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Bulldogs finish strongly to beat Tigers in Albany

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 12:23 PM by Chris Pike
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SOUTH Fremantle quality shone through late in the game against Claremont in Albany on Saturday with the Bulldogs winning a third straight match this season beating the Tigers by 27 points.
 
It was the fifth time that a WAFL game has been held in Albany since 1989 but the first time at Centennial Stadium following the first four matches in the city were played at Collingwood Park.
 
An impressive crowd of 2664 people turned out to watch the most competitive match of the weekend in the WAFL too with little separating the Tigers and Bulldogs over the first three quarters.
 
But after leading by just two points at three quarter-time, South Fremantle put its foot down in the last term to boot five goals to one to claim the 12.13 (85) to 8.10 (58) victory.
 
It is a third straight win for the Bulldogs who have now defeated West Perth, East Fremantle and Claremont since a first up loss to Subiaco.
 
Shane Hockey has started the season in outstanding form in the midfield for South Fremantle and the 2016 fairest and best winner continued that on Saturday in Albany with another 31 possessions, seven tackles, seven inside-50 entries and four marks.
 
Brandon Donaldson spent the first two weeks of the season in the reserves but has been tremendous now for two weeks running in the league side following another 24 disposals, five marks, four tackles and two goals on Saturday.
 
Captain Dylan Main also had 21 touches and nine tackles for the Bulldogs with Jacob Dragovich finishing the game with 18 possessions, Nick Suban 18, Blayne Wilson 15 and Marlion Pickett 14 to go with four inside-50 entries.
 
Reigning Sandover Medallist Haiden Schloithe kicked three goals for South Fremantle from six kicks and seven tackles with Matthew Parker also booting two majors.
 
Brock Higgins had a good battle in the ruck with Claremont's Oliver Eastland. Higgins finished with 16 possessions, six tackles, 46 hit outs and a goal, and Eastland 19 touches, seven tackles and 39 hit outs.
 
Fresh off being included in the WAFL State squad for the clash with South Australia in Adelaide, Brock Higgins gave South Fremantle the fast start in Albany with the opening goal of the game at the five-minute mark.
 
Claremont responded soon after through Tom Lee before the Bulldogs got their second through Ben Saunders, playing not far from his home town of Mt Barker.
 
But Lee kept Claremont in touch in the opening term with his second goal before South Fremantle opened up a 13-point lead by the first break after majors to debutant Daniel Cabassi and Dylan Main.
 
It was tough going for both teams during the second quarter and it took until the 20-minute of the second quarter when Ryan Lim kicked truly for Claremont. The Tigers added another when Ian Richardson kicked truly to make it a one-point ball game at the main break.
 
South Fremantle might have been goalless from late in the first quarter, but that soon changed with two goals in the opening 10 minutes of the third term with goals to Brandon Donaldson and Haiden Schloithe.
 
Claremont responded with Richardson kicking his second goal and then Lim his second too before the Bulldogs returned to a seven-point advantage with Schloithe's second major of the quarter.
 
But it remained a two-point difference by three quarter-time with the game on the line in front of the good crowd at the new facility in Albany.
 
South Fremantle showed its quality in the first 20 minutes of the last quarter, though, with goals to Donaldson, Matthew Parker and Blaine Johnson to open up a 21-point lead as the Bulldogs went on to win by 27 in the finish.
 
The reserves contest between Claremont and South Fremantle took place at Claremont Oval on Sunday morning with the Tigers ending up beating the Bulldogs 14.9 (93) to 6.8 (44).
 
Jesse Musika kicked three goals for South Fremantle from nine kicks, six marks and four tackles.
 
Caleb Datson continued his good form to start the season in the reserves for the Bulldogs collecting 24 possessions while Glenn Byron gathered 28 disposals, Matthew Grubelich 18, Travis Abbott 17 and Andre Coutinho 17.
 
Jake Solomon finished with 14 touches, six marks, 23 hit outs and a goal while Zac Strom and Adam McIntosh were solid contributors as they look to force their way back into the league line-up for the first time in 2018.
 
The big day of colts action at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday began with Claremont taking on South Fremantle, with the Tigers going on to beat the Bulldogs by 35 points.
 
It was an even start to the contest with South Fremantle leading by a point at quarter-time before Claremont had taken a four-point advantage into half-time.
 
The Tigers kicked away in the third term booting three goals to three behinds to open a 21-point lead at three quarter-time before going on to win 11.6 (72) to 5.7 (37).
 
Tom Weston kicked four goals for South Fremantle from nine kicks, six marks and four inside-50 entries.
 
Kyle Hamersley compiled 24 possessions for the Bulldogs, Regan Spooner 24, Matthew Ward 24, Tom Blechynden 24, Enrique Aiken-Featherstone 19, Toby McQuilkin 17 and James Russell 17 to go with nine tackles.
 
Ben Pears also had 12 touches, four tackles and 30 hit outs in the ruck.
 
South Fremantle will be back at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday for just the second time this season to take on Swan Districts.
 
It's the first time the teams will have played one another since the Bulldogs beat Swans by 80 points in last year's first semi-final at the same venue.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.5 4.8 7.10 12.13 (85)
CLAREMONT 2.4 4.7 7.8 8.10 (58)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Schloithe 3; Donaldson, Parker 2; Higgins, Johnson, Main, Saunders, Cabassi.
Best: Hockey, Higgins, Donaldson, Main, Suban, Dragovich, Pickett.
CLAREMONT – Goals: Lee, Richardson 3; Lim 2.
Best: Mitchell, Bolton, Busher, Eastland, Hardisty, Murphy, Richardson.