Bulldogs make it nine straight heading into finals

Monday, August 28, 2017 - 6:57 PM by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle will enter the WAFL finals for 2017 on a nine-game winning streak after beating Peel Thunder by 34 points in Mandurah on Saturday.
 
The two teams were already guaranteed of finishing second and third on the WAFL ladder at the end of the home and away season regardless of what happened in Mandurah on Saturday.
 
With them also set to face each other in the first week of the finals, it was always going to be intriguing how the teams went about the contest as well.
 
In the end, it was a tight affair for three quarters before South Fremantle kicked six goals to two in the last quarter to run out 18.12 (120) to 12.14 (86) victors.
 
The victory saw South Fremantle win the annual Gary Holland Cup and finish the season with nine consecutive victories and in second position on the WAFL ladder with a 16-4 record.
 
Peel Thunder finishes third at 12-8 to qualify for a third successive finals appearance.
 
The two teams will lock horns again this Saturday in the qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with the winner to play Subiaco the following week in the second semi-final at Leederville Oval.
 
South Fremantle came into the game off the bye last weekend and on an eight-game winning streak with second position secured, but the Bulldogs still wanted to stay in good form and enter the following week's qualifying final with some momentum.
 
They did that with the 34-point win on the back of the six-goal to two final quarter.
 
Mason Shaw ended up kicking four goals from 13 possessions and seven marks with Cory Dell'Olio booting three majors, Steve Verrier two, Ben Saunders two and Matt Parker two.
 
Brock Higgins' day ended early in the ruck after copping a slight knock but Zac Strom covered well and had 14 disposals, six marks and 24 hit outs.
 
South Fremantle's midfield was tremendous led once again by two of the Sandover Medal favourites, Tim Kelly and Haiden Schloithe. Kelly ended up with 26 possessions, 11 tackles, six marks and a goal with Schloithe contributing 26 disposals, seven marks and a goal.
 
They had plenty of help too with Steve Verrier racking up 25 touches, Shane Hockey 24, Ryan Cook 19 and Dylan Main 18 to go with 12 tackles.
 
The back-line held up strongly even with the absence of Marlion Pickett and Jason Maskos. Blayne Wilson made a strong return with 17 possessions and seven marks as did Josh Pullman while Steven Edwards had another 18 disposals and six marks, Chad Pearson 19 touches and five marks, and Shaun Bewick 17 possessions, nine marks and a goal.
 
Peel made the perfect start to the contest with Josh Deluca kicking truly after just a minute. The Bulldogs did answer with a good set shot from Blaine Johnson but the Thunder got the next through Brad McGowan.
 
South Fremantle got back in front with the next two from Cory Dell'Olio and the Bulldogs went into quarter-time two points in front as both teams continued to trade goals.
 
It was more of the same in the second term with four goals apiece that ended up seeing South Fremantle lead by four points at the main break.
 
Rival skippers Gerald Ugle and Ryan Cook kicked goals for their sides to open the second half but when Haiden Schloithe kicked truly at the 15-minute mark of the third, South Fremantle went in front and would stay there.
 
Up until then, the lead had changed hands 13 times between the two sides and being all square on another couple of occasions.
 
The Bulldogs kicked three of the last four goals of the third time and then six to two in the last, and five of the last six majors of the contest to run out 34-point victors.
 
South Fremantle's colts saw its season come to a close on Saturday at Bendigo Bank Stadium with Peel Thunder winning 11.7 (73) to 9.8 (62).
 
Jarren Colpitts kicked three goals for the Bulldogs, Jonathon Frampton two and Luke Moore two.
 
Captain Bruno Faulkner collected 25 possessions, Matthew Ward 24, Jack Musika 22, Alex Cabassi 18 and Frampton 17.
 
South Fremantle's colts finish the season in seventh position with an 8-12 record.
 
South Fremantle's ladder-leading reserves then won its 16 match of the season thrashing Peel Thunder 18.13 (121) to 5.3 (33) at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
 
Daniel Burke kicked five goals for South Fremantle and Mitch Dzelebdzic two.
 
Jake Florenca amassed 42 possessions for the Bulldogs, Jarrod Parry 30, Kyle Russell 30, Jesse Musika 25, Brandon Donaldson 24, Andrew Coutinho 24, Josh Collard 21, Chris Ah Siu 20, Seaton Thompson 19 and Caleb Datson 19.
 
South Fremantle's reserves have earned the rest in the first week of the finals before taking on the winner of the Claremont-Subiaco clash in the second semi-final.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.1 8.4 12.11 18.12 (120)
PEEL THUNDER 3.5 7.6 10.10 12.14 (86)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Shaw 4; Dell'Olio 3; S Verrier, Saunders, Parker 2; Schloithe, Bewick, Kelly, Johnson, Cook.
Best: Kelly, Schloithe, S Verrier, Hockey, Shaw, Edwards, Pearson, Main.
PEEL THUNDER – Goals: Jetta 3; Ugle 2; O'Brien, Lawler, McGowan, Bell, Milward, Kirby, Deluca.
Best: O'Brien, Walsh, Logue, Hancock, Jetta, Deluca.