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Grand Final | The Subiaco Premiership 22Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 1:20 PM - by Chris Pike

SUBIACO'S remarkable run of success continued in Saturday's 2021 WAFL Grand Final when the Lions beat South Fremantle by 44 points in a win full of merit as reward for their professionalism, dedication and disciplined approach.

It is a strange society where success is more often frowned upon and tried to be brought down and criticised with attempts to stop it continuing rather than celebrated and the on-going success at Subiaco highlights, but that is showing a disrespect to the work the Lions have put in that should be celebrated.

Subiaco's premiership triumph Saturday was all on the back of the Lions being the most professional club in the WAFL, having the most dedicated and committed playing group, and you would have to say being the best coached and best drilled squad.

There was nothing about this premiership that should be discredited. There was nothing about how Subiaco built this squad or went about a premiership season that was gifted to them, made easier for them or in any way saw them bend any rules or loopholes.

It's a premiership triumph full of merit and any attempts to try to bring it down with complaints of Subiaco being the dominant team in the WAFL should fall on deaf ears – it's up to the other clubs to rise to the level of the Lions because really they have no advantages over their rivals apart from the way they go about their business. 

The Subiaco zone isn’t the strongest, nor weakest, across the competition, there have already been restrictions put in place to limit their recruiting and they should be the benchmark that is celebrated for the elite nature of how they go about things. 

It should be up to the rest of the competition to attempt to rise to their level rather than find ways to bring the Lions down. 

After all in Saturday's Grand Final, you could certainly argue South Fremantle was the better team significantly for the first half despite the scoreboard and if the Bulldogs were at full strength with Ben Rioli, Dylan Main, Zac Dent, Brandon Donaldson, Blake Schlensog and Blayne Wilson who knows how the game would have turned out. 

Claremont would make the case they could have taken it up to the Lions had they been there too and West Perth would have liked their chances while Swan Districts had beaten Subiaco during 2021 too.

It wasn’t as though Subiaco was so far and away superior to the rest of the WAFL clubs in 2021. But the Lions were so strong defensively they were mighty tough to score against and then efficient enough to kick winning scores, they were just more disciplined and better drilled. 

Now let's take the chance to celebrate the 22 players that led Subiaco to fifth premiership in the past eight years, nine since 2003 and 16th overall.

1. LEIGH KITCHIN 

The captain could very well have had his best season since joining Subiaco back in 2014 throughout 2021 as he now becomes a premiership captain for the second time having taken over the job from Kyal Horsley. He had a slow start to the Grand Final but warmed to the task nicely in the second half to end the game with 15 possessions and five tackles to have played his role in the fourth flag of his career since moving west.

WAFL Games: 133
WAFL Premierships: 4 (2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)

2. KYLE STAINSBY

He is one of the locals to grab his opportunity firstly back in 2019 and then stood out to win the fairest and best in 2020, and continued on in 2021 to cement himself as one of the best small defenders in the competition. Had a brilliant Grand Final completely blanketing Cody Ninyette to go with nine possessions and seven tackles.

WAFL Games: 33
WAFL Premierships: 2 (2019, 2021)

3. HAYDEN KENNEDY

Is now a four-time premiership player and it's no coincidence that anytime he is out on the field, Subiaco looks a significantly better side. Injuries have kept him to just 91 career games to date, but he's now a four-time premiership player after a Grand Final that saw him start each quarter on the interchange but then come on to strengthen the back-line.

WAFL Games: 91
WAFL Premierships: 4 (2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)

7. HARRY MARSH 

Continues to have been a fine pick for Subiaco once he came back to WA after his time in the AFL at the Sydney Swans. Was Greg Clark's strongest rival for the Simpson Medal after getting better the longer the Grand Final went both in the midfield and forward to finish with 25 disposals, six inside 50s, five marks and three goals.

WAFL Games: 38
WAFL Premierships: 2 (2019, 2021)

8. ANGUS DEWAR

The former Hawthorn player was perhaps unlucky not to get a longer AFL career but that has been to Subiaco's benefit as he continues to be one of the standout WAFL defenders. On the back of a place in the WAFL Team of the Year, had a superb Grand Final down back both by shutting down Manfred Kelly or whoever he matched up with and then setting the Lions up with his powerful and effective right boot. One of the best afield with 20 possessions.

WAFL Games: 82
WAFL Premierships: 3 (2018, 2019, 2021)

9. MAX WALTERS

Outside the walls of the Subiaco Football Club he continues to fly under the radar but inside the club he is valued tremendously highly and he continues to deliver in spades on the field whether across half-forward or chopping out in the midfield. Is now a triple premiership player and made a good impact in the Grand Final again with 13 possessions, four tackles and three inside-50 entries.

WAFL Games: 80
WAFL Premierships: 3 (2018, 2019, 2021)

10. JACK MAYO

After winning the colts premiership at Subiaco in 2018, he was picked up mid-season in 2019 by St Kilda as an exciting forward prospect but a knee reconstruction midway through 2020 ruined his chance of an AFL debut. He has returned home this year, banged down the door late in the season for a league spot and earned his keep in the Grand Final with a goal to go with 10 possessions and 15 hit outs while helping out Lachlan Delahunty in the ruck.

WAFL Games: 6
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

12. GREG CLARK

Has turned himself from a handy versatile player to one of the most damaging and complete players in the competition in 2021. That was shown with his third placing in the Sandover Medal and then he backed up as the clear best on ground in the Grand Final to win the Simpson Medal. He injured a shoulder in the second quarter as well and came out strapped to start the second half, but blew the game open with two goals in the first five minutes as part of an overall game made up of 26 disposals, 14 tackles, six marks and those two goals.

