IT was quite the dramatic and defining Saturday afternoon of WAFL action for Round 15 of the 2022 season with Claremont and Peel Thunder rising up the ladder, East Fremantle bouncing back emphatically and then South Fremantle and West Perth unable to be separated.
With West Coast and Subiaco having a bye in Round 15 of the 2022 WAFL season, the other eight teams took part in four matches on Saturday afternoon.
In the end, the Bulldogs and Falcons played out a dramatic draw while East Fremantle hammered Perth, Peel won big over East Perth, the Sharks did the same against the Demons, and the Tigers won a crucial match up at home to Swan Districts.
All four Round 15 WAFL matches took place on Saturday afternoon with Claremont improving to third position as a result of a 10.12 (72) to 9.9 (63) win against Swan Districts who got knocked out of the top five in the process.
Jack Buller kicked two goals for Claremont while Jye Bolton racked up 38 possessions, Bailey Rogers 37 and Ben Edwards 34. Aidan Clarke and Darcy Jones kicked two goals each for Swans with Clarke also collecting 28 touches.
Peel Thunder then moved into fifth position on the WAFL ladder as a result of their 13.15 (93) to 6.4 (40) victory at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park.
Sam Sturt kicked four goals for Peel and Darcy Tucker three to go with his 38 possessions. Nick Robertson and Nick Bonomelli kicked two goals each for the Royals with Angus Scott racking up 32 disposals and Hamish Brayshaw 30.
East Fremantle put a hammering on the injury-ravaged Perth with the 23.14 (152) to 9.2 (56) win the best possible response to their disappointing derby loss last week also at the WACA Ground.
Jonathon Marsh kicked five goals for East Fremantle with Blaine Boekhorst returning for 32 touches and two goals. Sam Stubbs and Harry Quartermaine kicked three goals apiece for Perth and Corey Byrne gathered 24 disposals.
South Fremantle and West Perth couldn’t be separated at Fremantle Community Bank Oval as they played out a draw 9.11 (65) apiece for the first time between the two clubs since 1984.
Dylan Main kicked two goals for South Fremantle with Tom Blechynden picking up 29 possessions and Haiden Schloithe 24 to go with 11 tackles. Rudy Riddoch, Tyler Keitel and Sasha Kernutt all kicked two goals for West Perth with Shane Nelson racking up 32 touches and 12 tackles.
Now following Round 15 of the 2022 season, it's West Perth still clear on top of the ladder but with just a half game lead over East Fremantle with 10 wins, three losses and a draw.
East Fremantle has the best percentage in the league but they can't finish on the same points after West Perth's draw so that won't be a factor in the battle over top spot between the Falcons and Sharks.
The Sharks, however, are in second position at 10-4 with a better percentage than the also 10-4 Claremont while South Fremantle is fourth with nine wins, four losses and a draw.
Peel Thunder is now in fifth position after their big win on Saturday with an 8-6 record to be percentage ahead of the also 8-6 Swan Districts.
The finals positions will be now determined between those six teams with East Perth (6-8), Subiaco (4-9), Perth (2-12) and West Coast Eagles (1-12) slipping out of the running.
There will be just the two matches in Round 16 of the WAFL season with Subiaco hosting West Coast and West Perth battling East Fremantle over top spot. Both matches are on Saturday afternoon.
WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 15
CLAREMONT 10.12 (72) defeated SWAN DISTRICTS 9.9 (63)
Claremont produced another strong showing to hold out Swan Districts and move up to third position on the WAFL ladder with Saturday's nine-point victory.
Claremont and Swan Districts came into the contest as the fourth and fifth placed teams on the ladder so the stakes were significant when they locked horns at Revo Fitness Stadium.
The Tigers came into the game on the back of strong wins against West Perth and Subiaco, and kept the momentum going to make it seven consecutive home wins against Swans dating back to 2013.
Claremont ended up winning 10.12 (72) to 9.9 (63) to improve to a 10-4 record in third position on the back of the three straight wins while Swan Districts slip down to sixth spot at 8-6.
After a couple of Claremont misfires, it was Swan Districts who kicked the first goal of the game courtesy of Victorian recruit Ryan Kemp.
