THERE was again plenty of standout performers in Round 8 WAFL wins for Claremont, East Fremantle, Subiaco, Swan Districts and South Fremantle while even players from West Coast, West Perth, Perth, Peel Thunder and East Perth put their hands up for Team of the Week honours.
Round 8 got underway on Saturday at Claremont's Revo Fitness Stadium with Claremont stringing consecutive wins together overcoming a strengthened West Coast 13.10 (88) to 7.8 (50).
Then later on Saturday afternoon, Swan Districts returned to the top five at the expense of the team they defeated, Peel Thunder, 12.6 (78) to 11.8 (74) at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.
Subiaco then scored its third win of the season to stay in touch of the top five with a 12.9 (81) to 10.7 (67) victory against Perth at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park.
That all led into the WACA Ground hosting top spot going on the line between East Fremantle and West Perth, and it was the Sharks winning a nail-biter 13.12 (90) to 12.16 (88) against the Falcons.
The Round 8 action then wrapped up on Sunday afternoon at Leederville Oval with South Fremantle maintaining its hold on fourth position with the 8.9 (57) to 6.10 (46) win against East Perth.
There were once again plenty of big ball winners putting their hands up for spots in the Team of the Week in Round 8 including Bailey Rogers, Ryan Lim, Dom Sheed, Jesse Turner, Connor Blakely, Corey Byrne, Stefan Giro, Tom Bennett, Shane Nelson, Angus Scott and Angus Schumacher.
Other midfielders to deliver impressive performances included Haiden Schloithe, Tom Blechynden, Stan Wright, Jack Cooley, Aidan Lynch, Milan Murdock, Jackson McDonald, Liam Hickmott, Haydn Matthews, Mitch Crowden, Aidan Clarke, Sam Fisher, Ben Elliott and Declan Mountford.
Defenders Rhett Bazzo, Zane Sumich, Tobe Watson, Tyler Nesbitt, Michael Sinclair, Kasey Nicholas, Aaron Heal, Matthew Jupp, Jack Lewsey, Mark Hamilton, Zac Guadagnin, Corey Watts, Brad Fullgrabe, Noah Strom and Blake Schlensog all delivered strong showings as well in Round 8.
Attacking defenders Chad Pearson, Toby McQuilkin, Kye Willcocks, Blake Wilhelm, Cam Eardley, Drew Rohde, Jye Bolton and Lachlan Martinis were others to deliver impressive performances as well.
Some of the standout performances from forwards came from Max Spyvee, Ambrose Ryan, Chris Jones, Ryan Kemp, Guy Barnes, Ben Middleton, Kristian Cary, Ryan Borchet, Lachlan Vanirsen, Cody Leggett, Keegan Knott and Tom Medhat.
There were a few ruckmen putting their hands up for that spot in the Team of the Week too including Scott Jones, Lachlan Delahunty and Lloyd Meek.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND – MATTHEW JUPP (EAST FREMANTLE)
The timing couldn’t be better for East Fremantle captain Matthew Jupp to be in some of the best form of his career as part of the best Sharks team he's been part of and he's about to earn life membership of his club this coming weekend.
Jupp made his East Fremantle debut in 2013 with the Sharks coming off playing in the Grand Final of 2012 so he had every reason to expect to be part of some success.
However, 149 games into his career now and he has only played in two finals and they were both in 2014 with a first semi-final win against Swan Districts and heartbreaking preliminary final loss to Subiaco where the Sharks kicked 7.26 and lost by five points.
That was the closest Jupp has been to any success to East Fremantle, but that could be about to change with the Sharks now sitting on top of the WAFL ladder after Round 8 following Saturday's two-point win against West Perth at the WACA Ground.
Jupp spent the majority of the afternoon matched up with West Perth spearhead and reigning Bernie Naylor Medallist Tyler Keitel, and the pair had a good battle but the fact that Jupp helped keep Keitel goalless was a big factor in the result even if he had 20 touches and seven marks.
Jupp was outstanding once more leading East Fremantle from the front from full-back and finished the afternoon with 20 possessions and 10 marks.
It continued an outstanding run of form by the Sharks skipper with his team now sitting percentage clear on top of the ladder and it's going to be another big occasion for him on Saturday when Claremont is the opponents at the WACA Ground.
The 28-year-old will be playing his 150th game for East Fremantle to see him earn life membership at the Sharks.
