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WAFL Team of Round 18Wednesday, August 11, 2021 - 7:35 AM - by Chris Pike

PLENTY might have been sorted in Round 18 of the WAFL season with Subiaco and South Fremantle moving clear on top of the ladder while Swan Districts shut the gate on East Perth who kept on winning at the same time.

There were four games played on Saturday for Round 18 of the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season and by the end of it, Subiaco was a game clear on top, South Fremantle a game clear in second, and Swan Districts had secured their return to finals action.

All eyes were on Revo Fitness Stadium as Claremont hosted Subiaco on Saturday with the Lions attempting to move further clear in top spot while the Tigers wanted to stay in touch with them, and a top two finish.

Claremont made a flying start and led virtually the whole game until Ben Sokol kicked his sixth goal late in the piece to give Subiaco the lead, and the Lions went on to win 14.9 (93) to 13.10 (88).

Along with the six goals for Sokol, Nick Martin kicked three for Subiaco and Greg Clark racked up another 30 possessions. Bailey Rogers had 28 possessions for Claremont and Kane Mitchell 28 while Jake Patmore Timm House kicked three goals.

Swan Districts then secured their first finals appearance since 2017 by beating Peel Thunder 14.15 (99) to 7.5 (47) at Steel Blue Oval.

Brayden Noble kicked three goals for Swans with Aidan Clarke racking up 32 possessions, Frank Anderson 30 and Jesse Turner 29. Tyrone Thorne stood out for the Thunder with 33 possessions and nine tackles.

East Perth continued its impressive run of form even if it's not going to be enough for a finals berth with a strong 9.12 (66) to 5.11 (41) victory against Perth at Leederville Oval.

Tom Edwards-Baldwin kicked three goals for East Perth with Aidan Lynch gathering 32 disposals, Angus Schumacher 27 and Harley Sparks 24. Andrew Fisher gathered 25 possessions for Perth, Conor McPartland 23 and Brent Edmonds 23.

South Fremantle made it 12 straight derby wins and continued to assert its dominance the longer Saturday's game went at Fremantle Community Bank Oval to end up beating East Fremantle 19.9 (123) to 9.8 (62).

The Bulldogs moved a game clear in second position as a result with Brandon Donaldson kicking five goals, Mason Shaw four and Cody Ninyette three. Jonathon Marsh and Corey Holmes kicked two goals each for East Fremantle.

He made the move from West Perth to arch-rivals East Perth for more midfield opportunities and he continues to take full advantage of that as a leader on the ball for the Royals.

The now 26-year-old had to patiently do a significant apprenticeship at West Perth largely because of the presence of Shane Nelson and Aaron Black there in the midfield for the Falcons.

He racked up 70 games in the reserves at West Perth between 2013 and 2019 on the back of coming through the development ranks and then playing colts football with the Falcons in 2011 and 2012.

All the way through he showed his ability to be not only a prolific ball winner, but a ferocious tackler and someone with a love of the physical contest and winning the ball in tight, but he could just never quite get that regular spot on the ball at West Perth that his talent and abilities deserved.

Lynch decided to take a year off WAFL football altogether in 2018 but returned to West Perth in 2019. He didn’t get the increased opportunities he hoped playing just the 14 games in the league so at the end of the season, he made the big call to change clubs.

Given he had spent his whole life at West Perth and his younger brother Conal was still there and making his way at league level, he made the biggest call possible by joining arch-rivals East Perth ahead of the 2020 WAFL season.

Lynch had previously prided himself in stepping up big time in derbies against East Perth on 11 times while with West Perth but he did only play in four wins for the Falcons so he quickly threw himself into life in the black-and-blue.

He became a key part of the East Perth on-ball brigade in the shortened and delayed 2020 season, and now he has put together a tremendous 2021.

He has done so alongside the likes of Jackson Ramsay, Angus Schumacher and Christian Ameduri with Angus Scott and another former Falcon Rohan Kerr outside them, and Scott Jones a strong force as ruckman.

Lynch is now a 94-game WAFL veteran and while he would rightfully feel a big chunk of those 70 reserves games could have been at league level too, he is showing his full array of abilities now in the midfield at East Perth.

