SUBIACO has added another premiership to its amazing run of recent success putting together a dominant second half showing to overcome South Fremantle at Optus Stadium in the 2021 Grand Final.
The final scoreline of a 13.7 (85) to 5.11 (41) victory to Subiaco in front of 29,879 fans at Optus Stadium on Saturday a week after the AFL Grand Final was at the same venue doesn’t come close to telling the story of what a hotly contested and physical decider it was for most of the day.
South Fremantle took it right up to Subiaco in the second half and were dominating the contest by the half-time break in terms of inside-50 entries, clearances and even by having more scoring shots.
However, the Bulldogs still found themselves nine points down at the major break and having had a tough run through the finals to just get to a third successive Grand Final, they ran out of gas and the Lions ran rampant in the second half.
Subiaco kicked the first six goals of the second half to secure the premiership triumph and it was Simpson Medallist Greg Clark who got the ball rolling with two goals in the first five minutes of the second half.
He would end up with 10 possessions and the two goals in the third quarter alone and with plenty of teammates along for the ride with him, Subiaco couldn’t be denied winning a fifth premiership in the past eight years and ninth since 2003.
The triumph means that Lachlan Delahunty is now a five-time premiership player with Subiaco while captain Leigh Kitchin, Hayden Kennedy, Jordan Lockyer and Aaron Heal all celebrate a fourth premiership medal.
Angus Dewar, Max Walters, Greg Clark, Ben Sokol and Drew Rohde became triple premiership players and Michael Braut, Harry Marsh and Kyle Stainsby won a second flag.
It was a first premiership for Jack Mayo, Liam Hickmott, Wil Hickmott, Jacob Atkinson, Chad Harris, Nick Martin and Ben Golding.
While Clark was the Simpson Medallist with 26 possessions, 14 tackles and two goals, plenty of Subiaco players ended up starring in the win.
Marsh kicked three goals to go with 25 possessions while Wil Hickmott had 23 touches and two goals.
Subiaco's defence has been remarkable all year and once again stood tall in a Grand Final holding their opponents to 41 points. Dewar was brilliant with 20 possessions while Lockyer shut down Mason Shaw and Stainsby blanketed Cody Ninyette.
Just to further rub the pain into South Fremantle's wounds, Sokol and the Matera brothers are all former Bulldogs players with the Lions having now won seven straight finals over the Bulldogs including the 2019 and 2021 Grand Finals.
Toby McQuilkin was the breakout star of the Grand Final for South Fremantle. He did a tremendous defensive job on Brandon Matera and had 20 possessions to wrap up his first year of league football.
George Wessels is another who might not have played had it not been for South Fremantle missing injured stars Dylan Main, Brandon Donaldson, Ben Rioli, Zac Dent, Blake Schlensog and Blayne Wilson. But he had an impressive Grand Final with 19 touches and seven tackles.
Tom Blechynden also finished with 19 possessions, Jacob Dragovich 17, Glenn Byron 17, Jason Maskos 17 and perhaps most impressive of all, Brock Higgins in the ruck with 17 to go with 41 hit outs, four tackles and three inside-50 entries.
Subiaco made the perfect start to the Grand Final with Michael Braut taking a strong mark on the goal line and then snapping truly from a tight angle, but South Fremantle went on to dominate much of general play.
The Bulldogs were dominating possession, clearances and the inside-50 count but couldn’t take advantage with the Lions getting the second goal of the Grand Final too through Harry Marsh.
Eventually South Fremantle got some reward for effort with a goal to stand-in captain Mason Shaw and the Bulldogs had 14 to eight inside-50 entries for the opening term and more scoring shots but still the Lions led by four points.
It was more of the same throughout the second quarter with the Bulldogs putting in a power of work to be on top around the ground but still Subiaco kicked the first goal of the term through Wil Hickmott.
The Bulldogs got one back through 17-year-old Jesse Motlop who grabbed his moment and then Travis Abbott took a strong pack mark and went back to kick truly.
That put South Fremantle in front midway through the quarter but Subiaco steadied the ship to kick a couple of goals through Wil Hickmott and Brandon Matera to go into half-time with a nine-point edge despite the Bulldogs having a lot of the run of play.
The start to the third quarter was always going to be key to the Grand Final and South Fremantle's Nick Suban came out on a mission to ruffle the feathers of Subiaco on-baller Greg Clark, but it backfired spectacularly.
Clark kicked two goals in the first five minutes including a bomb from outside 50 after a strong tackle from Suban on Lachlan Delahunty.
Jack Mayo and Ben Sokol went on to put daggers into South Fremantle before three quarter-time and the Lions had kept the Bulldogs scoreless to be in control heading into the last term with the 35-point lead.
Brothers Brandon and Bailey Matera kicked a goal each to open the last quarter and it was party time for Subiaco. Both teams shared a couple of goals each but the result was decided and Subiaco remained the powerhouse of the WAFL competition.
OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – FINALS SERIES
SUBIACO 2.2 5.4 9.6 13.7 (85)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.4 3.7 3.7 5.11 (41)
SUBIACO: Goals – Marsh 3; Clark, W Hickmott, Br Matera 2; Mayo, Sokol, Braut, Ba Matera.
Best – Clark, Marsh, W Hickmott, Dewar, Stainsby, Harris, Lockyer.
SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Blechynden, Hall, Shaw, Abbott, Motlop.
Best – Higgins, McQuilkin, Wessels, Blechynden, Dragovich, Suban.
Simpson Medal: Greg Clark (Subiaco).