Bulldogs blown away in third quarter burst by Lions

Monday, September 9, 2019 - 11:04 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle did a lot right in Sunday's WAFL preliminary final against Subiaco at Leederville Oval and for three quarters more than held their own, but all the Lions needed was a 12-minute patch in the third quarter to blow the game wide open.

South Fremantle was playing in its fourth consecutive second semi-final and for the third time in those four, Subiaco was the opponent with the Bulldogs returning to Leederville Oval where they had defeated the Lions back in Round 6 of this season.

Then despite Subiaco kicking the first two goals of the game, South Fremantle steadied into the contest nicely with scores locked up at quarter-time and the Lions led by just four points at half-time.

However, Subiaco blew the game wide open with six goals in 12 minutes late in the third quarter and that was enough to set up their 14.13 (97) to 10.3 (63) victory.

South Fremantle will now gear up to play in its fourth straight preliminary final this Sunday against Claremont at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

It's the same scenario as the previous three years but after losing those preliminary finals to Peel Thunder in 2016, Subiaco in 2017 and West Perth in 2018, the Bulldogs will hope it is fourth time lucky as they attempt to reach a first Grand Final since 2009.

Mason Shaw kicked three goals for South Fremantle from 13 possessions and seven marks in a good battle with Aaron Heal while Kade Stewart also kicked two majors for the Bulldogs.

Haiden Schloithe again worked his tail off for South Fremantle to end the afternoon with 24 possessions and six tackles while captain Dylan Main finished with 21 disposals, six tackles and a goal.

Chad Pearson ended up with 17 possessions and kicked a goal after being thrown forward late while Brock Higgins had a tantalising ruck contest with Lachlan Delahunty, finishing with 16 disposals, four tackles and 51 hit outs.

South Fremantle were once again down a man early in the game with young defender Seaton Thompson hurting a hamstring.

It was quite the arm-wrestle if you take out a 12-minute burst in the third quarter, but that's all Subiaco needed to set up a match-winning advantage and ultimately beat South Fremantle in Sunday's second semi-final.

The two teams locked horns with a Grand Final spot on the line at Leederville Oval and they are certainly no strangers to meeting in finals in recent years having played in the second semi-finals of 2016 and 2018, and preliminary final of 2017.

South Fremantle had also handed Subiaco its only loss since the 2017 Grand Final at Leederville Oval in Round 6 this year so all signs were pointing to a tremendous contest.

And that's what it was outside of that 12-minute burst in the third quarter. But in that period, Subiaco piled on six goals in a blistering display of what they are capable of.

That saw the Lions end up leading by as much as 52 points late in the contest before winning 14.13 (97) to 10.3 (63).

Subiaco now moves straight into a sixth straight Grand Final while South Fremantle plays Claremont in Sunday's preliminary final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Subiaco made a good start with Max Walters kicking the first goal of the second semi-final and the Lions had the first two when Thomas Edwards-Baldwin also kicked truly. 

But South Fremantle steadied well in general play and then goals to Jacob Dragovich and Shaun Bewick, after some incredibly hard running, saw scores all tied up by quarter-time.

Harry Marsh turned out to be Subiaco's move forward in the absence of the suspended Ryan Borchet and he kicked the first goal of the third quarter but South Fremantle responded thanks to the left boot of Kade Stewart.

Edwards-Baldwin would add his second but the Bulldogs again answered through Mason Shaw and the Lions were up by just four points at the main break.

It was still just a five-point game by midway through the third quarter but then Subiaco made its move and by three quarter-time, had put the game out of reach of the Bulldogs following a stunning burst.

Having been well held all day by Noah Strom, Bernie Naylor Medallist Ben Sokol kicked two goals in two minutes for the Lions. 

Then Rhys Waters caught fire in remarkable fashion to kick four goals over the next nine minutes and suddenly Subiaco had kicked six goals in 12 minutes and a five-point lead had ballooned to 42 by three quarter-time.

Subiaco went up by 48 points to start the last term as well with a third goal to Edwards-Baldwin. South Fremantle got a couple back through Shaw and Chad Pearson but then Sokol kicked a third to steady the Lions.

South Fremantle ended up kicking four of the last six goals including the last three, but all that did was cut the final margin to 34 points with Subiaco winning 14.13 (97) to 10.3 (63).

SOUTH FREMANTLE        2.1    4.1    4.3    10.3    (63)
SUBIACO            2.1    4.5    10.9    14.13    (97)

SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Shaw 3; Stewart 2; Dragovich, Bewick, Pearson, Donaldson, Main.
Best: Schloithe, Higgins, Main, Shaw, N Strom, Pearson, Stewart.
SUBIACO – Goals: Waters 4; Sokol, Edwards-Baldwin 3; Moore, Marsh, Newton, Walters.
Best: Newton, Walters, Joyce, Rohde, Kitchin, Horsley, Delahunty, Clark.