Bulldogs hit back hard to book Grand Final spot

Monday, September 28, 2020 - 3:27 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle bounced back impressive to record a 21-point WAFL preliminary final win over West Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Sunday to book a spot in the Grand Final a week later also on home turf.

South Fremantle came out determined to rebound from the previous week's second semi-final loss to Claremont but the Bulldogs also never knew it would be easy up against the Falcons with a Grand Final spot on the line.

But South Fremantle kicked the last two goals of the first half and the first four of the second and that run of six consecutive goals set the stage for the eventual 11.5 (71) to 7.8 (50) victory in front of more than 5000 fans at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

PLAYER COLUMN | BROCK HIGGINS PRELIMINARY FINAL

PRELIMINARY FINAL PREVIEW V WEST PERTH

BETTER STARTS THE MAJOR FOCUS FOR BULLDOGS

COACH POST MATCH – TODD CURLEY SECOND SEMI-FINAL

Haiden Schloithe was at his brilliant best for South Fremantle with 24 possessions, 12 tackles and two goals with Zac Strom also kicking two goals while Bulldogs debutant Cody Ninyette kicked one and set up a couple of others in an impressive showing from the ex-Demon.

Brock Higgins was dominant in the ruck with 11 possessions and 46 hit outs too while Jake Florenca had 21 disposals, Dylan Main 21, Zac Dent 20, Chad Pearson 18, Kade Stewart 15 and Ben Rioli 15.

South Fremantle got the first goal of the preliminary final thanks to newfound wingman Zac Strom but West Perth kicked an immediate reply courtesy of spearhead Tyler Keitel.

Some terrific pressure saw South Fremantle's forwards turn it over soon after and then it was Strom who found captain Dylan Main inside-50 as he strolled into the open goal and the Bulldogs led by three points at the first change.

West Perth took up the momentum to start the second term, though, and goals to key forward Keitel and Zac Patterson were ominous of the impact they could have with some good supply.

But Brandon Donaldson got one back for the Bulldogs and then Haiden Schloithe kicked a beauty out of congestion just before half-time to see the home side head into the main break with a four-point advantage.

The rain then poured down at half-time at Fremantle Community Bank Oval changing the style of game in the second half and it was South Fremantle that came out adjusting the better to blow it wide open.

Schloithe kicked a goal to start off proceedings before the returning Zac Dent kicked another impressive goal under pressure too. Jimmy Miller then marked strongly in the wet and kicked truly before Zac Strom pipped off a West Perth handpass in defence to kick his second.

West Perth did claw one back courtesy of the lively Keegan Knott but then Bulldogs debutant Cody Ninyette continued his impressive day by kicking truly and South Fremantle was 26 points up by three quarter-time.

That grew to 32 to start the fourth quarter with a goal to Caleb Datson and despite a couple of impressive efforts from Knott, including a rare torpedo from 50m, Nick Suban's brilliant 50m set shot up the other end sealed the deal.

South Fremantle secured the 11.5 (71) to 7.8 (50) victory to move into next Sunday's Grand Final against Claremont back on their home deck.

OPTUS WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – PRELIMINARY FINAL

SOUTH FREMANTLE        2.1    4.3    9.4    11.5 (71)
WEST PERTH            1.4    3.5    4.8    7.8 (50)

SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Z Strom, Schloithe 2; Main, Donaldson, Dent, Miller, Ninyette, Datson, Suban.
Best – Schloithe, Higgins, Main, Dent, Pearson, Suban, Florenca.
WEST PERTH: Goals – Knott 3; Keitel 2; Kernutt, Patterson.
Best – Nelson, Black, Hamilton, Knott, Guadagnin, West, Tedesco.