EAST Fremantle premiership defence in the WAFL Women’s competition stayed alive with a win over Swan Districts on Sunday while Subiaco advanced straight to the 2020 Grand Final with a similarly narrow victory to open the final series.
It was an enthralling seven rounds of the home and away season for the Optus WAFL Women’s Premiership Season with it taking until the final day for the top four teams to be decided.
Claremont was the unlucky team to miss out on taking part on the finals action but it set the stage for two cracking semi-final match ups on Sunday afternoon to open the final series.
In the end, a total of 12 points only were the combined margins across the two contests with a goal separating each of them with one team now through to the Grand Final for 2020, and another team eliminated leaving just three teams alive in the WAFLW competition.
First up was the first semi-final played at East Fremantle’s New Choice Homes Park and it just happened to be a rematch of last year’s inaugural WAFL Grand Final.
The two teams had just played out a thriller in Round 7 as well so were no strangers to one another. Again it was a tight affair and once again it was East Fremantle who prevailed but the Sharks had to come from behind and kick three goals to nil in the final quarter to do so.
East Fremantle ended up beating Swan Districts 5.5 (35) to 4.5 (29) to advance to next Sunday’s preliminary final while the season is now over for the Swans.
The second semi-final took place at Leederville Oval and it was Subiaco who managed to kick the only goal of the second half and in the rainy conditions, that was enough to defeat Peel Thunder 4.4 (28) to 3.4 (22).
That means that Subiaco advances straight to the Grand Final while Peel Thunder will host East Fremantle in the preliminary final this Sunday at Mandurah’s David Grays Arena.
Meanwhile in the WAFLW Reserves competition, West Perth kept its season alive beating Subiaco 10.10 (70) to 4.4 (28) in the first semi-final. East Fremantle advanced to the Grand Final by beating Claremont 3.6 (24) to 1.4 (10) in the second semi-final.
And in the Youth Girls Rogers Cup, South Fremantle was too strong in the second semi-final beating Peel Thunder 6.2 (38) to 3.3 (21) to advance to the Grand Final.
Peel will now play the preliminary final against Claremont after the Tigers defeated East Fremantle 3.6 (24) to 2.5 (17) in the first semi-final.
OPTUS WAFLW PREMIERSHIP SEASON – SEMI FINALS
EAST FREMANTLE 5.5 (35) defeated SWAN DISTRICTS 4.5 (29)
East Fremantle and Swan Districts renewed their remarkable rivalry in female football in the first semi-final on Sunday and it was the Sharks who won a tight affair to keep their WAFL Women's season alive.
East Fremantle and Swan Districts have both been powerhouse clubs in women's football in Western Australia for a long time now and that's why both were a lock to be part of the new WAFL Women's competition when it was set up in 2019.
Then it wasn’t a surprise to anyone that they were the two teams that went on to play in the inaugural WAFLW Grand Final with East Fremantle going on to win the 2019 premiership.
They have again played in some fascinating battles in the shortened season in 2020 including in the final round where East Fremantle won narrowly to guarantee their finals spot and earn the right to host the first semi-final on Sunday at New Choice Homes Park.
This time the Sharks and Swans were battling for the right to stay alive in 2020 and to advance to the preliminary final, but by Sunday afternoon, the rain had arrived and it made it for an even more challenging contest for both especially early on.
East Fremantle did manage to kick two goals in the first quarter while holding Swan Districts to one behind to lead by 13 points at quarter-time.
The Sharks then didn’t score themselves in the second quarter while Swans kicked their only goal of the first half to cut East Fremantle's lead to five points by the half-time interval.
East Fremantle didn’t score at all again in the third quarter and this time Swan Districts did get on a roll to kick three goals themselves and that saw them in a strong position to move into the preliminary final with a lead of 14 points by three quarter-time.
However, East Fremantle wasn’t done with yet and the Sharks kicked the only three goals of the final quarter to overrun Swan Districts and secure the 5.5 (35) to 4.5 (29) to victory to advance to the preliminary final and end the season of the black-and-whites.
Sara Lewis, Katelyn Catalano, Gabby O'Sullivan, Larissa Versaci and Lily Bird all kicked a goal each for East Fremantle.
O'Sullivan, Katrina Tinson, Sharon Wong, Madeline Ross and Julie-Anne Norrish were all terrific performers too for the Sharks.
Ashley Sharp, Mikayla Hyde, Lauren Osborne and Mikayla Morrison were the goal scorers for Swan Districts.
Swans' best performers included Mikayla Hyde, Brianna Hyde, Shanae Davison, Aimee Ralph and Sarah Wielstra.
SUBIACO 4.4 (28) defeated PEEL THUNDER 3.4 (22)
A Grand Final spot went on the line when Subiaco hosted Peel Thunder in the WAFLW second semi-final on Sunday, and little separated the teams the whole way but the rain came at the wrong time for a Peel comeback.
Subiaco finished on top of the ladder at the end of the 2019 WAFLW home and away season while Peel finished in last place, but they were both deserving of their place as the top two teams in 2020 leading into Sunday's second semi-final.
For the second straight season the Lions claimed the WAFLW minor premiership and they were looking to make up for their straight set finals exit last year while the Thunder have done a superb job to rise from claiming the wooden spoon to now earning a finals double chance 12 months later.
The stage was all set on Sunday afternoon at Leederville Oval for a terrific contest with a Grand Final berth on the line and it was Subiaco who jumped out of the blocks quickly kicking the only two goals of the opening quarter.
But Peel responded impressively in the second term by kicking three goals to just one from Subiaco and that saw the Thunder claim a two-point advantage heading into the half-time interval.
Subiaco then went on to kick the only goal of the third quarter which turned out the only goal of the second half as the rain really began to pelt down at Leederville Oval.
In the end, that saw Subiaco beat Peel 4.4 (28) to 3.4 (22) to advance to the WAFLW Grand Final in two weeks' time at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval while Peel will now host East Fremantle this Sunday in the preliminary final at David Grays Arena in Mandurah.
Kia Buckley ended up kicking two goals for Subiaco with Aimee Schmidt and Abbey Dowrick the other goal scorers for the Lions.
Jessica Ritchie, Tiah Haynes, Ange Stannett, Hayley Miller and Buckley were all strong contributors in the win for Subiaco.
Kate Bartlett kicked two goals for Peel Thunder with Chloe Wrigley their other goal kicker.
Wrigley, Courtney Rowley, Tanisha Anderson, Ebony Bilcich and Hannah Church were terrific on the day for Peel.