East Perth consolidated their spot in the top four with an emphatic 48-point win against Perth at Medibank Stadium today.
The 20.16 (136) to 13.10 (88) victory was an important step in the Royals’ bid to play in the finals and a serious dent in the Demons’ hopes of qualifying for next month’s playoffs.
It moved East Perth to third on the WAFL premiership ladder and they are well placed with matches against bottom four sides South Fremantle and Subiaco to round out the qualifying seaso.
West Coast squad members Matt Rosa and Cale Morton played pivotal roles for the winners along with Eagles teammate Adam Selwood, ruckman Paul Johnson, full forward Josh Smith and utility player Jarrod Oakley-Nicholls.
Smith, who had been in doubt for the match with a corked thigh, finished with six goals to boost his hopes of winning this year’s Bernie Naylor Medal.
The 27-year-old led in the battle for the league’s leading goal kicker with 52 before today’s match and is sure to be well clear at the end of round 22.
Morton’s older brother Jarryd tried valiantly to lift the Demons with captain Paul Bevan also among the better players for the beaten team.
East Perth utility player Mat Seal kicked the opening goal of the match, following on from the previous round where he booted seven in the Royals’ 68-point win against co-tenants Subiaco.
The game ebbed and flowed with both teams dominating in bursts in the opening stanza.
East Perth led by four points at the first change after a late goal to Freddie Clutterbuck.
Perth booted four of the first five goals of the second term, two to former Essendon goal-sneak Kyle Reimers, and led by 13 points midway through the quarter.
East Perth rallied to kick five of the remaining six goals, Morton, Dean Cadwallader, Aaron Sweet, Smith and Craig Wulff all finishing accurately to give the Royals a nine-point lead at half time.
Perth’s last score of the quarter, a point to Joel Leeson, appeared to be well after the siren.
The Royals, inspired by a 12-possession quarter to Morton, skipped 29 points clear in the third quarter before late goals to Cameron Manuel and Joel Leeson helped reduce the margin to 15 points at the last change.
Demons key forward Fraser McInnes had a shot on goal to bridge that gap to nine points in the opening minute of the last term.
East Perth kicked the next five goals, three to Smith, to snuff out Perth hopes of victory.
The Demons won the colts by 13 points with the Royals taking the reserves match out by 21 points.
Rowan Brookes, Ashley Boyes and Danny Chartres boosted their chances of a recall to the league side with solid efforts in the reserves for the Royals.
Defender Chartres had 17 possessions, eight marks and three tackles while forward Brookes kicked three goals.
Perth’s emergencies, Brad Fry, Joel Houghton and Reece Richardson were also busy in the early game.
Fry was a standout with 22 possessions, 12 marks and three goals while Houghton had 25 possessions and Richardson 21.
|GOALS – EAST PERTH: Smith 6; Clutterbuck 3; Wulff, Morton, Johnson 2; Cadwallader, Seal, Sweet, Anderson, Oakley-Nicholls. PERTH: Stack 3; Bevan, Reimers, Tunbridge 2; McInnes, Leeson, Morton, Manuel.|
BEST – EAST PERTH: Rosa, C Morton, Smith, Johnson, Oakley-Nicholls, Selwood. PERTH: J Morton, Bevan, Irons, Sketcher, Stack, Kane.
UMPIRES: B Wardman, A Martin, N Brown.
CROWD: 1100 (approx) at Medibank Stadium..