East Fremantle are making sure that their finals fate remains firmly in their hands after an unexpected 63-point drubbing of Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday afternoon.
After slipping out of finals contention in the finals round of 2011, coach Steve Malaxos has made it very clear to his side that they had to cement their spot early this year, and their 20.16 (136) to 11.7 (73) win has them well on track.
Swan Districts, meanwhile, will be hoping key forward Ash Hansen will return from injury soon and reignite their fading form.
The Sharks had the upper hand in the early stages as both sides did their best to orchestrate a scrappy affair despite the perfect conditions.
Brad Dick opened his account with the first goal of the afternoon but the confidence he gained from the major took a serious dent as he sprayed three other relatively easy opportunities for the term.
The Eagles rookie was not the only Sharks player costing his side in front of goals though, with a number of missed opportunities meaning the visitors went into the second term with only an 11-point lead.
Stern words from Malaxos saw the visitors rectify their goalkicking yips in the second stanza as seven individual players hit the scoreboard to open up a 53-point lead.
Koby Stevens, Steven Dodd and Shaun Henson led the charge through the middle as a run of seven straight goals effectively ended the contest before halftime.
While Swans had their share of the ball through the middle, breakdowns at half-forward and half-back saw them give the ball away far too easily.
The absence of the side’s two leading goalkickers in Hansen and Michael Walters was telling, with Tony Notte and Dayle Garlett – returning from the State under-18s – struggling to find any room.
Justin Monaco goaled for East Fremantle just before the halftime siren to make it nine goals to two for the quarter.
The Swans came out re-invigorated in the third term as Lachie Neale, Matt Riggio and Marlon Motlop set up a number of opportunities.
But again the Sharks had the answers, with goals to Dick, Stevens and Max Duffy meaning they won the term again.
The home side were prepared to have a dig in the final term and kicked the first two goals, but again the Sharks brigade of runners slipped through too many black and white fingers.
The win gives East Fremantle some breathing space in second place, behind Claremont only on percentage.
|GOALS – EAST FREMANTLE: B. O’Brien, B.Dick 4, M Duffy, K Stevens, A Waight 3, L Weller, R O’Brien, Monaco|
SWAN DISTRICTS: T Geappen 5, R Davis 2, Garlett, L Neale, Notte, Riggio
BEST – EAST FREMANTLE: K Stevens, S Dodd, J Schofield, A Stephen, S Henson, R O’Brien.
SWAN DISTRICTS: L Neale, M Motlop, T Geappen, S Hildebrandt, J Blight, T Roach.
INJURIES – EAST FREMANTLE: M Brown (leg)
UMPIRES: T Keating, S McPhee, N Brown
CROWD: 1900 (approx) at Steel Blue Oval.