The Tigers immediately responded through Jye Bolton before the two teams continued to trade goals with Josh Cipro kicking truly for Swans, and Jack Buller doing the same for the home team.
Bailey Rogers then added another for the Tigers just before quarter-time to give them a 10-point lead.
A second goal to Buller early in the second term pushed the Claremont advantage to 17 points before Oliver Eastland added another and it was a 23-point advantage.
It took another 14 minutes for the next goal and that also went the way of the Tigers thanks to Ronin O'Connor to see the lead grow to 30 points.
Swans were able to pull a couple of goals back before half-time with Aidan Clarke and Jarvis Pina kicking truly, but Claremont were still four goals to the good at the main break with a late goal from big man Kieran Gowdie.
Swans needed a good start to the second half to get back into the contest and that's exactly what they got with the opening two goals from debutant Darcy Jones and Brayden Noble.
However, Claremont responded with the only other two goals of the third quarter to Tyron Smallwood and Lachlan Martinis to keep the home side in charge with the four-goal lead.
Swans kept in touch early in the fourth quarter when Jones kicked the second goal in his debut appearance. The black-and-whites continued to pepper the goals and eventually kicked another courtesy of Seb Bright to make it a nine-point ball game at the 14-minute mark.
Claremont got a steadier early in time-on through Lawrence Evans and that proved enough for them to hold on for the 10.12 (72) to 9.9 (63) win despite a late Swans goal from Clarke.
Jack Buller kicked two goals for Claremont to continue his good run of form to go with another 12 touches and five marks.
Jye Bolton racked up another 38 possessions for the Tigers while fellow Sandover Medallist Bailey Rogers was brilliant with 37 touches and a goal.
Ben Edwards also racked up 34 disposals for Claremont, Ryan Lim 26, Lachlan Martinis 25, Jack Lewsey 23 and Jared Hardisty 19 to go with 11 tackles.
Darcy Jones had a debut he'll never forget for Swan Districts kicking two goals from 13 possessions and four marks while Aidan Clarke also kicked two to go with 28 touches and nine marks.
Jesse Turner collected another 23 possessions for Swans while Jehb O'Donohue finished with 22 touches, Josh Cipro 21, Jarvis Pina 20 and Sam Fisher 20.
EAST PERTH 6.4 (40) lost to PEEL THUNDER 13.15 (93)
Peel Thunder continued its best run of form of the season to beat East Perth by 53 points on Saturday to end up moving into the WAFL's top five as a result.
The Royals and Thunder met on neutral turf at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park on Saturday with the unavailability of Leederville Oval, and Peel certainly enjoyed the surroundings.
Peel put together a dominant all-round performance to beat East Perth 13.15 (93) to 6.4 (40) to enhance their finals prospects and all but end those of the Royals in the process.
The Thunder have now won three straight matches to improve to an 8-6 record and sit in fifth position by the end of Round 15 while the Royals are now 6-8 in seventh.
Peel took no time to assert their authority of the contest on neutral turf kicking three goals in the first nine minutes from Matt Johnson, Darcy Tucker and Neil Erasmus.
The Royals were rocked but got a steadying goal from Nick Robertson at the 14-minute mark before Sam Sturt put the Thunder 17 points up heading into quarter-time.
However, a late first quarter goal from Nick Bonomelli meant that East Perth were just 10 points down at quarter-time despite the shaky start.
Sturt added another for Peel to start the second term but then Bonomelli added his second for the Royals on the ground he used to call home with East Fremantle.
Peel finished the half the better, though, and a couple of goals to Joel Western saw them in control by 26 points at the long break.
Darcy Tucker then stretched their lead to 34 points early in the third quarter with his second goal before Sturt pushed it out to 42 at the 12-minute mark.
Peel held East Perth to one behind for the quarter and another goal to Sturt saw their lead grow to 50 points by three quarter-time.
It was three goals apiece in the final term but that meant the Thunder cruised to the 13.15 (93) to 6.4 (40) victory to return to the top five and all but end East Perth's finals prospects in the process.
Sam Sturt kicked four goals for Peel from eight kicks and six marks while Darcy Tucker delivered his second straight best on ground performance with 38 disposals, nine marks, seven tackles and three goals.
