Efficient Bulldogs win eighth straight with victory over Tigers

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 3:45 PM by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle started on fire, kicked away with the breeze again in the third quarter and came away with an eighth straight win on Saturday beating a desperate Claremont by 32 points at Claremont Oval.
 
South Fremantle came into the clash at Claremont Oval unable to move from second position on the ladder but there were plenty of pressure on for spots at the Bulldogs meaning no player in the 22 will be looking to drop their form over the last three weeks.
 
Meanwhile, Claremont just had to win to stay a realistic finals chance in 2017 setting the stage for a terrific contest. 
 
South Fremantle was able to better take advantage of the breeze at Claremont Oval with six goals to one in the first quarter, and the only five goals of the third term to set up the eventual 14.9 (93) to 8.13 (61) victory.
 
The win is an eighth straight on the season for South Fremantle with the Bulldogs improving to a 15-4 record as they gear up for the qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
 
South Fremantle came into the game without Haiden Schloithe along with key defenders Blayne Wilson and Josh Pullman with Jason Maskos also having his day ended early.
 
But the Bulldogs covered the absence of the star foursome well even if key forwards Ben Saunders and Mason Shaw were also held to just the one goal between them.
 
Cory Dell'Olio made a blistering start to the game with three goals in the opening 12 minutes and he went on to kick four for the afternoon to go with 18 possessions, four marks and four tackles.
 
Blaine Johnson and Tom Vandeleur each kicked two goals for the Bulldogs.
 
It was a new look South Fremantle defence without Wilson, Pullman and Maskos, but Zac Strom returned and played the key role well with Beau Maister held goalless for Claremont. 
 
Adam McIntosh was strong with 14 possessions and six marks while Chad Pearson was impressive with 13 disposals and six marks. Steven Edwards provided good run again with 16 possessions.
 
Brock Higgins celebrated his 100th WAFL game with another strong performance in the ruck for South Fremantle with 17 possessions and 21 hit outs.
 
Tim Kelly worked hard again with another impressive display with a team-high 24 possessions and a goal while Ashton Hams returned to pick up 22 disposals. Dylan Main also had 21 touches, nine marks, eight tackles and a goal.
 
Brendan Verrier had 20 touches for the Bulldogs, Shane Hockey 17 and Steve Verrier 17 to go with six tackles, five marks and a goal.
 
Claremont ended up having 74 more possessions and 28 more marks than South Fremantle, but they were far too inefficient with the ball going inside-50 on seven less occasions and having two fewer scoring shots.
 
Starts might not have been South Fremantle's strong suit in recent times, but the Bulldogs were kicking with the handy breeze in the first quarter on Saturday at Claremont Oval and took full advantage.
 
Cory Dell'Olio kicked two quick goals for the Bulldogs before Tom Vandeleur added two more in quick succession. Dell'Olio then added a third and South Fremantle already had five goals on the board in the opening 12 minutes.
 
That soon became six in 18 minutes when Shaun Bewick kicked truly before Claremont got the last goal of the opening quarter thanks to Zac Langdon to cut South Fremantle quarter-time advantage to 28 points.
 
Claremont did come out with the breeze behind them in the second term and kicked the first goal through Matt Guelfi to close to within 21 points. 
 
South Fremantle managed to respond thanks to Tim Kelly. Guelfi added another for Claremont but the Bulldogs again answers through Blaine Johnson.
 
But the Tigers finished the half strong with goals to Oliver Eastland and Ian Richardson to be just 10 points down at the main break.
 
South Fremantle regained the breeze again in the third quarter and the Bulldogs took full toll with the only five goals courtesy of Steve Verrier, Ben Saunders, Johnson, Dell'Olio and Ashton Hams to hold a match-winning 45-point advantage by three quarter-time.
 
The Bulldogs lead grew to 50 points 10 minutes into the last quarter when Dylan Main kicked truly. Even though Claremont kicked the game's last three goals with two to Richardson and another to Ryan Murphy, that only cut South Fremantle's final winning margin to 32 points.
 
South Fremantle's colts continued its impressive finish to the season as well. Even though the Bulldogs look like just falling short of playing finals, they managed to upset Claremont 5.7 (37) to 4.10 (34) at Claremont Oval on Saturday.
 
Thomas Weston and Luke Moore booted two goals apiece for the Bulldogs.
 
Matthew Ward gathered 21 possessions, Regan Spooner 21, Zane Sumich 21, Toby McQuilkin 20, Jack Musika 19, Alex Cabassi 18, Ryan Burrows 18, Michael Redman 18, Bruno Faulkner 17, Glen Byron 17 and James Russell 17.
 
South Fremantle's big men were also impressive with Jacob Warne finishing with 17 touches, five marks and 28 hit outs, and Jonathon Frampton 18 possessions and eight hit outs.
 
Claremont's reserves managed to come away with a thrilling 8.6 (54) to 7.11 (53) victory against South Fremantle at Claremont Oval, but the Bulldogs remain three games clear on top of the ladder with two rounds and one game remaining.
 
Josh Collard and Seaton Thompson kicked two goals apiece for South Fremantle.
 
Jake Florenca showed how desperately he wants back in the Bulldogs league side with 33 possessions, 11 marks, 11 tackles and six inside-50 entries.
 
Collard also had 25 disposals for South Fremantle, Kyle Russell 25, Chris Ah Siu 19, Daniel Cabassi 19 and Jesse Musika 19.
 
Josh Branchi had 13 touches, five marks and 25 hit outs in the ruck with support from Jake Solomon who had 11 touches, four marks and 12 hit outs.
 
South Fremantle now has the bye this weekend on its eight-game winning streak before taking on Peel Thunder in the final round at Bendigo Bank Stadium in what is shaping up like a preview of the following week's qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 6.1 8.1 13.7 14.9 (93)
CLAREMONT 1.3 5.9 5.10 8.13 (61)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Dell'Olio 4; Johnson, Vandeleur 2; Bewick, Kelly, S Verrier, Main, Saunders, Hams.
Best: Dell'Olio, Kelly, McIntosh, S Verrier, Main, Hams, Strom.
CLAREMONT – Goals: Richardson 3; Guelfi 2; Eastland, R Murphy, Langdon.
Best: R Murphy, Busher, Bolton, J Murphy, Hamp, Richardson, Hardisty.