WHAT a Round 3 it was of the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season with standout performances in wins for East Fremantle, Claremont, South Fremantle and Swan Districts but nothing could beat Greg Clark kicking the match-winner in the game of his life for Subiaco.
It was a terrific Saturday afternoon of action in Round 3 of the 2021 season starting with East Fremantle seeing a host of players stand up in impressive fashion as they held off East Perth 13.10 (88) to 9.9 (63) at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park.
Claremont and Perth played out another entertaining affair on Saturday at Revo Fitness Stadium with the Tigers remaining undefeated in 2021 beating the Demons 16.14 (110) to 12.6 (78).
South Fremantle and Peel Thunder have won three of the previous five WAFL premierships as they headed to the spectacularly redeveloped Pingelly Oval to do battle on Saturday. A tremendous contest ensued by Haiden Schloithe delivered a standout performance to help South Fremantle beat Peel 14.11 (95) 11.11 (77).
Swan Districts was then able to keep its early season momentum going recording a 13.16 (94) to 8.7 (55) victory against the West Coast Eagles at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.
And finally in Round 3 in what was likely the game of the WAFL season to date over the opening three rounds, West Perth and Subiaco played out a cracking affair.
The Lions ended up winning 14.10 (94) to 14.7 (91) on the back of Greg Clark's match-winning goal to wrap up an afternoon where he could end up nothing but the WAFL Player of the Week.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND – GREG CLARK (SUBIACO)
His progression has been right on track with expectations from colts captain to regular league player, premiership player and now leader, but his performance on Saturday for Subiaco against West Perth is going to be mighty tough to top.
Clark has always been someone that even when Subiaco were going through successful eras that was earmarked has someone capable of leading that new generation when he was a standout colts captain.
That transformation has certainly been happening and he did get a couple of league opportunities in a Subiaco premiership year of 2015 but then after cementing himself for a lot of the 2016 season, he lost his place ahead of the finals with the Lions ending up losing the Grand Final to Peel Thunder.
He took his game up another level in 2016 and this time played in Subiaco's first two finals, but he lost his spot in the Grand Final but the heartbreak of that wasn’t what it could have been given it turned out to be another loss to the Thunder.
But over 2018 and 2019, Clark had no worries about his place in the team and there would be nothing stopping him being part of Subiaco's success. They would win back-to-back premierships and he was a key member of the sides of both teams.
He then had another good year in the shortened 2020 WAFL season and has started 2021 brilliantly, and there's no question his performance on Saturday in Subiaco's three-point win against West Perth was the best of his 77-game career.
Not only did he finish with the remarkable numbers of 37 possessions, 11 marks, eight tackles and five entries inside the forward 50, but he kicked the winning goal in the dying stages in remarkable fashion.
With Subiaco forcing a boundary throw-in in their forward pocket and trailing, Lachlan Delahunty tapped it down to the waiting Clark, who weaved his way through space to kick truly and kick the Lions into the lead and they remained unbeaten in 2021.
Players of the Round
Round 1 – Josh Schoenfeld (East Fremantle)
Round 2 – Sam Fisher (Swan Districts)
Round 3 – Greg Clark (Subiaco)
WAFL TEAM OF THE ROUND
BACK: Lachlan Martinis (C), Blake Schlensog (SF), Blake Wilhelm (WP)
HALF-BACK: Cody Leggett (EF), Michael Sinclair (P), Nelson Waite (SD)
CENTRE: Cameron Eardley (EF), Leigh Kitchin (S), Greg Clark (S)
HALF-FORWARD: Steven Edwards (SF), Ben Sokol (S), Matt Riggio (SD)
FORWARD: Jesse Palmer (SD), Tyler Keitel (WP), Harry McCracken (C)
RUCK: Corey Gault (SD), Haiden Schloithe (SF), Declan Mountford (C)
INTERCHANGE: Jye Bolton (C), Lloyd Meek (PT), Ben Hancock (PT), Milan Murdock (EF)
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 3 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:
East Fremantle's Jonathon Marsh, Hugh Dixon, Kye Baskerville, Luke English, Blaine Boekhorst and Josh Schoenfeld.
East Perth's Scott Jones, Nathan Blee, Angus Scott, Rohan Kerr, Kye Willcocks and Harley Sparks.
Claremont's Alex Manuel, Bailey Rogers, Jake Patmore, Ryan Lim and Callan England.
Perth's Matthew Rogers, Matthew Taylor, Brady Grey, Brent Edmonds, Chris Masten and Dakota Baldwin-Wright.
South Fremantle's Cody Ninyette, Jimmy Miller, Matthew Parker, Jacob Dragovich, Tom Blechynden, Chad Pearson and George Wessels.
Peel Thunder's Connor Blakely, Tyrone Thorne, Jackson Merrett, Taylin Duman and Luke Valente.
Swan Districts' Tom Edwards, Frank Anderson, Sam Fisher, Josh Cipro, Aiden Clarke, Jak Watson and Tarir Bayok.
West Coast Eagles' Jamaine Jones, Brayden Ainsworth, Hamish Brayshaw, Luke Foley and Luke Edwards.
West Perth's Keegan Knott, Connor West, Trent Manzone, Shane Nelson, Steve Potente, Aaron Black and Mitch Peirce.
Subiaco's Harry Marsh, Jordan Faraone, Lachlan Delahunty, Hayden Kennedy, Max Walters and Rowen Powell.