East Fremantle sounded a serious warning to their rivals and gave their finals hopes a massive boost with a thumping 73-point win over West Perth today.
The Sharks moved into the top four at Swan Districts’ expense after beating the second-placed Falcons, 20.14 (134) to 9.7 (61).
Big man Rob Young and West Coast forward Brad Dick kicked four goals each, while midfielders Rory O’Brien (38 possessions) and Mark McGough (32) were at their best in the engine room.
East Fremantle kicked nine goals in the third quarter to take a stranglehold on the game and continued their dominance in the final term to give their percentage a welcome boost.
But the win came at a cost, with James Bayliss (knee) and Dockers forward Max Duffy (hamstring) suffering injuries that will keep them out of this week’s crunch clash with Swans.
West Perth lost veteran forward Anthony Tsalikis to a broken collarbone before half-time.
East Fremantle coach Steve Malaxos was encouraged by his side’s performance, particularly in the second half.
“I’m very pleased with the win but we’re keeping it in context because West Perth had a number of players out,” Malaxos said.
“It does give us confidence but that’s tempered a bit.
“The boys played really well.
“I thought we moved the ball well and the intensity was good.
“We tightened up very well after the first quarter.”
Teenager Benjamin McNamara booted a goal with his first kick in league football to give West Perth an early advantage and the home side held sway until quarter-time.
Dick capitalised on a 50m penalty to put East Fremantle in front early in the second term, but his West Coast teammate Mark Hutchings returned fire with two goals of his own to restore West Perth’s lead.
The teams traded blows throughout the second quarter, with the lead changing hands five times in a see-sawing contest.
East Fremantle took control early in the second half, kicking nine goals to one in a scintillating third-quarter display.
Three of the Sharks’ goals came from free kicks as the Falcons’ defenders struggled to cope with quick forward entries from their opponents.
Young kicked three for the quarter.
West Perth captain Jason Salecic kicked a goal from deep in the pocket late in the third quarter to break a run of 10 consecutive East Fremantle goals.
But the Sharks’ dominance continued in the final term as they cruised to a resounding victory.
The win was the perfect way for former Dockers defender Steven Dodd to celebrate his 100th game for East Fremantle.
Despite the result, West Perth could consider the day somewhat of a success after a big WAFL crowd of 6195 fans turned out for the Falcons’ International Round promotion.
Club representatives visited 35 schools during the build-up to the game and gave away 30,000 free tickets in a bid to attract new supporters from diverse backgrounds.
|GOALS – EAST FREMANTLE: Young, Dick 4; Perham, Hancock, Cronan, Howson 2; Tropiano, Peake, MacDougall, Edwards. |
WEST PERTH: Mellington, Hutchings 2; Salecic, Nelson, Potente, Manning, McNamara.
BEST – EAST FREMANTLE: O’Brien, Young, Dick, Stephen, McGough, Bayliss, Tropiano.
WEST PERTH: Mellington, Potente, Hutchings, Black, Stockley.
INJURIES – EAST FREMANTLE: Duffy (hamstring), Bayliss (knee). WEST PERTH: Tsalikis (broken collarbone).
UMPIRES: P McCaw, M Worobec, M Adams.
CROWD: 6195 at Arena Joondalup.