented the KIA WAFL State Team earlier in 2019 and kicked four goals against South Australia.

Then on Thursday night in the big win over Perth for Subiaco at Mineral Resources Park, he equalled his career-best of seven goals to go with 21 possessions and 13 marks.

He has subsequently been invited to the AFL State Draft Combine in October and it wouldn’t surprise to see the 23-year-old earn a chance at the next level given his overhead marking ability, love of kicking goals and the fact that he's kicked nine goals in his two Grand Finals and four in a State Game.

Players of the Round
Round 1 – Kyal Horsley (Subiaco)
Round 2 –  Anton Hamp (Claremont)
Round 3 – Haiden Schloithe (South Fremantle)
Round 4 – Brant Colledge (Perth)
Round 5 – Tony Notte (Swan Districts)
Round 6 – Rohan Kerr (East Perth)
Round 7 – Mitch Peirce (West Perth)
Round 8 – Clint Jones (Perth)
Round 9 – Lachlan Delahunty (Subiaco)
Round 10 – Nick Suban (South Fremantle)
Round 11 – Tyler Keitel (West Perth)
Round 12 – Josh Smith (West Coast Eagles)
Round 13 – Jackson Ramsay (East Perth)
Round 14 – Kane Mitchell (Claremont)
Round 15 – Bailey Banfield (Peel Thunder)
Round 16 – Jye Bolton (Claremont)
Round 17 – Ben Sokol (Subiaco)

BACK: Aaron Heal (S), Asher Samelko (EP), Jason Maskos (SF)
HALF-BACK: Greg Clark (S), Chad Pearson (SF), Bailey Rogers (C)
CENTRE: Aaron Black (WP), Corey Yeo (P), Kane Mitchell (C)
HALF-FORWARD: George Hampson (SD), Max Walters (S), Haiden Schloithe (SF)
FORWARD: Alec Waterman (C), Andrew Strijk (WP), Ben Sokol (S) 
RUCK: Jonathon Griffin (EF), Jacob Dragovich (SF), Jye Bolton (C)
INTERCHANGE: Jackson Ramsay (EP), Jaxon Prior (WP), Tom Bennett (EF), Warrick Wilson (SD)

There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 17 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:

Perth's Matthew Rogers, Matthew Taylor, Jacob Payne and Michael Sinclair.

Subiaco's Ryan Vermeersch, Lachlan Delahunty, Kyal Horsley and Michael Braut.

West Perth's Trent Manzone, Shane Nelson, Aidan Lynch and Mitch Peirce.

East Fremantle's Luke Strnadica, Nick Kommer, Cameron Eardley, Morgan Davies and Jarrad Jansen.

Swan Districts' Josh Cipro, Steven Payne, Mitch Howlett and Brayden Hackett.

West Coast's Nick Reid, Matthew Allen, Hamish Brayshaw and Mark Hutchings.

East Perth's Shaquille McKenzie, Jaxon Cahill, Stan Wright, Kye Willcocks and Nathan Blee.

South Fremantle's Andrew Haydon, Kyle Russell, Steve Verrier, Zac Dent, Blayne Wilson, Brock Higgins and Dylan Main.

Claremont's Ian Richardson, Declan Mountford and Jeremy Goddard.

Peel Thunder's Jackson Merrett, Travis Colyer, Traye Bennell, Ben Howlett and James Sturrock.