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Monday, April 5, 2021 - 6:00 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle's premiership defence got off to a perfect start with the Bulldogs going on a run of kicking eight of nine goals either side of three quarter-time to set up the 21-point win against West Perth.

It was quite the spectacular Saturday afternoon at Fremantle Community Bank Oval to both mark the premiership triumph of 2020 and then to open the 2021 season.

The premiership cup entered Fremantle Community Bank Oval via helicopter with former South Fremantle great and 2021 Ball Legend Craig Edwards along with the lucky Bulldogs Member and competition winner arriving from the air with the cup in hand.

That was quite the spectacular sight and then it was time for the reigning premiers to hit the field for the first time since that flag triumph and it was yet another tough battle with West Perth that unfolded.

West Perth even managed to lead by 14 points midway through the third quarter, but from that point South Fremantle would kick four of the last five goals of the third term, and then the first four of the last to secure the eventual 16.10 (106) to 13.7 (85) victory.

He is already a South Fremantle premiership player, but Saturday was just his third game for the Bulldogs and Cody Ninyette was an excitement machine in attack to kick five goals from 15 possessions.

Reigning Bernie Naylor Medallist Mason Shaw kicked four goals as well for the Bulldogs from 12 disposals and eight marks.

Haiden Schloithe was brilliant kicking two goals to go with 30 possessions, seven tackles and six inside-50 entries while Brandon Donaldson also kicked two goals from 25 disposals.

Matthew Parker marked his return to South Fremantle by playing most of the game on the wing and racking up 26 possessions to go with 11 inside 50s and five tackles.

Jacob Dragovich also picked up 22 disposals for the Bulldogs, Dylan Main 18 and Jimmy Miller 17 to go with six marks. Brock Higgins stood tall again in the ruck with 15 touches and 48 hit outs.

There was some impressive efforts down back for South Fremantle too with Noah Strom having another fascinating battle with Tyler Keitel while debutant Blake Schlensog was outstanding at centre half-back with 12 disposals and five marks. Chad Pearson had 17 possessions too.

West Perth got the game's opening goal but Cody Ninyette got the immediate response for South Fremantle showing his cleverness at ground level and to finish impressively.

Caleb Datson then marked on the lead and went back to drill it as another answering goal from South Fremantle, and things continued to go goal for goal with Ninyette's second of the opening term for the Bulldogs cutting the Falcons lead back to a point at quarter-time.

It took more than 10 minutes of the second quarter for the first goal and that went West Perth's way through Tyler Keitel, but South Fremantle got the quick response through the clever Brandon Donaldson.

Haiden Schloithe then showed his class by swooping on a loose ball and goaling on the road. The Bulldogs then went up by 10 points with Donaldson kicking truly again before West Perth closed the gap to four points at half-time with Keitel's third of the half.

The game really opened up in the third quarter and it took just four minutes for West Perth to put three goals on the board and lead by 14 points. Mason Shaw and Rudy Riddoch then exchanged goals with the Falcons retaining the 14-point edge.

But then the Bulldogs got rolling firstly with a third to Ninyette and then a first to Jimmy Miller. Shaw added his second before Ninyette kicked a fourth just before three quarter-time to put South Fremantle on top by four points at the last change.

The game was right up for grabs at three quarter-time but South Fremantle soon put it out of reach with four goals in the opening 10 minutes of the last term. Ninyette booted a fifth, Schloithe his second and Shaw his third and fourth as the Bulldogs led by 29, and would go on to win by 21.

Meanwhile, the day started at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with South Fremantle's colts beating West Perth 15.11 (101) to 13.9 (87).

Julian Hulten set the oval alight for the Bulldogs kicking six goals to go with 15 possessions and six marks. Lochlan Bloomer also kicked three goals, Angus Fraser two and Jesse Motlop two.

Caleb Stephens gathered 22 possessions for South Fremantle, Aaron Drage 20, Fraser 17, Motlop 17 and Toby Dodds 16.

Then in the reserves it was West Perth defeating South Fremantle 11.10 (76) to 7.8 (50).

Travis Abbott kicked three goals for South Fremantle with Regan Spooner gathering 30 possessions, Matthew Ward 24, Steven Edwards 24, Seaton Thompson 22 and Toby McQuilkin 19.

South Fremantle now heads to Claremont's Revo Fitness Stadium this Saturday to take on the Tigers.


SOUTH FREMANTLE        3.3    6.4    11.5    16.10 (106)
WEST PERTH            3.4    5.6    10.7    13.7 (85)

SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Ninyette 5; Shaw 4; Donaldson, Schloithe 2; Datson, Miller, Suban.
Best – Schloithe, Donaldson, Parker, Ninyette, Schlensog, Higgins, Dragovich.
WEST PERTH: Goals – Keitel, Knott 4; Alexandre, Black, Moulton, Riddoch, West. 
Best – Nelson, Manzone, Black, Wilhelm, Guadagnin, West.