Joel Western also kicked two goals for the Thunder with Connor Blakely racking up 34 touches, Neil Erasmus 32, Tyrone Thorne 25, Matt Johnson 25, Haydn Matthews 23, Mitch Crowden 21, Nathan Wilson 20, Traye Bennell 19, Nathan O'Driscoll 19 and Jack Sears 19.
Nick Robertson and Nick Bonomelli kicked two goals each to combine for four of East Perth's six goals.
Angus Scott gathered 32 possessions for the Royals, Hamish Brayshaw 30, Angus Schumacher 22 (11 tackles), Kye Willcocks 22, Christian Ameduri 20 and Stan Wright 19.
EAST FREMANTLE 23.14 (152) defeated PERTH 9.2 (56)
If East Fremantle wanted an emphatic response to last week's loss then a 96-point thumping of Perth at the WACA Ground on Saturday was certainly that.
East Fremantle was rocked by a 14th consecutive derby loss to South Fremantle at the same venue last Saturday, but they responded in the best possible fashion to dominate the Demons from the outset with three quick goals to start the contest.
Perth is crying out for the season to come to an end already with their horror injury list making it tough to be competitive, but East Fremantle was still good enough to take full advantage and show why they are the best attacking team in the competition this season.
The Sharks ended up winning 23.14 (152) to 9.2 (56) to have now had the two biggest wins of any team this WAFL season and kicked the two highest scores.
As a result of the win, East Fremantle consolidates second spot with a 10-4 record while Perth has now lost 10 straight to remain second last.
Disappointed by their derby performance seven days earlier also at the WACA Ground, the Sharks came out on a mission and it only took 30 seconds for Blaine Boekhorst to kick a goal after he missed last week with a tight hamstring.
Perth did well to respond, though, with a quick reply from Sam Stubbs but that would be the Demons' only score of the quarter as the Sharks asserted their dominance.
Four more goals to Kyle Baskerville, Corey Homes, Matt Williamson and Jed Hagan saw East Fremantle lead by 27 points already by quarter-time.
East Fremantle kicked two quick goals from Baskerville and Ryan Lester-Smith to open the second term but then Perth answered with two in the space of three minutes of their own from Stubbs and Harry Quartermaine.
The Sharks pulled away again with goals to Jonathon Marsh and a second to Boekhorst, and when Jansen kicked one just before half-time, East Fremantle were in control to the tune of 35 points.
If Perth was just clinging to staying in touch at the break, it didn’t last long into the second half with two goals in four minutes for the Sharks from Luke English and Marsh.
Josh Schoenfeld and Lachlan Bailey then also kicked truly and East Fremantle had four goals in nine minutes to go up by 62 points.
English then stretched that lead to 67 and Marsh got it to 74, and that's where it stayed at three quarter-time on the back of the seven-goal to one quarter.
There was no let up from the Sharks and they would kick another six goals to three from the Demons in the final term to claim the 23.14 (152) to 9.2 (56) victory.
Jonathon Marsh kicked five goals for East Fremantle to take his tally to 28 on the season to stay right in the hunt for the Bernie Naylor Medal.
Luke English, Blaine Boekhorst, Kyle Baskerville, Jarrad Jansen, Jed Hagan and Matt Williamson all kicked two goals each for the Sharks as well with another six players kicking a goal apiece.
Boekhorst also gathered 32 possessions to go with his two goals with Milan Murdock gathering 32 touches, Josh Schoenfeld 31, English 24, Cam Eardley 24, Matthew Jupp 24 (12 marks), Baskerville 20, Tom Bennett 20, Ryan Lester-Smith 20, Jed Hagan 20 and Michael Tassone 20.
Reuben McGuire did well in the ruck too in the absence of Jeremy Goddard and Eddie Simpson with 18 possessions and 24 hit outs.
Sam Stubbs kicked three goals from 12 kicks for Perth with Harry Quartermaine also kicking three while Simon Hayward finished with two.
Corey Byrne worked hard to compile another 24 touches for the Demons with Chris Mayne gathering 22, Matt Taylor 19, Austin Davis 18 and Regan Clarke 17.