Players of the Round
Round 1 – Jake Florenca (South Fremantle)
Round 2 – Ryan Lim (Claremont)
Round 3 – Luke Meadows (West Perth)
Round 4 – Jesse Turner (Swan Districts)
Round 5 – Leigh Kitchin (Subiaco)
Round 6 – Blair Bell (Peel Thunder)
Round 7 – Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Round 8 – Matthew Jupp (East Fremantle)
WAFL TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 8
BACK: Tyler Nesbitt (PT), Matthew Jupp (EF), Corey Watts (EP)
HALF-BACK: Jye Bolton (C), Mark Hamilton (WP), Toby McQuilkin (SF)
CENTRE: Stefan Giro (S), Bailey Rogers (C), Jesse Turner (SD)
HALF-FORWARD: Sam Fisher (SD), Ryan Borchet (S), Liam Hickmott (S)
FORWARD: Keegan Knott (WP), Chris Jones (SD), Cody Leggett (EF)
RUCK: Lachlan Delahunty (S), Connor Blakely (PT), Corey Byrne (P)
INTERCHANGE: Dom Sheed (WCE), Angus Scott (EP), Tom Bennett (EF), Blake Wilhelm (WP)
BACK POCKET – TYLER NESBITT (Peel Thunder)
The Peel defender was given the job of trying to shut down the dangerous Jesse Palmer who had kicked six goals the previous two weeks for Swan Districts. He did an outstanding job holding Palmer to just one goal and six kicks for the day while having five kicks and three tackles himself in the eighth game of his WAFL career.
BACK POCKET – COREY WATTS (East Perth)
He is becoming an important and versatile member of the East Perth team now that he's 24 games into his WAFL career. He has spent a bit of time trying to play as a forward target this season out of necessity, but he was in his familiar role as a key defender on Sunday and locked in on Jimmy Miller impressively while having 15 disposals and seven marks himself.
HALF-BACK FLANK – JYE BOLTON (Claremont)
Whether he is playing off half-back setting up play or in his usual midfield role, the remarkably decorated star of 116 games now with Claremont had another significant impact in Saturday's win against West Coast. He finished with 29 possessions, seven inside 50s and an impressive goal.
CENTRE HALF-BACK – MARK HAMILTON (West Perth)
The experienced West Perth key defender is now 104 games into his WAFL career with the Falcons and is a rock down back for the Falcons. Did well against the dangerous Jonathon Marsh on Saturday limiting him to 12 kicks and one behind while he had eight touches, three marks and two tackles himself.
HALF-BACK FLANK – TOBY MCQUILKIN (South Fremantle)
Had a breakout finish to the 2021 season for South Fremantle including being named his team's Player of the Finals and now has stepped up another level further in 2022. Produced a dazzling performance out of the back-line in Sunday's win against East Perth finishing with 42 touches and 11 marks.
WING – JESSE TURNER (Swan Districts)
The Swan Districts co-captain continued the most impressive run of form in his 109-game career with another standout performance in Saturday's last gasp win against Peel Thunder. He reached 40 possessions for the first time in his career to go with eight tackles, four marks and four inside-50 entries.
CENTRE – BAILEY ROGERS (Claremont)
The reigning Sandover Medallist is right back at the peak of his powers now during the 2022 season with Claremont. It might remain a surprise that he hasn’t been given an AFL opportunity given the all-round package he offers, but that's to the Tigers' benefit. He finished with 35 touches, six inside 50s, three marks, three tackles and a brilliant goal from 60m in the last quarter against the Eagles.
WING – STEFAN GIRO (Subiaco)
The former Fremantle listed AFL wingman is settling nicely into life at Subiaco this season and was once again instrumental in the win against Perth on Saturday to keep the Lions in touch for a finals spot. He finished the afternoon with 34 touches, seven inside 50s, five marks, three tackles and a goal.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – SAM FISHER (Swan Districts)
The 2020 Sandover Medal winner continues to show that he's right back to the form in the midfield for Swan Districts that saw him win the award two years ago. Now in his third season with Swans, he's proving a prime on-baller but also showing himself dangerous going forward and on Saturday against Peel he had 27 disposals, five tackles, four marks, four inside 50s and two goals.
CENTRE HALF-FORWARD – RYAN BORCHET (Subiaco)
The Subiaco key forward is finding some consistency now to go with the potential he has always shown, and that's what you would expect now 42 games into his WAFL career. Kicked another three goals from 10 kicks and six marks in Saturday's win against Perth to have now kicked seven goals the last two weeks, and 11 over the past four.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – LIAM HICKMOTT (Subiaco)
On the back of being a key player in Subiaco's premiership last year, he has taken the next step with his football so far in 2022 to become one of the Lions' more important and consistent performers. Stepped up impressively again in Saturday's win against Perth with 27 disposals, eight tackles and a goal.
