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WAFL Team of NAIDOC RoundWednesday, July 14, 2021 - 9:49 AM - by Chris Pike

WHAT a NAIDOC Round it was in the WAFL and that's highlighted by the brilliant performances that not only earned selection in the Team of the Week, but that also missed out from the five matches on Saturday as part of Round 14.

The 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season resumed with NAIDOC Round with all five matches on Saturday afternoon and by the end of it, we are left with a remarkably tight battle inside the top five with only one game separating them but then there's a three-game gap back to the chasing pack.

All five matches took place on Saturday afternoon beginning with Peel Thunder returning to the winner's list after five consecutive losses as they proved too strong for Harry Taylor and East Fremantle, winning 13.10 (88) to 9.8 (62) at New Choice Homes Park.

Perth had the challenge to try and turn things around against Subiaco at Leederville Oval but it wasn’t to be with the Lions making it 10 straight against the Demons winning 10.11 (71) to 6.8 (44).

West Perth then made it four wins in-a-row and continued their recent derby dominance against East Perth with a 14.13 (97) to 10.7 (67) victory at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval.

Swan Districts and West Coast Eagles then played out a heartstopper at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval with Swans ending up prevailing 10.11 (71) to 9.15 (69) thanks to the last goal of the game from second-game ruckman Matthew Germs.

The last game of the round was the Grand Final rematch and traditional NAIDOC Round clash between South Fremantle and Claremont, and it was Cody Ninyette celebrating NAIDOC Week with the winning goal for the Bulldogs as they downed the Tigers 11.2 (68) to 9.13 (67).

It was the celebration of NAIDOC Week in the WAFL on Saturday and what better time for the Swan Districts exciting and dangerous left-footer to put in his best performance of the season in the win against the West Coast Eagles.

It has been quite the rollercoaster ride for the now 25-year-old but right now he looks ready to play the consistent football he has always threatened to be able to do.

He was an exciting young talent who came to Clontarf and started playing at Swan Districts, and that saw him become a star in the colts and even be part of the WA State Academy in 2013.

With lightning pace and a lethal left boot, there were high hopes of what he could produce and he would show flashes of what he was capable of in the formative years of his senior career.

He played eight league matches in 2015, nine in 2016, 18 in 2017, 16 in 2018 and 14 in 2019. He would spend most of those first 65 games playing at half-forward but also showed some good signs with his running ability on the wing and could also do well creatively off half-back.

Consistency was a little bit of an issue, though, and he would come and go from the club a couple of times throughout the years, but the talent he possessed has never gone away and now so far in 2021 he is showing the best consistent patch of form of his now 71-game WAFL career.

Then with the added motivation of celebrating NAIDOC Week against the West Coast Eagles at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday, Wilson was terrific kicking three goals to go with 14 possessions, seven marks and four inside-50 entries.

He could very well be the type of X-factor player that Swan Districts need to not only make the finals in 2021, but to have a real impact in them.

Players of the Round
Round 1 – Josh Schoenfeld (East Fremantle)
Round 2 – Sam Fisher (Swan Districts)
Round 5 – Haiden Schloithe (South Fremantle)
Round 6 – Tyrone Thorne (Peel Thunder)
Round 7 – Keegan Knott (West Perth)
Round 8 – Jye Bolton (Claremont)
Round 9 – Tyler Keitel (West Perth)
Round 10/11 – Jonathon Marsh (East Fremantle)
Round 12 – Jackson Ramsay (East Perth)
Round 14 – Warrick Wilson (Swan Districts)

Peel's defence has been pretty solid this season even with their recent five-game losing streak but without Will Schofield against East Fremantle on Saturday, he had to take on a bigger and more significant role and he was more than up to the challenge. Shouldn’t be too far from an AFL opportunity should a spot at the Dockers open up after his game which included 22 touches, 10 marks and three tackles.
Times named in 2021: 1

