EAST Fremantle made its move towards the top of the WAFL ladder with a big win in Round 17 action on Saturday while West Perth kept its finals hopes alive and Peel Thunder got off the bottom of the ladder.
East Fremantle beat East Perth 20.16 (136) to 10.12 (72) at East Fremantle Oval in the battle of two teams in the top-four while Peel got off the bottom and ended Subiaco's finals hopes with a 15.9 (99) to 9.7 (61) victory at Leederville's Medibank Stadium.
West Perth also held on against South Fremantle at Fremantle Oval to win 15.15 (105) to 15.12 (102) with Claremont also advancing to the Foxtel Cup grand final with a 13.10 (88) to 6.2 (38) victory over Port Melbourne at Patersons Stadium.
The round's results leave Claremont, East Fremantle and Swan Districts all equal on top of the ladder with 10-4 records to only be separated by percentage. East Perth (9-1-5) makes up the top-four followed by West Perth (7-1-6), Subiaco (6-8), Perth (4-10), Peel (4-10) and South Fremantle (3-12).
Click here for the summary of Round 17 of the WAFL
THE BIG WINNERS
East Fremantle started a massive three weeks on Saturday with a commanding performance to beat East Perth by 64 points.
After the bye last week, the Sharks now have three games against East Perth, Swan Districts and Claremont before another bye so they take on all the other top-four teams as their premiership credentials go on the line.
The Sharks could not have started that three-week stretch any better than with a dominant display from start to finish against East Perth to move up into second spot and they now can be clear on top with wins over Swans and the Tigers the next fortnight.
East Fremantle also won on Saturday with only two AFL-listed players and without a recognised experienced ruckman, but were tremendous all over the field with a perfect blend of experienced leaders and exciting youngsters.
THE BIG LOSERS
Subiaco could have stayed in contention for a top-four spot with a win over Peel Thunder at home on Saturday, but were virtually never in the contest.
Peel led five goals to one at quarter-time and ended up beating Subiaco by 38 points to put the Lions out of contention for a top-four spot.
It will now only be the second time since 1997 that Subiaco has not played finals football in a stretch that has seen them win four premierships and play in seven grand finals.
Subiaco now sits three and-a-half games behind fourth-placed East Perth, with a poor percentage and only six matches of the 2012 campaign remaining.
THE SHINING LIGHTS
East Fremantle kicked the only four goals of the first quarter against East Perth and went on with it from there to end up winning by 64 points to improve to a 10-4 record and pick up some crucial percentage as well.
Max Duffy was terrific up forward kicking five goals with Brock O'Brien adding three, Rob Young two and Adam Waight two. Bradd Dalziell also kicked three majors to go with 28 possessions on his return from a knee injury to the East Fremantle league side.
Rory O'Brien gathered 28 possessions as well, Mark McGough 24, Jayden Schofield 24, Richard Hadley 20 and Andrew Stephen 20.
The Sharks' back-line was also outstanding with Luke Weller doing well on Josh Smith, Steven Dodd on Adam Prior and Tom Howlett (pictured) on Zac Clarke.
It was a tough day for East Perth with Josh Smith kicking three goals and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls also adding three. Steven Payne booted two as well to go with 21 possessions.
Aaron Sweet picked up 30 disposals to go with 12 marks, eight inside-50 entries and a goal. Daniel Macaulay had 23 touches, Freddie Clutterbuck 23, Craig Wulff 22, Michael Swan 21 and Ryan Maldenis 21. Jacob Derickx was terrific keeping Jack Perham scoreless in defence.
West Perth had a fast start with seven goals to one in the first quarter against South Fremantle but only managed to hold on by three points. It was still a crucial victory, though, with Jason Salecic, Joel Rice, Mark Hutchings, Shane Nelson, Brent LeCras and Josh Mellington all kicking two goals.
Ray Bartholomew (pictured) picked up 30 possessions, Aaron Black 28, Hutchings 28, Jay van Berlo 27, Matt Guadagnin 26, Steven Browne 25, Luke Tedesco 25, Nelson 21 and LeCras 20.
Kris Miller gathered 28 possessions for South Fremantle with Ryan Cook also racking up 26, Alex Grima 26, Matthew Olivieri 22 and Shaun Bewick 20.
Sean Tighe had 22 disposals and 30 hit outs in the ruck with Grima, Ben Saunders and John Sgherza kicking two goals each and Jayden Woods three.
Hayden North (pictured) retired after the game for South Fremantle as well ending his 155-match career that included the 2005 premiership and two appearances representing Western Australia. He also starred in the 2009 reserves premiership winning the Merv McIntosh Medal.
Peel Thunder won its second game from three matches under new coach Mark Moody and did so emphatically against Subiaco at Medibank Stadium on Saturday.
Matt Battye (pictured) kicked four goals, Brad Holmes three, Bryce Thornton two and Brendan Hancock two. Pat Travers racked up 29 possessions, Brendon Jones 27, Jesse Crichton 24, Matt Orzel 22, Peter Faulks 21 and David Johnston 21.
George Hampson, Rowen McDonnell and Brant Chambers kicked two goals each for Subiaco with Aidan Parker finishing with 25 possessions and 28 hit outs in the ruck.
Claremont dominated its Foxtel Cup semi-final beating Port Melbourne by 50 points to book a spot in the grand final to be played at Patersons Stadium on Thursday August 2 against Werribee.
Alistair Gillespie and Tom Lee kicked three goals each with Jarryd Morton picking up 22 possessions, Thomas Taylor 21, Jake Murphy 20, Andrew Foster 18, Byron Schammer 18, Jess Laurie 17 and Andrew Browne 17.
PUSHING FOR A SPOT
East Fremantle beat East Perth by 76 points in the reserves on Saturday with Justin Monaco booting eight goals from eight kicks. Adrian Ricciardello also booted four majors, Leith Teakle three and Tim Viney two. Sam Menegola picked up 25 possessions and kicked a goal.
David Marinovich kicked seven goals for East Perth with Trent Batterham adding three. Dean Cadwallader picked up 17 possessions, Boston Williamson 16, Brett Dobson 16 and Matthew Kelly 16.
West Perth's reserves beat South Fremantle by 32 points with Jamie Del Borrello kicking three goals, Darcy Barden three and James Batterham two. Aaron Russell picked up 23 possessions, Mitch Brown 22, Barden 21 and Alex Elisseou 20.
Subiaco's reserves beat Peel by 53 points with Scott Douglas, Conor Davidson, Rory Muller, Nick Hay and Ryan Wade kicking two goals each. Simon Moore gathered 30 disposals, Brett Mahoney 24, Muller 23, Tim Whyte 23 and Davidson 22.
Aaron Payrits kicked two goals for Peel with Liam McKenna racking up 24 possessions.