TEAMS made their move in Round 8 of the WAFL season on Saturday and a whole host of players delivered some standout individual performances too whether in attacking or defensively minded roles across the five matches.
All five matches in Round 8 of the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season took place on Saturday afternoon with a bit of a gap now opening up from the top two teams to the rest, and then from the teams in the top five to the chasing pack as a result of the outcomes.
Subiaco returned to top spot on the WAFL ladder with a convincing 11.17 (83) to 5.9 (39) victory against Peel Thunder at Leederville Oval.
Claremont also maintained their hold on a top two position with their solid 14.12 (96) to 9.6 (60) win against East Perth at Claremont's Revo Fitness Stadium.
Reigning premiers South Fremantle bounced back strongly from their loss a week ago to Perth to ensure the West Coast Eagles remained winless in 2021 as the Bulldogs won 20.7 (127) to 9.7 (61) at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
Swan Districts returned to fourth position on the WAFL ladder on the back of a 16.9 (105) to 8.13 (61) win against East Fremantle also on Saturday at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.
Perth then snapped the longest losing streak of any current team against another in the WAFL on Saturday to close the round at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval as the Demons defeated the Falcons 7.6 (48) to 5.8 (38).
Those results mean that after Round 8 of the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season, Subiaco is out on top with a 6-1 record but less than one percent ahead of the also 6-1 Claremont.
Reigning premiers South Fremantle are third with a 5-2 record ahead of the fourth placed Swan Districts (4-3) and Perth (4-3).
Peel Thunder (3-4) is just outside a top five position in front of East Fremantle (3-4), West Perth (3-4), East Perth (1-6) and the West Coast Eagles (0-7).
PLAYER OF THE ROUND – JYE BOLTON (Claremont)
He has amassed a remarkable array of individual accolades since joining Claremont in 2016, but the one thing still eluding him is the premiership with the Tigers and clearly that fire is continuing to keep him performing at such a remarkable level.
The prolific midfielder joined Claremont in 2016 and what he has accomplished since has been remarkable.
He has now played 97 WAFL matches with the Tigers which has seen him win Sandover Medals in 2016 and 2018 along with be named the fairest and best with Claremont in each of those two seasons as well.
Bolton was also instrumental in Claremont reaching the Grand Final last year and going so close to that elusive premiership before losing to South Fremantle by just three points. However, he was outstanding and was awarded the Simpson Medal for his performance.
The 29-year-old has continued on his brilliant form under new coach Ashley Prescott so far in 2021 as well. That earned him selection to represent the WAFL State Team for a fifth time last month against South Australia in Adelaide, and he came away winning his third State Game Simpson Medal.
So with two Sandover Medals, two fairest and best awards and now four Simpson Medals across his WAFL career that is nearing 100 games with Claremont, it is that premiership that stands out as the missing piece and he's doing everything he can to give the Tigers the best possible chance.
He was outstanding once again in the midfield for Claremont on Saturday in the win against East Perth at Revo Fitness Stadium finishing up with another 34 possessions, nine inside-50 entries, seven marks, three tackles and a goal.
Players of the Round
Round 1 – Josh Schoenfeld (East Fremantle)
Round 2 – Sam Fisher (Swan Districts)
Round 3 – Greg Clark (Subiaco)
Round 5 – Haiden Schloithe (South Fremantle)
Round 6 – Tyrone Thorne (Peel Thunder)
Round 7 – Keegan Knott (West Perth)
Round 8 – Jye Bolton (Claremont)
BACK POCKET – CODY LEGGETT (East Fremantle)
He hasn’t always been renowned for his defensive capabilities but he was given the job to run with reigning Sandover Medallist Sam Fisher on Saturday and limited the Swan Districts midfielder to just the 15 possessions. He had 15 disposals and five tackles himself in an important role he played well for the Sharks.