He was outstanding once again in Saturday's win against Perth finishing with 32 possessions, 10 marks, six tackles, four entries inside the forward 50 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)
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)
Round 15 – Angus Schumacher (East Perth)
Round 16 – Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Round 17 – Brandon Matera (Subiaco)
Round 18 – Aidan Lynch (East Perth)

The 156-game veteran is playing as well and as consistently now in the East Perth back-line as at any point in his career that started back in 2011 before a two year stint at Port Adelaide, and ever since returning. Was rock solid was again in Saturday's win against Perth to finish with 20 possessions, two marks and two tackles.
Times named in 2021: 2

It was a big task for East Fremantle's back-line to try to keep South Fremantle's key forward in check who had combined for 14 goals the week before. He was given the task on Blake Schlensog and did tremendously limiting him five kicks, two marks and one goal to limit his impact on the game. The Sharks were just unlucky they didn’t have three of him to cut down the influence of South Fremantle's other forward options.
Times named in 2021: 5

Subiaco's defence has been remarkable this season giving up an average of just 57.3 points a game. While Claremont managed to score a bit more than that with their 14 goals, the Lions back-line still had an overall good day and he was the pick of the bunch alongside Jordan Lockyer, Angus Dewar and the returning Hayden Kennedy. As well as his defensive work, finished with 12 possessions, six marks, four inside 50s and two tackles.
Times named in 2021: 3

It has been quite the challenging season for Perth just in terms of personnel and the Demons continue to be virtually missing a whole team through injury, but he has been one shining light in 2021. Has been a consistent performer right through the season and finished with another 25 possessions, seven marks and five inside 50s in Saturday's loss to East Perth.
Times named in 2021: 2

He was playing the 260th game of his remarkable career and is showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down. It felt like every time Peel Thunder kicked a high ball into attack on Saturday that either he, Chris Jones or Alex Howard took an intercept mark. He was the star of the defensive performance in the win that guarantees a finals return with 18 possessions and eight marks.
Times named in 2021: 3

Claremont's back-line looks significantly different now in terms of personnel to what they would have been envisioning coming into 2021, but they are standing up well and the former Fremantle-listed utility is finding form as his fitness improves. Lachlan Martinis went down early in the game against Subiaco as another blow, but he had a strong game and had 19 disposals and three tackles.
Times named in 2021: 1

He might be small in stature but not on spirit and fighting qualities, and despite the Thunder being horribly undermanned right now, he is giving his all to try and keep them as competitive as possible. He produced a tremendous all-round showing on Saturday against Swan Districts with 33 disposals, nine tackles and five marks.
Times named in 2021: 4

He cemented a spot in the South Fremantle team in 2020 mostly as a wingman or at half-forward to become a premiership player, but now throughout 2021 he has moved onto the ball and continues to thrive. He is making the most of the chance and repaying the faith of coach Todd Curley and produced another 25 possessions, nine tackles, five inside-50 entries and three marks in Saturday's big derby win.
Times named in 2021: 2

In the space of 12 months he has transformed from a good, solid player at Subiaco into one of the truly elite players in the competition. He has is having a brilliant season at such a consistently high level and he is a big part why the Lions are clear on top of the ladder and he must be a real Sandover Medal fancy. Had another 30 touches, 12 tackles, six inside 50s and five marks against Claremont.
Times named in 2021: 9

He is one player to have emerged from handy fringe player to an impressive, damaging league regular in 2021 and he is producing plenty of good football with his damaging foot skills and physical approach. Produced another impressive display against the Thunder with 32 possessions, seven marks, seven inside 50s and two goals.
Times named in 2021: 2

He has had to be the main forward target at Swan Districts without much support for several seasons now, and has done his best to at least give a contest and bring the ball to ground more often than not. But he started against Peel on fire on Saturday and ended the day with three goals from six shots on goal to go with 11 possessions, eight marks and three tackles.
Times named in 2021: 1

The dual premiership winner who won a Sandover Medal as well prior to his AFL career with Port Adelaide appeared hard done by, at least from the outside, to find himself in the reserves over the past month. But he returned against Subiaco and showed his quality for Claremont with 26 possessions and 11 tackles, but he now has been suspended for two weeks and will be sorely missed by the Tigers.
Times named in 2021: 3

