HAIDEN Schloithe has inspired South Fremantle to a hard fought 18-point win over Peel Thunder in Pingelly on Saturday afternoon with one of their more complete individual performances of his remarkable career.
South Fremantle and Peel Thunder made the trek to Pingelly Oval on Saturday afternoon for the first WAFL country fixture of the 2021, and it proved a spectacular venue at the newly redeveloped ground in the heart of the Bulldogs zone.
The almost 2000 fans in attendance were also treated to an entertaining afternoon on the field between two teams that became regular finals combatants back in 2016 and 2017 with the Thunder beating the Bulldogs on both occasions on the way to winning back-to-back premierships.
But South Fremantle wasn’t able start well on Saturday in Pingelly and then hold for a fourth straight win against Peel, prevailing 14.11 (95) to 11.11 (77).
The Bulldogs started impressive in their home away from home kicking four goals to two in the opening quarter. They added another four goals to two in the second term and went into the half-time break in control leading the Thunder by 26 points.
The trend continued in the third quarter as well with South Fremantle kicking another four goals to two from Peel to open up a 38-point lead by the main break.
But Peel wouldn’t go away and ended up controlling the final quarter with five goals to just two from South Fremantle to cut the final deficit to 18 points.
Haiden Schloithe ultimately proved the major difference between the two teams with the premiership star, life member, Sandover Medallist and three-time fairest and best winner at South Fremantle producing one of the best all-round performances of his remarkable career.
He finished the afternoon with 33 possessions, nine marks, five tackles, five inside-50 entries and three goals.
Cody Ninyette continued his superb start to the season at the Bulldogs on the back of playing two games in 2020 to become a premiership player. He kicked another three goals on Saturday from 17 possessions and nine marks.
Steven Edwards also kicked three goals from 16 disposals, eight marks and four tackles while Mason Shaw added two and Jimmy Miller two along with carrying much of the ruck in the absence of Brock Higgins with 16 touches, eight marks, five tackles and 14 hit outs.
Debutant Hamish Free also came in and gave some important minutes in the ruck and had 21 hit outs and four tackles.
New South Fremantle recruit Blake Schlensog was a standout at centre half-back once more with 22 possessions and eight marks while Matthew Parker gave tremendous run on the wing with 22 disposals, seven marks, seven inside 50s and five tackles.
Jacob Dragovich also 21 disposals, Tom Blechynden 21, Chad Pearson 21 and second-gamer George Wessels 18 to go with eight tackles and five marks.
Sam Sturt, Joel Western and Ben Middleton all kicked two goals each for Peel as did Lloyd Meek along with his 13 possessions and 31 hit outs.
Connor Blakely racked up 25 possessions and six marks for Peel with Tyrone Thorne finishing with 21 disposals, Jackson Merrett 18, Taylin Duman 18, Stefan Giro 17 and Liam Henry 16.
Luke Valente had a strong all-round showing made up of 15 possessions, seven marks, five tackles and two inside-50 entries but it was 108-game premiership veteran Ben Hancock who was best for Peel with 22 disposals, six marks, six tackles and four inside-50 entries.
Both teams now fascinating Round 4 match ups as part of ANZAC Weekend on Saturday with South Fremantle taking on Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval while Peel Thunder will host the undefeated Claremont at David Grays Arena.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 3
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.5 8.9 12.10 14.11 (95)
PEEL THUNDER 2.4 4.7 6.8 11.11 (77)
SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Schloithe, Ninyette, Edwards 3; Shaw, Miller 2; Z Strom.
Best – Schloithe, Ninyette, Miller, Schlensog, Parker, Blechynden, Pearson, Edwards, Wessels.
PEEL THUNDER: Goals – Meek, Middleton, Western, Sturt 2; Lawler, Thorne, Henry.
Best – Hancock, Blakely, Thorne, Meek, Duman, Valente, Western.