FULL-BACK – NOAH STROM (South Fremantle)
The premiership full-back teamed up with Blayne Wilson to take on young Claremont forwards Jacob Van Rooyen and Jack Buller on Saturday, and their dominant defensive showings played a big part in the eventual one-point win. The two Claremont forwards combined for just seven kicks, four marks and one behind while he also had 10 disposals, four marks and two tackles himself.
Times named in 2021: 2

It has been an intriguing 2021 season so far for the triple premiership winning Subiaco defender. He has been used up forward for a lot of the year and been thrown around quite a bit, and been battling health issues, but he looks back to full fitness now and has settled back into that role in defence just nicely. Was superb as part of a rock solid defensive unit in the victory against Perth and had 22 possessions, eight marks and four tackles.
Times named in 2021: 1

HALF-BACK FLANK – ZAC DENT (South Fremantle)
The premiership winning running defender played his first game of the 2021 season on Saturday and showed just what a quality and important player he is for the Bulldogs. He set up play all afternoon against Claremont off half-back with his clever and clean ball use, and finished up with 26 possessions, four marks, three tackles and two entries inside the forward 50.
Times named in 2021: 1

The 256-game Swan Districts legend continues to be one of the very best marking players in the competition and his ability to cut off West Coast's attacks forward on Saturday's was crucial in the eventual narrow win. He has a good back-line around him in 2021 with Brandon Erceg and Chris Jones stepping up even with Alex Howard currently out, but he was brilliant with 18 kicks and 16 marks for the day.
Times named in 2021: 2

Quietly he has kept his family name going following on from his uncle's remarkable career to have cemented himself as one of the best defenders in the competition. Is having a standout 2021 season and was tremendous once more in the win against East Perth not only defensively, but also with ball in hand with his 21 possessions and nine marks.
Times named in 2021: 4

The reigning Peel Thunder fairest and best winner remains one of the best and most consistent wingmen in the competition since moving west following his AFL career at Essendon. Put together another standout, hard running display in the NAIDOC Round win against East Fremantle to finish the afternoon with 30 disposals, 11 marks and five entries inside the forward 50.
Times named in 2021: 3

The West Perth captain is now 213 games into his remarkable career that includes a premiership, Sandover Medal and two fairest and best awards, and at only 28 years of age there are no signs of him slowing down. He remains right at the peak of his powers leading the Falcons and in the big win over the Royals at home on Saturday, he produced another 32 disposals, nine marks, six tackles and four inside 50s.
Times named in 2021: 4

What a season it continues to be for the Subiaco on-baller who did have to bide his time as a defender and then wingman in premiership teams of 2018 and 19, but now as a permanent midfielder he continues to emerge as one of the very best in the competition. Is having a remarkable season and was superb again on Saturday against Perth with 36 touches, 12 marks, eight inside-50 entries and seven tackles.
Times named in 2021: 6

Whether playing in the midfield or then going forward, he is playing some tremendous football for Peel in the WAFL this season and can't be far away from earning a call up into the Fremantle Dockers' AFL team. Was instrumental in Saturday's bounce back win against East Fremantle with three goals to go with 20 possessions, five marks, five tackles and five inside-50 entries.
Times named in 2021: 2

He is now kicking himself clear in the Bernie Naylor Medal race after another impressive performance as the spearhead of an impressive West Perth forward-line in the win against East Perth on home turf on Saturday. He kicked another four goals from 13 kicks and seven marks to now have 36 goals for the season to be eight ahead of his nearest rivals.
Times named in 2021: 5

He might only be small and he might be just four games into his league career, but he sure has fitted in quickly at West Perth and has been a factor in their current four-game winning streak. Spending time both in the middle and the forward-line, he's finding plenty of the ball and the goals and that was again the case against the Royals as he delivered 28 touches, nine marks and two goals in the big win.

