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Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 7:20 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle has set up a battle for top spot with Subiaco this Sunday on the back of an eighth consecutive victory over Swan Districts with a lot to like in a 36-point win at Steel Blue Oval.

South Fremantle and Swan Districts were meeting for the first time this season and at Steel Blue Oval for the first time since Round 1, 2019, and it was the Bulldogs who proved too strong in the battle of two teams locked inside the top five.

The Bulldogs kicked away with four quick goals in the second quarter and with Blake Schlensog and Mason Shaw on fire in attack, and debutant Jesse Motlop kicking a couple of goals, they put the game beyond doubt in the third quarter.

South Fremantle went on to record the 15.5 (95) to 9.5 (59) victory to make it eight in-a-row against Swan Districts and also three straight this season.

That sees the Bulldogs improve to a 9-3 record this season to remain just percentage out of top spot ahead of Sunday's top-of-the-table clash with Subiaco at Leederville Oval.

South Fremantle came into the game without captain Dylan Main and premiership players Ben Rioli and Brock Higgins while losing reigning fairest and best winner Zac Strom to a hand injury early, but it didn’t slow them down.

The Bulldogs forward-line worked a treat with Mason Shaw kicking five goals, Blake Schlensog and debutant Jesse Motlop two to go with 13 disposals, six marks and four tackles in an impressive first up performance.

Haiden Schloithe was a dominant presence in the midfield too for the Bulldogs with 33 possessions while Tom Blechynden also had 33 disposals, Jacob Dragovich 32, Nick Suban 28, Matthew Ward 21 and ruckman Hamish Free did well up against Corey Gault with 10 touches and 28 hit outs.

The Bulldogs back-line was terrific again led by Noah Strom while Chad Pearson finished with 24 possessions and eight marks, Toby McQuilkin 20 disposals and eight marks, and Jason Maskos 12 touches and five marks.

A clever finish from midfielder Tom Blechynden gave South Fremantle the ideal start on their first visit to Bassendean in two and-a-half years.

Blake Schlensog then continued to enjoy his move forward to give South Fremantle the first two goals of the game but Swan Districts was able to pull one back through Jesse Palmer with a smart finish from the boundary just before quarter-time.

South Fremantle's tall forward-line then really began to pay dividends in the opening part of the second quarter. In the space of seven minutes, Jimmy Miller and Mason Shaw combined for three goals and suddenly the Bulldogs were on top by 25 points.

Haiden Schloithe stretched that to a 31-point edge soon after and while Swans did get one back with a terrific finish from Jiah Reidy on the 50m line, South Fremantle remained in control leading by 25 points at the half-time break

A second of the afternoon to Schlensog saw South Fremantle open up a 31-point edge to start the second half and while Swans responded courtesy of Matt Riggio, the Bulldogs were in no mood to take their foot off the gas.

Teenage excitement machine Jesse Motlop kicked his first goal on debut shortly after before Shaw added his third of the day, Schlensog his third and Motlop a second just before three quarter-time with the Bulldogs well on top to the tune of 43 points.

Shaw kicked his fourth and fifth goals, and Schlensog his fourth in the opening quarter to see South Fremantle open up a game high 49-point lead before Swan Districts finished the game with the final two goals courtesy of Lewis Jetta.

The day began at Steel Blue Oval with Swan Districts' colts beating South Fremantle 11.13 (79) to 4.6 (30).

Caleb Stephens was simply brilliant for the Bulldogs despite the result with 35 possessions, seven tackles, seven inside 50s and two goals.

Liam Brandis and Julian Hulten were the other goal scorers for South Fremantle while Caden Turnbull picked up 27 disposals, Tyler Piazzola 19 and Christian Wilson 18.

Then in the reserves contest, South Fremantle defeated Swan Districts 5.10 (40) to 2.6 (18).

Jacob Warne kicked three goals and Josh Collard two while Regan Spooner racked up 31 possessions, George Wessels 28, Seaton Thompson 26, Jack Musika 26, Kye Barker 21 and Jaxon Bellchambers 21.


SOUTH FREMANTLE        2.2    6.4    12.5    15.5 (95)
SWAN DISTRICTS        1.1    2.3    5.4    9.5 (59)

SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Shaw 5; Schlensog 4; Motlop 2; Schloithe, Blechynden, Miller, Kelly.
Best – Schloithe, Blechynden, Schlensog, Dragovich, Shaw, Suban, Pearson, McQuilkin, N Strom.
SWAN DISTRICTS: Goals – Jetta, Reidy, Noble 2; Palmer, Clarke, Riggio.
Best – Fisher, Turner, Cipro, Clarke, Riley, Erceg, Beck, Riggio.