WAFL R7 & WAFLW R11 Wrap Up with Jacob Landsmeer - Thanks to The Left Bank

Monday, May 13, 2024 - 12:11 PM

Sharks fall short in Royal struggle

East Fremantle’s up and down 2024 campaign has continued, suffering a narrow three point defeat to East Perth at Fremantle Oval on Saturday. 

In a high intensity match between two quality teams, it was the Royals who held their nerve in a tense last quarter, seeing off a wave of inside 50’s from the Sharks to record a 10.6 (66) to 9.9 (63) result. 

In a match decided by such small margins, the reigning premiers were left to lament their inefficiency inside 50, kicking just nine goals from 56 entries in to their forward fifty metre arc. 

The much-anticipated matchup between the sides was greeted by mild and sunny conditions, some morning rain perhaps making conditions slightly slippery underfoot at the Sharks makeshift home venue, East Fremantle Oval still yet to be given the all clear to see its first game of football post redevelopment. 

The teams had split their battles 1-1 in 2023, both teams seen as genuine contenders for this years crown in a match that would go a long way to shaping the top five. 

Midfield star Milan Murdock opened the scoring after winning a 50 metre penalty, kicking truly from 35 metres out to get the Sharks on the board. 

The tackling pressure and physicality was on show from both midfield groups early, the Royals able to hit the scoreboard through Christian Ameduri before Cody Leggett slotted a lovely goal from left full forward after a sizzling Ben McGuire pass.

The Royals midfield eventually took control of the opening term, kicking four unanswered goals to break out to a 17 point quarter time lead. 

East Fremantle fought back in the second stanza but struggled initially to convert despite dominating territory, the first goal of the term coming after 17 minutes and four behinds to Jarrad Jansen. 

A boundary line bender from Tom Bennett gave the home side two goals in a minute, before Cameron Eardley leapt to the skies to pluck a big grab on the wing, an early contender for mark of the year. 

Ben McGuire slotted a goal against his former side to give the Sharks the lead, grabbing his jumper to leave no one wondering where his WAFL football loyalty lies after being a key part of last year’s premiership side. 

In a game of momentum swings East Fremantle made it four goals in a row when Jansen slotted truly on the run, the Royals able to steady just before half time with a major to Tom Medhat. 

However Bill Monaghan’s men perhaps should have been further in front, recording 23 inside 50’s to two for the term but only a five point lead to show for their efforts. 

East Perth had the better of the third term, taking their opportunities in front of goal as co-captain Ameduri popped up with two vital goals.

Kyle Baskerville steadied things with a set shot goal from inside 50, Bennett then with his second after a slick handpass from Cody Leggett to make the margin five points the Royals way at the final change. 

The final quarter had all the hallmarks of a finals contest, immense pressure on both teams with a crucial four premiership points up for grabs.

Tom Graham hit the scoreboard first to give East Perth some breathing room, before a huge pack mark from Leggett and a calm finish made the margin three points at the twelve-minutemark. 

It would prove to be the final goal of an absorbing contest, the Sharks attacking relentlessly without being able to find the target they so desired, East Perth able to apply pressure and force the skilful Sharks wide to make their task difficult. 

Ultimately the Royals did enough to cling on, registering a behind with the final disposal of the contest to make it five wins from their first six matches, establishing themselves as an early season premiership favourite along with Peel Thunder. 

As for Monaghan’s men, they were left to rue their forward 50 efforts despite having more disposals and 15 more entries than East Perth. 

Tom Joyce was superb in the clinches for the Sharks with 33 disposals and 8 tackles, Baskerville with 27 and 12 tackles to also have a big impact on the match. 

Defenders Lennon Marlin (20 disposals and 5 marks) and Eardley (19 disposals and 8 marks) were watertight as ever, shutting down many an East Perth attacking foray. 

Brynn Teakle had an excellent battle with Jedd Edwards, the Sharks big man perhaps just edging him out with 18 disposals and 26 hitouts. 

East Fremantle head of football Brad Dodd lamented a day of missed opportunities for the league side. 

“It was a tough, hard-fought game where we felt we didn’t get any value from our inside 50 entries,” Dodd said. 

“Credit to East Perth, who defended stoutly.”

The match is the last before the state game on Sunday 19th May, with the Sharks returning a 3-3-win loss record to sit in fifth spot, Dodd still confident of a strong season for the blue and whites. 

“Overall, a slightly frustrating first 6 games - with a win and 2 losses by under a goal, so we go into the State game bye with an opportunity to work on some areas we need to be better in. 

“It’s a long season, but we can’t keep falling down in the same areas.”

Earlier in the day the Sharks Reserves produced a stirring comeback against East Perth, overcoming a 21-point half time deficit to win by nine points 12.11 (83) to 11.8 (74). 

Jackson McDonald had 31 disposals coming back from a week off in round six, while Blaine Boekhorst (25 disposals) looked classy in his second match back from a knee reconstruction. 

Jack Cocking kicked 3.3 to continue his push for a league debut, while Dillon O’Reilly (18 disposals and a goal) was solid in his third reserves outing after a knee injury pre-season delayed his start to the year. 

Phoenix Knight also kicked three goals in the Sharks third win of the Reserves campaign, currently sitting in fifth spot. 

The Colts also finished the stronger earlier in the day, kicking five goals to nil in the final stanza to win by 27 points, 11.11 (77) to 7.8 (50). 

Declan Pauline continued to rack up the numbers, recording 26 disposals and a goal while Presley Campbell and Elijah Stockden also had 26 touches to be influential. 

Josh Nomlatyu continued his good goalkicking form with 3.2 to be the most impactful forward on the ground, East Fremantle’s next generation looking strong in third spot with three wins and two losses, behind Claremont and Subiaco. 

East Fremantle’s womens season continued to move in a positive direction, making it six wins in a row with a hard fought 17 point win over West Perth on Sunday. 

Matt Templeton’s side again showed their class as the game went on, able to push away from another opponent in the final quarter having only led by five points at the last change. 

East Fremantle then steadied by kicking three goals to none in the last term, all but securing a finals spot in the process. 

Chloe Reilly kicked two goals as did Sarah Wielstra, while Zipporah Fish continued her dominant season with 21 disposals and Chloe Wrigley was strong with 18 touches. 

Emmelie Fiedler was dominant in ruck with 12 disposals and 29 hitouts, giving her midfield first use and allowing the Sharks to gain field position. 

The result keeps East Fremantle in touch with top of the table Claremont, the teams again on a collision course to meet in a third successive Grand Final with 8-1 win-loss records. 

The Rogers Cup result wasn’t quite as positive, the young guns suffering an eight point defeat to the unbeaten West Perth. 

The Sharks led by 21 points at half time, only to concede six goals to two in the second half to suffer a 7.10 (52) to 7.2 (44) loss. 

Avuya Nomlatyu kicked 3 goals and Elsie Simpson kicked two for East Fremantle, the Sharks sitting in third spot having won seven of their ten matches. 

All men’s grades have the bye next weekend due to the state game, while the womens league and Rogers Cup sides head to Mandurah to face Peel Thunder in round 12 of their respective competitions.