Bulldogs narrowly go down to Demons

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 9:31 PM

SOUTH Fremantle started in dominant fashion and finished strongly but in the end it wasn’t quite enough with Perth coming away with a 13-point win over the Bulldogs at Brownes Stadium.

South Fremantle completely dominated the first quarter and led by 19 points at quarter-time, and it could have been more, but fell 26 points down by midway through the last term.

The Bulldogs kept fighting, though, and closed to within seven points in the dying stages but Perth ended up steadying with a late goal to win 16.9 (105) to 14.8 (92).

Despite playing his 281st WAFL game, Kris Miller is showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down and picked up a team-high 27 possessions for the Bulldogs to go with six marks and seven entries inside the forward 50.

Captain Ryan Cook gathered 19 disposals to go with nine marks and five inside 50s. Defender Adam McIntosh had 18 disposals as did Alex Grima with Jacob Martinez finishing with 17 touches, Reece Adams 16, Mitch Carter 15 and Toby Bairstow 15.

Brendon Gulley returned after missing Round 1 against Claremont to strengthen the defence and was tremendous keeping West Coast's young big man Fraser McInnes scoreless and to just 11 possessions and three marks.

Sean Tighe once again worked hard in the ruck up against both Christian Eyres and Mitchell Lleyendekkers, and finished with 13 possessions, eight marks and 20 hit outs.

Meanwhile up forward in the absence of Ben Saunders, Paul Mugambwa was outstanding every time the ball came near him. While that didn’t happen enough after quarter-time, he still looked likely to mark it each time the ball was in his vicinity.

Mugambwa's kicking was also strong as he booted three goals and the one shot he missed he still struck it well and only narrowly missed. He had 12 possessions and seven marks to go with his three goals.

Mitch Banner and Adam Guglielmana both kicked three goals each as well with Alistair Gillespie adding two.

South Fremantle's midfield, fed by ruckman Tighe, completely dominated Perth in the first quarter and the likes of Miller, Cook, Adams, Bairstow and Grima continued to drive the ball forward with Andrew McCarrey and Mugambwa providing strong marking targets.

In fact, Perth took almost 10 minutes to even go inside their forward 50 and 23 minutes for their only goal of the opening term as South Fremantle booted four to lead by 19 points at the first change.

When Guglielmana booted his second goal early in the second quarter the Bulldogs were still in control and 18 points up, but momentum began to swing Perth's way when a dubious goal was paid to Simon Donovan despite it clearly appearing to cross the face of goal and go through for a behind.

However, the goal was paid and the Demons went on to kick the last five goals of the half to lead by 13 points at the main break.

South Fremantle worked its way back into the contest midway through the third quarter thanks to three goals in five minutes to Banner, who only minutes previous had missed a shot directly in front.

He more than made up for it with his three quick goals to bring scores back level, but Perth again steadied to lead by 12 points by three quarter-time and as much as 26 midway through the final quarter.

South Fremantle wouldn’t go away, though, and two quick goals to Gillespie and Guglielmana's third for the afternoon late had the margin just seven points, but that's as close as the Bulldogs got.

South Fremantle's reserves also narrowly went down to Perth by 13 points. Kaiden Matera kicked three goals with John Sgherza making a strong return from injury kicking two to go with 15 possessions.

Eric Moody also booted two goals with Brendan Verrier gathering 26 possessions, Sam Lowrie 22 and Simon Panizza 16 to go with a goal.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs colts scored a resounding 68-point win over Perth to start the day.

Ben Sokol kicked four goals from 23 possessions with Blaine Johnson also kicking four from 21. Cameron McCarthy and Matthew Ah Siu both booted three goals as well with Ben Horsman adding two.

Dylan Main gathered 31 possessions with Matthew Gundry also picking up 19, Tim Stewart 16 and Sheldon Taylor 16.

SOUTH FREMANTLE                        4.4          5.6          9.7          14.8        (92)

PERTH                                                   1.3          7.7          11.7        16.9        (105) 

SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Guglielmana, Mugambwa, Banner 3; Gillespie 2; McCarrey, Carter, Smith.

Best: Miller, Mugambwa, Gulley, Grima, Tighe, Banner, Cook.

PERTH – Goals: Bevan 6; Reimers 4; Donovan 3; Boyle, Lleyendekkers, Bateman.

Best: Bevan, Butler, Smith, Reimers, Moody, Hodge, Sinclair.

By Chris Pike