EAST Fremantle has now won all 15 of its WAFLW matches in 2022 to be the first team into the Grand Final while Claremont and Swan Districts will now fight over the right to take them on in the decider.
The WAFLW finals series for 2022 got underway on Sunday afternoon in two tight and tense match ups between four quality teams with five points the margin in the end in both contests.
By the end of the afternoon, East Fremantle was into the Grand Final, Claremont would use its second chance to host the preliminary final, Swan Districts stayed alive and the quest for a third straight premiership for Peel Thunder was over.
The first semi-final was a cut-throat affair on Sunday afternoon at Mandurah's Lane Group Stadium and it was Swan Districts who prevailed 5.4 (34) to 4.5 (29) against Peel Thunder after leading all afternoon.
The second semi-final then took place at New Choice Homes Park and East Fremantle maintained its undefeated 2022 season but it was hard earned in the eventual 2.2 (14) to 1.3 (9) victory against Claremont with the Sharks kicking the only two goals after half-time.
What that means is that East Fremantle is straight into the Grand Final while Claremont will host Swan Districts in Sunday's preliminary final and the season is over for Peel Thunder.
Meanwhile in the WAFLW Reserves, Swan Districts kept its season alive in the first semi-final by beating Subiaco 7.13 (55) to 1.2 (8) at Lane Group Stadium.
East Fremantle advanced straight to the Reserves Grand Final as well with the 4.5 (29) to 3.2 (20) win against Claremont at New Choice Homes Park.
With the Sharks into the Grand Final, Claremont and Swan Districts will also battle in Sunday's preliminary final at Revo Fitness Stadium.
And in the Youth Girls Rogers Cup on Sunday, South Fremantle advanced to the preliminary final by beating Claremont 9.6 (60) to 7.7 (49) at Lane Group Stadium.
East Fremantle ensured it was straight into the Grand Final in all three grades by beating East Fremantle 11.9 (75) to 2.1 (13) at New Choice Homes Park.
Peel Thunder and South Fremantle will now face off in Sunday's Rogers Cup preliminary final.
WAFLW FINALS SERIES – SEMI FINALS
FIRST SEMI FINAL
PEEL THUNDER 4.5 (29) lost to SWAN DISTRICTS 5.4 (34)
Swan Districts earned a measure of revenge on Peel Thunder to keep their season alive on the back of a five-point first semi-final win at Lane Group Stadium on Sunday.
It has been quite the rivalry between the two teams developed over the last 12 months especially which culminated in Peel making it back-to-back premierships by winning last year's Grand Final against Swan Districts.
Peel was the only team to beat Swans in all of the 2021 season and then the Thunder earned hosting rights for Sunday's first semi-final with a win against Swan Districts back in Round 16.
However, Swans came out strongly in Mandurah on Sunday with the only two goals of the first quarter.
They managed to convert that into the eventual 5.4 (34) to 4.5 (29) victory to move into this Sunday's preliminary final while the season is over for Peel on the back of winning the 2020 and 2021 WAFLW premierships.
The seasons of Peel and Swan Districts went on the line in the first semi-final on Sunday featuring two teams who know each other so well, and it was Swans who started well with a goal after just two minutes to Jaime Henry.
Ashley Sharp then added a second just before quarter-time and the black-and-whites took an 11-point lead into the first change.
Peel managed to kick its first goal of the contest seven minutes into the second quarter thanks to Chloe Wrigley and then Kira Phillips also kicked truly to put the home team in front.
Swans responded impressively, though, with the next two goals through Jorjina Kean and Sharp to be back out to a 10-point advantage before Peel pulled that back to four by half-time with a late second quarter major from Phillips.
Swan Districts again opened the second half strongly with a goal to Courtney Zappara and the lead was soon 11 points once more, but the Thunder responded soon after with a goal to Jorja Haines.
However, there wouldn’t be another goal in the game with Swans kicking three behinds to end the third quarter, and then the Thunder scored the only three points of the last term.
That saw Swan Districts hold on for the 5.4 (34) to 4.5 (29) victory in Mandurah to advance to the preliminary final and end the hat-trick premiership dreams of the Thunder in the process.