Times named in 2021: 1

He hadn’t played a game for East Fremantle since Round 23, 2007 and hadn’t played top level football since last year's AFL Grand Final with Geelong in the last of his remarkable 280-match, two-time premiership career with the Cats. But you wouldn't know it by watching him take up the role at full-forward for the Sharks. Despite the team struggling, he did what he could when the ball was in his vicinity to kick four goals from nine kicks, five marks and three tackles in his 50th appearance for the Sharks.
Times named in 2021: 1

On an afternoon against South Fremantle where Claremont's forward-line struggled for an aerial impact, it was left to the small forwards and he was lively all game long in the eventual one-point defeat. He ended up kicking three clever goals to go with 14 possessions in a lively display from the 21-year-old in his 18th game.
Times named in 2021: 1

It wasn’t an interesting week where he didn’t necessarily spend too much time in the ruck for Subiaco with Oskar Matthews coming in to spend a lot of time in the middle, but without another standout big man across the round, he earns the spot in the ruck for his strong all-round game. The Sandover Medallist tore up Perth for the second time in 2021 with 30 possessions, eight marks and four inside 50s while also having 11 hit outs.
Times named in 2021: 4

The Subiaco captain is having as good a season as he's ever had with the Lions during his triple premiership winning, 125-game career and is leading the Lions from the front in the midfield admirably. Was a dominant force in the win against Perth once again finishing with 33 disposals, nine inside 50s, eight marks and three tackles.
Times named in 2021: 6

ROVER – JYE BOLTON (Claremont)
The remarkable season from someone now who has played over 100 games, won two Sandover Medals and four Simpson Medals is just defying belief. He is likely having the best season of his career with Claermont and he kept that up against South Fremantle with another 37 possessions, five inside 50s, four marks, four tackles and a goal.
Times named in 2021: 7

The hard running Claremont wingman is having another solid season and perhaps had his best showing of 2021 season so far in Saturday's one-point loss to South Fremantle. But that was through no fault of his own in his 120th appearance for the Tigers and ended up with 26 touches, five marks and two goals.
Times named in 2021: 1

It certainly isn't a form reason why he hasn’t earned a call up into the West Coast AFL team because he continued his outstanding recent performances with another brilliant display on Saturday again even if it ended up in a two-point loss to Swan Districts. He couldn’t have done more, finishing with 30 touches, six inside 50s, five marks and three goals.
Times named in 2021: 3

He might have missed almost 12 months of football before getting back into the East Perth league side in Round 7 of this year, but he has taken no time showing his quality and doing what he can in the midfield to keep the Royals a competitive outfit. It was tough going against West Perth in Joondalup on Saturday, but it didn’t stop him giving his all and ending up with 31 touches, 12 inside-50 entries and eight marks.
Times named in 2021: 1

The reigning Sandover Medallist is having another impressive season in a strong Swan Districts midfield in 2021, and he was part of the hard earned thrilling win over the Eagles on Saturday. The prolific ball winner was outstanding for Swans with 28 possessions, seven marks, five inside-50 entries, four tackles and a goal.
Times named in 2021: 3

There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across NAIDOC Round but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:

East Fremantle's Cam Eardley, Blaine Boekhorst and Tom Bennett.

Peel Thunder's Michael Randall, Tyrone Thorne, Ben Hancock, James Sturrock, Taylin Duman, Jarvis Pina and Jackson Knight.

Subiaco's Hayden Kennedy, Angus Dewar, Max Walters and Drew Rohde.

Perth's Brady Grey, Austin Davis and Matthew Taylor.

West Perth's Mitch Antonio, Shane Nelson, Tristan Hobley, Matthew Lloyd, Noah Pegoraro and Mark Hamilton.

East Perth's Tom Edwards-Baldwin, Nick Robertson, Jackson Ramsay, Kye Willcocks, Rohan Kerr, Aidan Lynch, Nathan Blee and Angus Scott.

Swan Districts' Frank Anderson, Jackson Beck, Jesse Turner, Jiah Reidy, Chris Jones and Brandon Erceg.

West Coast's Jake Waterman, Connor West, Xavier O'Neill and Luke Foley.

South Fremantle's Ben Rioli, Haiden Schloithe, Jacob Dragovich and Tom Blechynden.

Callan England, Jared Hardisty, Ben Edwards, Jake Patmore and Ben Elliott.