South Fremantle staged a remarkable second-half revival to win a 43-goal shoot-out by 12 points at Fremantle Oval today.
Led by first-game player Marlon Pickett, the Bulldogs charged home after trailing by 15 points at half time to take the match 22.13 (145) to 21.7 (133).
The home team kicked 15.1 (91) in the second half to snatch the game from the Royals. who were restricted to 10.4 (64).
Wingman Pickett had one of the best league debuts in recent times, finishing with 26 possessions, nine marks, four clearances, eight inside 50s and three goals in a performance sure to attract the attention of AFL talent scouts.
Forwards Ben Saunders and Kris Miller also featured strongly with five goals apiece, nine in the second half when South Fremantle came storming home.
Bulldogs midfielders Pickett, Ryan Cook, Haiden Schloithe, Mitch Banner, and Tim Kelly were prominent for the winners along with full back Dylan Ross.
West Coast veteran Adam Selwood was among the best players for the Royals with five goals along along with ruckman Paul Johnson, Sandover Medal favourite Brendan Lee, Mat Seal, Craig Wulff and Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls.
East Perth had all the early running, kicking the first five goals of the match to skip 29 points clear at the 20-minute mark of the opening quarter.
South Fremantle responded with two of the next three but still trailed by 20 points at the first change.
The Bulldogs, led by captain Cook, Banner, Schloithe and Pickett worked their way back into the contest in the second quarter.
The home team took the lead twice in the second stanza but goals to Selwood, Dean Cadwallader and Oakley-Nicholls helped the Royals to a 15-point buffer at half time.
South Fremantle stayed in touch during the third term, straightening up to kick 8.0 (48) to East Perth’s 2.3 (15) and lead by six points at the last change.
East Perth’s Michael Swan and Aaron Sweet,booted the first two goals of the last term to move seven points clear.
But South Fremantle had saved their best until last to grab an exciting victory.
The Bulldogs won both the minor grades, taking out the colts by 66 points and the reserves by 29 points, now poised to play in the finals in both minor grades.
Kaiden Matera and Toby Bairstow boosted their chances of a recall to the senior team for next week’s match against Perth at Brownes Stadium with encouraging efforts in the reserves for South Fremantle.
Matera kicked six goals while league regular Bairstow had 30 possessions, three tackles, four inside 50s and kicked a goal.
Mitchell Howlett, an emergency for East Perth, did well in the early game with 25 possessions, seven marks, three tackles and four inside 50s.SCOREBOARD
|GOALS – SOUTH FREMANTLE:. Miller, Saunders 5; Mugambwa, Pickett 3; Schloithe 2; Guglielmana, White, Cook, B Johnson. EAST PERTH: Selwood 5; Bennell 4; Cadwallader, Sweet, Oakley-Nicholls, Swan 2; Seal, Lee, Johnson, Clutterbuck. .|
BEST – SOUTH FREMANTLE: Pickett, Miller, Saunders, Cook, Banner, Ross, Schloithe. EAST PERTH: P Johnson, Selwood, Seal, Lee, Oakley-Nicholls, Wulff.
INJURIES – SOUTH FREMANTLE: Gillespie (shoulder). EAST PERTH:''' Selwood (cut head).
UMPIRES: S Parry, M Worobec, P McCaw.
CROWD: 2100 (approx) at Fremantle Oval.