WAFL Games: 93
WAFL Premierships: 3 (2018, 2019, 2021)

13. LIAM HICKMOTT

The older brother of former Geelong and Carlton half-forward, and long-time AFL assistant coach Adrian cemented himself as an important player in the Subiaco team of 2021 by doing some important run-with roles. Again in the Grand Final he went to Sandover Medallist Haiden Schloithe when he was on the ball for South Fremantle, and he did well to limit his influence to go with six disposals and seven tackles.

WAFL Games: 22
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

17. LACHLAN DELAHUNTY

What a journey it's been for the versatile and athletic big man since he joined Subiaco back in 2014. This year means that he has played in a Grand Final in seven of his eight WAFL seasons, and now won a remarkable five premierships and has been a centre piece in each of them. His bravery was on show this time around overcome significant lower leg injuries to still play and lead the ruck with 10 possessions, seven tackles and 20 hit outs.

WAFL Games: 129
WAFL Premierships: 5 (2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)

18. BEN SOKOL 

Is now a three-time premiership player at Subiaco with two of those Grand Final triumph coming up against South Fremantle where he began his career but ironically couldn’t nail down a regular league spot. Has now played 110 games for 236 goals and is a triple premiership winner, Simpson Medallist and Bernie Naylor Medallist. Had a good battle with old teammate Noah Strom and kicked a goal from seven kicks and six tackles.

WAFL Games: 110
WAFL Premierships: 3 (2018, 2019, 2021)

20. JAKOB ATKINSON

The 24-year-old had to fight hard late in the season to force his way into the Subiaco team for the finals and is rewarded now by becoming a premiership player for the first time. Is a handy versatile player for the Lions and he made a solid input to the Grand Final with eight possessions and six tackles. 

WAFL Games: 17
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

21. JORDAN LOCKYER

What a player he has turned out to be for Subiaco since returning from a brief AFL stint at the Sydney Swans. Has made Subiaco his home, has been the anchor of the defence for well over 100 games now and is a four-time premiership player as a result. Did a tremendous job in the Grand Final by shutting down South Fremantle captain Mason Shaw and had 12 disposals and six marks himself.

WAFL Games: 117
WAFL Premierships: 4 (2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)

25. MICHAEL BRAUT

He is now the enforcer of the Subiaco team and has settled into a role in the forward-line where just by his sheer presence and fierce attack on the contest he makes his teammates walk taller. Was willing to make a physical impact in the Grand Final again while also kicking the first goal of the game after a strong mark on the goal line. Finished with nine touches, three marks and three tackles.

WAFL Games: 51
WAFL Premierships: 2 (2019, 2021)

26. CHAD HARRIS

The hard running wingman has been a more than handy addition to the Subiaco team of 2021. Has been tremendously consistent all season long out on the wing and that continued on Saturday in his battle with reigning South Fremantle fairest and best winner Zac Strom. He finished with 19 possessions and four marks.

WAFL Games: 20
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

28. NICK MARTIN

Did well to hold on to his spot in the Subiaco team and his versatility to be able to play both in the forward-line and on the wing was important in him holding his place to now become a premiership player aged just 20. Started off opposed to Jake Florenca and had a good day for the Lions finishing with 14 possessions, four tackles and three entries inside the forward 50.

WAFL Games: 25
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

31. WIL HICKMOTT

Was likely leading the voting in the Simpson Medal by half-time having been instrumental in helping Subiaco head into half-time with a lead on the back of his two second quarter goals. Finished up one of the best players on the ground to cap his first full season of league football with 23 disposals and those two goals.

WAFL Games: 21
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

32. BRANDON MATERA

Was playing in the first finals series of his WAFL or AFL career on the back of his 144 games at the top level with the Gold Coast Suns and Fremantle Dockers. Has proven a match-winner at times this season with Subiaco but it wasn’t to be on Saturday as he lowered his colours to Toby McQuilkin. Still kicked a couple of goals to contribute and celebrate with his younger brother.

WAFL Games: 17
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

33. BAILEY MATERA

Is another former South Fremantle player who moved to Subiaco for more opportunities and has now won a premiership against his old side. Has been a handy small forward who can occasionally go up the field throughout 2021, has enjoyed playing with his older brother and while he didn’t really get into the Grand Final coming off the bench each quarter, he did enjoy kicking a goal early in the final term.

WAFL Games: 41
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)

35. DREW ROHDE

He experienced losing a Grand Final to Subiaco at West Perth back in 2015, took a break from the WAFL and then resurfaced at Subiaco in 2018 and is now a triple premiership player having played 110 games in total – 47 at the Falcons and now 63 with the Lions. Another steady performance defensively after starting on the interchange and ended the game with 10 possessions, three marks and two tackles.

WAFL Games: 110
WAFL Premierships: 3 (2018, 2019, 2021)

36. AARON HEAL

It's been an interesting season for the 29-year-old 127-game veteran. He started in an unfamiliar role playing forward for Subiaco but soon steadied back into his more familiar role in the defensive unit and his second half of the season was as good as he's played throughout his career. His reward is to now be a four-time premiership player and he was strong again with 13 touches, four tackles and three marks.

WAFL Games: 127
WAFL Premierships: 4 (2015, 2018, 2019, 2021)

53. BEN GOLDING

The baby of the premiership team for Subiaco is aged just 20 and only made his league debut in Round 19. But he laid 11 tackles in that debut performance and never looked back holding his place for the Grand Final which was just his fifth game. He will forever be a premiership player and had five possessions and five tackles for the game.

WAFL Games: 5
WAFL Premierships: 1 (2021)