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Monday, May 10, 2021 - 1:26 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle was able to hold out a determined East Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday afternoon to claim a seven-point win and continue their strong start to the 2021 season.

South Fremantle came into the game against the winless East Perth on the back of handing Subiaco its first defeat of the WAFL season the previous week, but coach Todd Curley had put the acid on his team to not show signs of complacency and to deliver an improved showing.

But the Royals were never going to make that easy and they put in a spirited performance for the whole four quarters to take the challenge right up to the Bulldogs.

South Fremantle did kick away to a 22-point lead late in the third quarter, but East Perth refused to go away and the Royals actually dominated the majority of the final term.

They got as close as two points but couldn’t quite manage the go-ahead goal before Jimmy Miller kicked the sealer for South Fremantle after a 50m penalty, and the Bulldogs would prevail 10.4 (64) to 8.9 (57).

The win improves South Fremantle to a 4-1 record after five matches this season ahead of this week's break for the State Game which sees the WAFL take on South Australia in Adelaide on Saturday.

East Perth might still be winless after five matches, but there was plenty to be encouraged about with their endeavour against the reigning premiers.

Haiden Schloithe continued his remarkable form for South Fremantle with another best on ground display made up of 35 possessions, eight marks, six tackles and three goals.

Cody Ninyette kicked another two goals for the Bulldogs from just four kicks and four marks.

Tom Blechynden had his first chance to expend extended time on the ball in his WAFL career and he made the most of it by finishing with 26 possessions. Jacob Dragovich also had 21 disposals, Brandon Donaldson 18, Matthew Parker 18 and George Wessels 15 to go with 12 tackles.

South Fremantle's back-line held up strongly again too led by Noah Strom with his battle with Eddie Simpson. Blake Schlensog ended up with 28 possessions and 12 marks, Chad Pearson 25 disposals and six marks, Jason Maskos 19 touches and nine marks, and Kye Barker 18 possessions and five marks.

Eddie Simpson and Jayden Magro kicked two goals apiece for East Perth while down back, Brad Fullgrabe did a superb job holding reigning Bernie Naylor Medallist Mason Shaw to one goal and three kicks. 

Aidan Lynch racked up 35 possessions for the Royals, Angus Scott 28, Nick Robertson 27, Stan Wright 24 and Rohan Kerr to go with 13 marks.

East Perth started the game well and got the first goal on the board through Jayden Magro before South Fremantle steadied managing three goals in the space of eight minutes.

They came from Brandon Donaldson, Cody Ninyette to help the Bulldogs to a 10-point lead at quarter-time despite both teams managing three scoring shots apiece.

The Bulldogs then opened the second quarter with a second goal to Ninyette to stretch their lead to 16 points, but the Royals responded through Shayne Hille and then Matthew Young to stay in touch.

South Fremantle again kicked away shortly before half-time with goals to Matthew Parker and Haiden Schloithe, but East Perth pulled one back through Mitch Dobson just before the siren to be within 10 points at the main break.

Suddenly it was just a four-point ball game with Eddie Simpson kicking truly for East Perth to start the second half. 

A couple of goals from Schloithe as he continued his remarkable form steadied things for the Bulldogs again, but a late goal before three quarter-time to Simpson get the Royals within 16 points.

It was then all East Perth in the final term. The Royals dominated play and continued to attack. Eventually they got two goals to show for it through Magro and Thomas Edwards-Baldwin, and they sent a real scare into the Bulldogs when just two points and with all the momentum.

But when Jimmy Miller took a powerful mark on the wing, an over exuberant Rohan Kerr ran in to tackle him before play on was called, and the 50m penalty was award with Miller going on to kick a goal that never looked like missing to seal the hard fought eight-point win for South Fremantle.

Earlier in the day at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, South Fremantle's reserves had a big finish to beat East Perth 8.9 (57) to 8.5 (53). The Bulldogs trailed the Royals by 19 points at three quarter-time, but kicked the only four goals of the last term to win by four points.

Darryl Anderson kicked two goals for South Fremantle while Matthew Ward had 23 possessions, Jarrad Doney 20, Toby McQuilkin 20 and Caleb Datson 19.

The colts contest took place at Leederville Oval on Sunday with East Perth narrowly beating South Fremantle 11.7 (73) to 10.5 (65).

Liam Brandis, Jacob Plunkett, Harry Elphick and Chase Bourke all kicked two goals apiece for the Bulldogs with Caleb Stephens gathering 20 disposals, Steely Green 17, Aaron Drage 17, Bourke 17, Plunkett 16 and Regard Ward 16.


SOUTH FREMANTLE        3.0    6.1    9.4    10.4 (64)
EAST PERTH            1.2    4.3    6.6    8.9 (57)

SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Schloithe 3; Ninyette 2; Donaldson, Edwards, Shaw, Miller, Parker.
Best – Schloithe, Schlensog, N Strom, Blechynden, Pearson, Maskos, Dragovich.
EAST PERTH: Goals – Magro, Simpson 2; Hille, Young, Edwards-Baldwin, Dobson.
Best – Lynch, Scott, Robertson, Fullgrabe, Kerr, Blee, Wright.