Ashley Sharp kicked two goals from her five kicks in the win for Swan Districts with goals for the black-and-whites also to Courtney Zappara, Jorjina Kean and Jaime Henry.
Abbygail Bushby continued her standout form this season for Swan Districts with another 18 possessions to go with six tackles, four marks and four inside-50 entries.
Ruby Mahony also finished with 15 touches for Swans, Jorjina Kean 15, Natalie House 15, Jaime Henry 15, Naomi Baker 15 and Taylah Edwards 14 while Aimee Ralph had 11 to go with 18 hit outs and 10 tackles.
Kira Phillips kicked two goals for Peel from her seven kicks and two marks with Chloe Wrigley and Jorja Haines the other goalkickers.
Sabreena Duffy was back in the line-up for Peel for just her second game of the season and finished with 26 possessions and eight tackles.
Ella Roberts also gathered 24 disposals for the Thunder, Ebony Dowson 20, Jaide Britton 17, Gracie Fenton 16 and Chloe Wrigley 15 to go with eight tackles and her goal.
SECOND SEMI FINAL
EAST FREMANTLE 2.2 (14) defeated CLAREMONT 1.3 (9)
The first spot in the WAFLW Grand Final went on the line at New Choice Homes Park on Sunday with East Fremantle kicking the only two goals of the second half to overcome Claremont by five points.
While the Sharks went through the WAFLW season undefeated winning all 14 of their matches to secure the minor premiership and earn the rights to host the second semi-final on Sunday, Claremont had been tremendous right throughout 2022 as well.
The Tigers were up for the challenge too and were able to hold the Sharks completely scoreless for the entire first half.
That meant the Sharks had to respond to keep their unbeaten run going and they were able to do just that with two goals in the second half and just the one behind from Claremont to win 2.2 (14) to 1.3 (9).
The result means that East Fremantle earns the week off to move straight into the Grand Final while the Tigers will host the preliminary final on Sunday against Swan Districts.
East Fremantle Oval is famous for being a challenging ground to play on especially when the winter weather is bringing about some challenging windy conditions, and Sunday was no different for the second semi-final match up.
That made it a tight and tense match up between the Sharks and Tigers as they fought over a Grand Final spot and neither team managed to score the entire first quarter.
In fact, East Fremantle didn’t score at all in the first half and after going through the entire home and away season undefeated, that streak was in serious jeopardy.
Claremont kicked the only goal of the first half thanks to Ella Slocombe at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter and the Tigers held an eight-point advantage heading into the half-time break at Shark Park.
East Fremantle's unbeaten record was well and truly on the line coming into the second half but the Sharks responded impressively in the third quarter.
In challenging conditions, East Fremantle managed to kick their only two goals of the game in the third quarter with the first coming from Samara Pluschke at the seven-minute mark and a second from Anjelique Raison at the 16-minute mark.
That saw the Sharks grab a four-point lead going into the last quarter and East Fremantle would go on to hold Claremont to one point the entire second half to claim the hard earned 2.2 (14) to 1.3 (9) victory to advance straight to the Grand Final with 15 straight wins.
East Fremantle's goals in the win came courtesy of Samara Pluschke and Anjelique Raison.
Sharon Wong continued her terrific form for East Fremantle with another 20 possessions and 11 tackles in the win to earn them the week off before the Grand Final.
Zipporah Fish also had 25 disposals, eight tackles and six marks for East Fremantle with Amber Kinnane contributing 14 touches, Pluschke 14, Ashlee Atkins 13, Beth Beckett 12, Jae Flynn 12 and Larissa Versaci 11 to go with nine tackles.
Laura Catherine finished with 27 hit outs in the ruck to go with five possessions.
Claremont's lone goal in the game was kicked by Ella Slocombe.
Madeleine Scanlon ended the afternoon for Claremont with 27 possessions to go with five marks, five tackles and four entries inside the forward 50.
Jasmin Stewart also gathered 24 touches for the Tigers, Kate Orme 21, Brooke Hongell 14 and Sarah Garstone 13 along with six tackles.