The premiership player, Bernie Naylor Medal winner and Simpson Medallist turned match-winner once again for Subiaco against Claremont on Saturday. The Lions trailed all day but he kicked the last two goals of the game to snatch the win to finish with six for the afternoon from 10 kicks and eight marks.
Times named in 2021: 4

He continues to spend a lot of this season as South Fremantle captain with Dylan Main sidelined with a foot complaint and he stood tall once again the 12th consecutive derby win for the Bulldogs. He kicked four goals from six kicks and five marks to give him 43 goals in 14 matches this season, and 264 overall in his 114 WAFL career.
Times named in 2021: 5

Had the best day of his career in terms of goal kicking in Saturday's 61-point derby win for the Bulldogs against the Sharks. South Fremantle's forward-line remains potent and he gave another option by kicking five goals from 19 touches and six marks. It's the first time in his 76-game career he has kicked five goals having kicked four on two previous occasions.
Times named in 2021: 2

The East Perth big man put in a dominant showing in the ruck for the Royals on Saturday to be instrumental in setting up the midfield in the win over Perth. He has plenty of talented on-ballers around him and he continues to give them good service and put up another 16 disposals, 33 hit outs, five marks, four tackles and a goal against the Demons.
Times named in 2021: 2

He is in his second season with Swan Districts having come across from the VFL and not only is he standing out in the Swans midfield and proving a true match-winner, but he has to be firming as a real Sandover Medal prospect. Was brilliant again in win against Peel with 30 disposals, 11 tackles, five inside-50 entries and two goals.
Times named in 2021: 7

Continued his outstanding form in what is becoming quite the impressive East Perth midfield brigade. The Royals might be falling short of finals this year, but that midfield group could take them a long way if they stick together in 2022. He was tremendous again in the win against Perth with 27 possessions, seven marks, three inside 50s and a goal.
Times named in 2021: 3

He is now a 97-game veteran with Swan Districts and well and truly cemented himself as a tremendously consistent and damaging midfielder. He is having a tremendous 2021 season and is a big reason why Swans will be playing finals for the first time since 2017, and on Saturday against Peel he produced another standout performance of 29 touches, seven tackles, six marks, four inside-50 entries and a goal.
Times named in 2021: 3

What a fascinating battle the young ruckman had up against Sandover Medallist Lachlan Delahunty from Subiaco. It was just the fourth game of his league career having arrived at Claremont in 2021, and he had a dominant first half and impressive all-round game even though Delahunty had a big impact for Subiaco too. The 20-year-old finished with 18 possessions, four marks, 28 hit outs and eight entries inside the forward 50.
Times named in 2021: 1

The young son of former Geelong and Carlton half-forward star Adrian is finding his feet impressively at league level along with twin brother Wil, and he was given the challenge of running with the red hot Jye Bolton on Saturday from Claremont. He put the clamps on him impressively holding Bolton to 11 possessions, six tackles and a goal while having 10 disposals and six tackles himself. But shutting down Bolton's influence was huge for the Lions.
Times named in 2021: 1

There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 18 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Week, including:

South Fremantle's Cody Ninyette, George Wessels, Nick Suban, Zac Strom, Manfred Kelly and Noah Strom.

East Fremantle's Kyle Baskerville, Luke English, Cam Eardley and Ryan Lester-Smith.

East Perth's Tom Edwards-Baldwin, Harley Sparks, Rohan Kerr, Angus Scott, Nathan Eaton and Kye Willcocks.

Perth's Conor McPartland, Brent Edmonds, Corey Byrne, Jack Avery, Matthew Taylor, Austin Davis and Sam Perkusich.

Swan Districts' Sam Fisher, Jesse Palmer, Josh Cipro, Chris Jones and Jak Watson.

Peel Thunder's James Sturrock, Michael Randall and Blair Bell.

Claremont's Timm House, Alex Manuel, Bailey Rogers, Max Spyvee and Jack Lewsey.

Subiaco's Nick Martin, Lachlan Delahunty, Leigh Kitchin, Chad Harris and Hayden Kennedy.