FULL-BACK – ANTON HAMP (Claremont)
The 158-game veteran has spent a lot of the past 12 months providing a target in attack for Claremont, but he was back to the defensive role he has really built his reputation on and didn’t miss a beat against East Perth's tall forwards. He ended the afternoon with 15 possessions and five marks as well.
BACK POCKET – NELSON WAITE (Swan Districts)
What a terrific attacking and creative defender he is turning out to be at Swan Districts having made the move from East Perth craving more opportunities. Could well be the best in the competition in his role and showed that again in Saturday's win against East Fremantle with 21 possessions, three marks, two tackles and two inside-50 entries.
HALF-BACK FLANK – ANGUS LITHERLAND (Subiaco)
The premiership defender is in tremendous form in the opening half of the 2021 WAFL season. Had another terrific game in the defensive performance from the Lions against the Thunder in Saturday's big win to earn another Team of the Week nod on the back of his 21 possessions, five marks and two entries inside the forward 50.
CENTRE HALF-BACK – ZAC HILL (Perth)
Perth's back-line has been anchored by Clayton Giblett admirably over the last couple of seasons, but in his absence on Saturday, it was up to him to take on the big role against West Perth's state forward Tyler Keitel. He did the job tremendously holding Keitel to just the one goal while he had 12 touches and four marks himself in what was a role that had a big say in the win for the Demons.
HALF-BACK FLANK – MATTHEW TAYLOR (Perth)
The Demons might be missing quite a host of key, experienced players but he is one that has remained a stable member of the line-up and has continued to display outstanding form across half-back. He finished with 29 possessions, seven marks and three tackles in the drought breaking win against West Perth.
WING – COREY BYRNE (Perth)
He has had to take on extra responsibility in the Perth midfield given the players missing at the moment but he is showing why he is such an exciting emerging on-baller. Finished the game against West Perth with 30 possessions, five inside-50 entries, four marks, four tackles and a goal.
CENTRE – FRANK ANDERSON (Swan Districts)
He had a strong first season in the WAFL in 2020 but was overshadowed when fellow recruit Sam Fisher won the Sandover Medal, but he has gone up another gear so far in 2021 with the black-and-whites. Was superb in the midfield again against the Sharks finishing with 26 disposals, six marks, five tackles and a goal.
WING – ANGUS SCOTT (East Perth)
Missing fellow key midfielders Rohan Kerr and Nick Robertson made it challenging for the Royals to stick with the Tigers, but he certainly picked up some of the slack with a terrific performance on the wing for East Perth. He delivered 34 disposals, nine marks and two tackles.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – GREG CLARK (Subiaco)
The Subiaco midfielder is in remarkable form and he is also getting forward impressively in 2021 to make himself a goalkicker to add to the threat he possesses. He has to be a leading Sandover Medal candidate right now based on his form to date and it was again on song in Saturday's win over Peel with 30 possessions, eight marks, six tackles and four inside-50 entries.
CENTRE HALF-FORWARD – JIMMY MILLER (South Fremantle)
The premiership-winning centre half-forward was on fire to start Saturday's game for South Fremantle against the West Coast Eagles. He kicked the sealer in last year's Grand Final and also the winner earlier this season against East Perth, but he had a career-best five goals against the Eagles. Three of them came in the first 10 minutes and he had all five by 19 minutes into the second term, and finished with 16 disposals and eight marks for the day.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – MATTHEW PARKER (South Fremantle)
He has returned to South Fremantle the full package of a player after two years at St Kilda. Once just an enigmatic small forward, he's now a running machine, a terrific finishes and his ability to break away from stoppages is elite. It was likely the best game of his career with the win over the Eagles with 26 touches, nine marks, six inside 50s and four goals.
FORWARD POCKET – HARRY MARSH (Subiaco)
The powerhouse has found a role as a permanent forward in this Subiaco team so far this year and it's paying dividends. He produced another standout performance against Peel not only when inside-50 for the Lions, but working up the field and driving the ball back into attack as well. He ended the game with 24 possessions, nine marks, six tackles, five inside 50s and three goals.