FORWARD POCKET – KEEGAN KNOTT (West Perth)
He has consolidated himself as the best small forward in the competition and was at his lively, creative and dangerous best on Saturday. Had a good battle with East Fremantle's Matthew Burton and he ended up with nine shots on goal from his 11 kicks for the day. He kicked 4.5 from those attempts so he might have liked to take his chances a little better, but he was still impressive to create those opportunities and his 21 goals for the season has him leading the Bernie Naylor Medal race.
FULL-FORWARD – CHRIS JONES (Swan Districts)
In his first WAFL season in 2021 he proved himself a tremendous defender with his intercept marking a highlight, but Swans were desperate for a marking option in attack and that's where he has now settled in 2022. He proved his worth by not only kicking the last two goals in the win against Peel but finished the day with five majors from 10 kicks and seven strong marks.
FORWARD POCKET – CODY LEGGETT (East Fremantle)
East Fremantle's forward-line coming into 2022 looks likely to consist of Hugh Dixon, Dillon O'Reilly and even with Luke Strnadica resting there at times. None of those are out there right now but Jonathon Marsh has been stepping up and now so has he. Having proven himself previously as capable of kicking a bag of goals having kicked seven for Perth, he stepped up to deliver five goals in the Sharks' win against West Perth including a stunner from the boundary in the third quarter.
RUCK – LACHLAN DELAHUNTY (Subiaco)
He has won five premierships, played six State games and has nothing left to prove 137 games into his WAFL career with Subiaco, but he continues to give his all and battle tirelessly in the ruck for the Lions. He might be undersized but what he does at ground level sets him apart and he was a match-winner against Perth with 30 touches, 21 hit outs, seven marks and a goal.
RUCK ROVER – CONNOR BLAKELY (Peel Thunder)
It might be a difficult Fremantle midfield to break into right now at AFL level especially with the return of Nat Fyfe, but he is in form to be ready to go should a call up come his way. Was brilliant in the midfield in Saturday's narrow loss to his original WAFL club, Swan Districts, delivering 38 touches, seven marks and seven entries inside-50.
ROVER – COREY BYRNE (Perth)
The reigning Perth fairest and best winner must feel like he's battling against the tide so often with rival teams batting deeper with the quality of players in the midfield, but he never lets it bother him and continues to do everything he can to lead the Demons. Is now 76 games into his career and delivered 36 touches, six marks and six inside 50s against Subiaco.
INTERCHANGE – DOM SHEED (West Coast Eagles)
The AFL premiership midfielder showed that he's ready for a call up with the Eagles after a strong performance in the midfield for the WAFL team against Claremont on Saturday. He ended up with 34 possessions along with six marks and four entries inside the forward 50.
INTERCHANGE – ANGUS SCOTT (East Perth)
He used the occasion of his 50th WAFL appearance for East Perth to produce a career-best performance despite the loss on Sunday to South Fremantle. He finished the afternoon at Leederville Oval with 40 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and three inside 50s.
INTERCHANGE – TOM BENNETT (East Fremantle)
The East Fremantle midfield also isn’t at full strength at the moment despite Saturday's win against West Perth putting them back on top of the ladder. He stood up impressively against the strong Falcons' on-ball brigade to finish the afternoon with 27 possessions, seven marks and seven inside-50 entries to lead the charge.
INTERCHANGE – BLAKE WILHELM (West Perth)
The attacking West Perth defender is now a veteran of 116 games and continues to be a key component of the Falcons getting run and drive off the half-back line. He produced another strong performance on Saturday against East Fremantle with 25 touches and seven marks.
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 8 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:
Claremont's Ryan Lim, Lachlan Martinis, Ben Elliott, Declan Mountford, Max Spyvee and Jack Lewsey.
West Coast's Ambrose Ryan, Luke Foley, Rhett Bazzo, Zane Sumich, Harrey Creasey and Ethan Hansen.
Swan Districts' Aidan Clarke, Josh Cipro, Tobe Watson and Ryan Kemp.
Peel Thunder's Ben Middleton, Guy Barnes, Haydn Matthews, Mitch Crowden, Lloyd Meek and Liam Henry.
Perth's Kristian Cary, Michael Sinclair, Regan Clarke, Jack Avery and Kasey Nicholas.
Subiaco's Lachlan Vanirsen, Wil Hickmott, Aaron Heal, Chad Harris and Drew Rohde.
East Fremantle's Cam Eardley, Milan Murdock, Jackson McDonald and Michael Tassone.
West Perth's Zac Guadagnin, Shane Nelson and Aidan Lynch.
East Perth's Tom Medhat, Angus Schumacher, Stan Wright, Jack Cooley, Kye Willcocks, Scott Jones and Brad Fullgrabe.
South Fremantle's Haiden Schloithe, Tom Blechynden, Glenn Byron, Steve Verrier, Zac Strom, Blake Schlensog, Chad Pearson and Noah Strom.