STUNNING SEASON-OPENING DERBY WIN FOR BULLDOGS

Monday, July 20, 2020 - 10:28 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle started the 2020 WAFL season in the best possible way with a 95-point victory to make it 10 straight wins against East Fremantle in a complete performance on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

It was only fitting that the 2020 Optus WAFL Premiership Season resumed with what will be the only Fremantle Derby of the season, but it was South Fremantle who made quite the statement with a 95-point win against East Fremantle.

It's hard to imagine a larger contrast from South Fremantle's last game of 2019 now to their first of 2020. The Bulldogs lost last year's Grand Final to Subiaco by 96 points but started off 2020 in the best possible way with the 99-point turnaround to hammer the Sharks on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Not only was it the first game of 2020 for the Bulldogs and Sharks, but also the first derby they'd played since WA Day last year which was more than 13 months ago now, but the end result was South Fremantle continuing its recent dominance of their arch-rivals.

Caleb Datson kicked a career-best four goals in his 11th league game for South Fremantle while Mason Shaw bobbed up with three goals in the final quarter after previously being well held by Matthew Jupp.

Haiden Schloithe also kicked two goals to celebrate his 150th game with South Fremantle with small forward left-footers Kyle Russell and Brandon Donaldson both booting two apiece as well. Zac Strom worked hard at centre half-forward too for 18 possessions, five marks and a goal.

Jake Florenca started 2020 where he left off in 2019 as an emerging elite midfielder in the competition leading the way in the middle for South Fremantle with 26 possessions, eight tackles and a goal.

Kade Stewart had a terrific afternoon too with 19 disposals and 14 tackles while Brock Higgins was tremendous in the ruck with 18 possessions and 28 hit outs. Jacob Dragovich also had it 17 times.

Chad Pearson (21 possessions, five marks) and Zac Dent (21 disposals, six marks) were outstanding off half-back while Blayne Wilson, Noah Strom and Chris Luff repelled attacks from East Fremantle even if the ball only came inside-50 on 24 occasions.

Ben Rioli continued his family's rich history with South Fremantle and showed exciting signs on debut out of defence with his 16 possessions.

The only downside for South Fremantle was an injury to inspirational captain Dylan Main. It was suspected he punctured a lung while laying an inspirational chase down tackle late in the third quarter.

South Fremantle made it 10 successive derby wins with the performance on Saturday but it was East Fremantle who started encouragingly with the game's first goal courtesy of big man Luke Strnadica.

That's as good as it would get for the Sharks though. Only a few minutes later and South Fremantle was on the board thanks to Kyle Hamersley and by quarter-time, Kyle Russell, Caleb Datson, Brandon Donaldson, Datson again and then Russell again had also kicked goals.

That saw the Bulldogs lead by a commanding 31 points by quarter-time and they became 37 points with the first goal of the second term too courtesy of Jacob Dragovich.

East Fremantle did get one back through Tom Bennett, but South Fremantle wasn’t letting up and closed the half with Datson booting his third and fourth in a career-best showing to put the Bulldogs on top by 44 points at the main break.

South Fremantle came out in the second half to kick the opening three goals too through Haiden Schloithe, Jake Florenca and Zac Strom. East Fremantle got one back through Tom Monaghan, but that would be its last of the day.

The Bulldogs kept the foot on the gas with six more goals to just one behind in the final quarter to romp to the 95-point victory over the Sharks.

The day got underway at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with a thrilling colts contest with South Fremantle coming out on top, winning by seven points.

South Fremantle managed to kick three goals to two in the first quarter, but by half-time East Fremantle had assumed a seven-point advantage.

The Bulldogs turned things back around in the third quarter with four goals to three, and then kicked the only two goals of the final term to end up winning 10.6 (66) to 8.11 (59).

Jacob Plunkett kicked three goals for South Fremantle in the colts, Jacob Sax two and Darryl Anderson two.

Oscar Armstrong gathered 19 possessions, Riley Clayton 19, Regan Ward 18, Jaxon Bellchambers 17, Toby Dodds 16 and Shannon Neale 15 to go with 15 hit outs, seven marks and a goal. Solomon James also had 13 disposals and 22 hit outs.

South Fremantle's reserves kept the winning day going as well with a 7.8 (50) to 5.3 (33) victory against East Fremantle.
 

OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 1
SOUTH FREMANTLE        6.2    9.4    12.7    18.8    (116)
EAST FREMANTLE        1.1    2.2    3.2    3.3    (21)

SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Datson 4; Shaw 3; Schloithe, Russell, Donaldson 2; Dragovich, Florenca, Hamersley, Z Strom, Miller.
Best: Florenca, Stewart, Higgins, Dent, Datson, Pearson, Z Strom.
EAST FREMANTLE – Goals: Bennett, Strnadica, Monaghan.
Best: Kommer, Murdock, Jupp, Leggett, Snadden.