FULL-FORWARD – JACK BULLER (Claremont)
The young Claremont key forward continues to provide a strong target in attack for the Tigers to help make up for the star forwards they have lost in recent times. He put in another impressive effort in Saturday's win against East Perth kicking three goals from 10 kicks and nine marks.
FORWARD POCKET – JESSE PALMER (Swan Districts)
The former Port Adelaide AFL-listed forward continues to provide that target in attack that Swan Districts has been missing for such a long time. His consistency has been crucial in Swans being able to kick some winning scores in 2021 and he kicked another three goals from seven kicks, four marks and three tackles in the win against East Fremantle.
RUCK – LACHLAN DELAHUNTY (Subiaco)
He was clearly the best ruckman on the ground and that was a fair effort considering he was up against Fremantle's Lloyd Meek from Peel who dominated the week before for the Thunder. But the Sandover Medallist was right on top of his game leading the way or Subiaco on Saturday with 30 possessions, 16 hit outs, seven marks, seven inside 50s and four tackles.
ROVER – HAIDEN SCHLOITHE (South Fremantle)
He had a bit of a down game last week against Perth like the majority of his teammates, but he bounced back in outstanding fashion against the Eagles this Saturday to confirm his status as the Sandover Medal favourite. He produced 35 possessions, nine marks, four tackles and three inside-50 entries for the Bulldogs.
INTERCHANGE – REGAN CLARKE (Perth)
In just his 13th league appearance the 19-year-old was given the job by coach Garry Moss to run with triple West Perth fairest and best winner Shane Nelson, and he did an outstanding job limiting the ball magnet to just the 18 possessions while having 15 disposals, four inside 50s, three tackles and a goal himself.
INTERCHANGE – TRISTAN HOBLEY (West Perth)
The 20-year-old delivered the best game of his short WAFL career on Saturday even it wasn’t a win for West Perth against Perth at Provident Financial Oval. He did all he could to lift the Falcons, though, finishing the afternoon with 28 touches, six marks, five tackles and four entries inside the forward 50.
INTERCHANGE – COREY GAULT (Swan Districts)
He had the most enthralling ruck battle of the season up against East Fremantle's Luke Strnadica, and he only gets the nod in the Team of the Week because his team were convincing winners. The Swan Districts big man finished with 19 possessions, 36 hit outs and six tackles, but Strnadica was impressive too with 18 touches, 39 hit outs and a goal.
INTERCHANGE – BEN HOWLETT (Peel Thunder)
The inspirational and tenacious Thunder captain has had an injury interrupted start to the season, but he fought valiantly against the grain in Saturday loss to Subiaco at Leederville Oval. He finished the afternoon for Peel with 19 disposals, seven tackles and two goals.
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 8 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:
Subiaco's Wil Hickmott, Leigh Kitchin and Hayden Kennedy.
Peel Thunder's Reece Conca, Tyrone Thorne, Ben Hancock, Nathan O'Driscoll and Michael Randall.
Claremont's Callan England, Jake Patmore, Ryan Lim, Kane Mitchell, Bailey Rogers, Declan Mountford, Thomas Baldwin, Jared Hardisty and Oliver Eastland.
East Perth's Jayden Magro, Aidan Lynch, Nathan Blee, Angus Schumacher, Mitch Dobson and Christian Ameduri.
South Fremantle's Cody Ninyette, Toby McQuilkin, Dylan Main, Jacob Dragovich and Blake Schlensog.
Xavier O'Neill from the West Coast Eagles reserves team.
Swan Districts' Aidan Clarke, Thomas Edwards, Brayden Noble, Anthony Stephens, Josh Cipro, Jackson Beck, Jiah Reidy, Tony Notte and Jesse Turner.
East Fremantle's Nick Kommer, Cam Eardley, Luke Strnadica and Jordan Snadden.
West Perth's Aaron Black, Zac Guadagnin, Connor West and Noah Pegoraro.
Perth's Kristian Cary, Haydn Busher and Andrew Fisher.