SOUTH FREMANTLE 9.11 (65) drew with WEST PERTH 9.11 (65)
A significant curve ball was thrown into the run to the WAFL finals for 2022 when South Fremantle and West Perth played out a dramatic draw at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.
With South Fremantle coming into the game in third spot and in its best run of form of the season and West Perth sitting on top having won its last couple, it was always going to be a fascinating match up at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in Round 15.
It's a ground South Fremantle has dominated at in recent times against West Perth having won 10 of the last 11 meetings there between the two teams with outlier being the 2018 preliminary final.
That set the stage for a fascinating afternoon and it appeared South Fremantle had done enough to make it four straight wins when captain Dylan Main snapped truly at the 26-minute mark.
However, West Perth's Tyler Keitel kicked a goal from a free-kick in the ruck contest at the 29-minute mark to tie scores up and that's where they stayed, with both teams scoring 9.11 (65) for the game.
The result means that West Perth remains on top of the WAFL ladder but with just a half game lead now over East Fremantle with percentage irrelevant except when measured against South Fremantle.
The Bulldogs slip to fourth with the draw to be half a game behind both East Fremantle and Claremont, and a game and-a-half ahead of the fifth placed Peel Thunder.
West Perth kicked the first goal of the game courtesy of Tyler Keitel and it took almost 10 minutes for another which went the way of South Fremantle thanks to Manfred Kelly.
Haiden Schloithe then put the Bulldogs in front but it was just a one-point lead by quarter-time after a late West Perth goal from Rudy Riddoch in his 101st WAFL appearance.
After a string of West Perth behinds to open the second term, South Fremantle went back in front thanks to Brandon Donaldson before the scoring really dried up.
There would be 13 minutes in between goals, but West Perth then kicked two in the space of three minutes from Sasha Kernutt and Riddoch to take a 10-point lead into the major break.
South Fremantle got the perfect start to the second half with a goal to Caleb Datson in less than 30 seconds.
West Perth's second-gamer Joe Hinder kicked truly at the 10-minute to push West Perth back out to a nine-point edge, but the game was up for grabs at three quarter-time with the Falcons only clinging to a two-point lead with Dylan Main keeping South Fremantle close.
It would turn out to be quite the dramatic final quarter with Kernutt firstly putting West Perth back in front by seven points when he kicked truly.
Nick Suban drew scores level when he kicked a goal for the Bulldogs at the 11-minute mark before Tom Blechynden put the home team a goal in front.
The Bulldogs clung to that lead for eight minutes until incomprehensively Aidan Lynch was found all alone 30m out from goal straight in front. He took the mark, played on and slotted it to put the Falcons a point in front.
A behind for South Fremantle levelled things up before a frantic foray forward saw Bulldogs skipper Dylan Main snap out of congestion on his left boot. It bounced through and South Fremantle appeared to have snatched it.
It wasn’t to be though. At a ruck contest in West Perth's forward 50, Keitel was deemed to have been interfered with by the non-contesting South Fremantle ruckman. He went back and coolly slotted it to draw things level.
South Fremantle had one last attack and a snap into the goal square was rushed through for a behind, but it took place just after the siren and the two teams ended up all square at 9.11 (65) apiece.
South Fremantle captain Dylan Main kicked two goals to have now managed six in the last two games to show he might be an answer to the Bulldogs finding more ways to score in the back half of the season.
Tom Blechynden continued the best run of form in his 44-game career for South Fremantle with another 29 possessions and five tackles while Haiden Schloithe was terrific once more with 24 touches, 11 tackles and a goal.
Glenn Byron gathered 23 possessions for the Bulldogs, Steve Verrier 22, Brendon Ah Chee 21, Brandon Donaldson 21, Zac Strom 20, Chad Pearson 19 and Toby McQuilkin 19 while Hamish Free racked up 58 hit outs.
Rudy Riddoch, Tyler Keitel and Sasha Kernutt all kicked two goals apiece for West Perth.
Shane Nelson produced another 32 possessions and 12 tackles in his 202nd game for the Falcons while Luke Meadows amassed 23 touches, Aidan Lynch 23, Mitch Peirce 23, Conal Lynch 21 and Tristan Hobley 17.