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Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 10:10 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle played out a dramatic and controversial draw with West Perth on Saturday afternoon at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Dylan Main appeared to have been the hero with a late goal for the Bulldogs but then West Perth got one late from Tyler Keitel after a free-kick and the two teams couldn’t be separated.

It's the first draw South Fremantle has played in since 1997 with East Perth and it's the first with West Perth since Round 6, 1984.

It does cap a successful month still for South Fremantle against the teams who were all in top five positions at the time. Coming off a tough loss to West Coast, the Bulldogs beat Claremont, Swan Districts and East Fremantle, and drew with West Perth.

With South Fremantle coming into the game in third spot and in its best run of form of the season and West Perth sitting on top having won its last couple, it was always going to be a fascinating match up at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in Round 15.

It's a ground South Fremantle has dominated at in recent times against West Perth having won 10 of the last 11 meetings there between the two teams with outlier being the 2018 preliminary final.

That set the stage for a fascinating afternoon and it appeared South Fremantle had done enough to make it four straight wins when captain Dylan Main snapped truly at the 26-minute mark.

However, West Perth's Tyler Keitel kicked a goal from a free-kick in the ruck contest at the 29-minute mark to tie scores up and that's where they stayed, with both teams scoring 9.11 (65) for the game.

The Bulldogs slip to fourth with the draw to be half a game behind both East Fremantle and Claremont, and a game and-a-half ahead of the fifth placed Peel Thunder.

South Fremantle captain Dylan Main kicked two goals to have now managed six in the last two games to show he might be an answer to the Bulldogs finding more ways to score in the back half of the season.

Tom Blechynden continued the best run of form in his 44-game career for South Fremantle with another 29 possessions and five tackles while Haiden Schloithe was terrific once more with 24 touches, 11 tackles and a goal.

Glenn Byron gathered 23 possessions for the Bulldogs, Steve Verrier 22, Brendon Ah Chee 21, Brandon Donaldson 21, Zac Strom 20, Chad Pearson 19 and Toby McQuilkin 19 while Hamish Free racked up 58 hit outs.

West Perth kicked the first goal of the game courtesy of Tyler Keitel and it took almost 10 minutes for another which went the way of South Fremantle thanks to Manfred Kelly.

Haiden Schloithe then put the Bulldogs in front but it was just a one-point lead by quarter-time after a late West Perth goal from Rudy Riddoch in his 101st WAFL appearance.

After a string of West Perth behinds to open the second term, South Fremantle went back in front thanks to Brandon Donaldson before the scoring really dried up.

There would be 13 minutes in between goals, but West Perth then kicked two in the space of three minutes from Sasha Kernutt and Riddoch to take a 10-point lead into the major break.

South Fremantle got the perfect start to the second half with a goal to Caleb Datson in less than 30 seconds.

West Perth's second-gamer Joe Hinder kicked truly at the 10-minute to push West Perth back out to a nine-point edge, but the game was up for grabs at three quarter-time with the Falcons only clinging to a two-point lead with Dylan Main keeping South Fremantle close.

It would turn out to be quite the dramatic final quarter with Kernutt firstly putting West Perth back in front by seven points when he kicked truly.

Nick Suban drew scores level when he kicked a goal for the Bulldogs at the 11-minute mark before Tom Blechynden put the home team a goal in front.

The Bulldogs clung to that lead for eight minutes until incomprehensively Aidan Lynch was found all alone 30m out from goal straight in front. He took the mark, played on and slotted it to put the Falcons a point in front.

A behind for South Fremantle levelled things up before a frantic foray forward saw Bulldogs skipper Main snap out of congestion on his left boot. It bounced through and South Fremantle appeared to have snatched it.

It wasn’t to be though. At a ruck contest in West Perth's forward 50, Keitel was deemed to have been interfered with by the non-contesting South Fremantle ruckman. He went back and coolly slotted it to draw things level.

South Fremantle had one last attack and a snap into the goal square was rushed through for a behind, but it took place just after the siren and the two teams ended up all square at 9.11 (65) apiece.


SOUTH FREMANTLE        2.3    3.4    6.7    9.11 (65)
WEST PERTH            2.2    4.8    6.9    9.11 (65)

SOUTH FREMANTLE: Goals – Main 2; Schloithe, Kelly, Blechynden, Suban, Donaldson, Bellchambers, Datson.
Best – Schloithe, Blechynden, Free, Byron, McQuilkin, Donaldson, Schlensog.
WEST PERTH: Goals – Keitel, Riddoch, Kernutt 2; A Lynch, Dobson, Hinder.
Best – Nelson, A Lynch, Hamilton, Peirce, Meadows, Pegoraro.