South Fremantle have ended the premiership reign of the Lions with an 18-point victory in today’s WAFL grand final at Subiaco Oval.
The minor premiers kicked away in the third term before holding off Subiaco late in the match, eventually winning 17.11 (113) to 13.17 (95).
The result gave South Fremantle their first premiership win since 2005 and 13th flag in the club’s history.
Subiaco entered the match attempting to win their fourth consecutive premiership but were unable to give retiring veterans Brad Smith and Allistair Pickett the ultimate farewell.
Both sides went into the game unchanged with much of the pre-game focus on returning veterans Peter Bell and Jeff Farmer.
Subiaco burst out of the starting blocks in the opening quarter with forward Trent Dennis-Lane kicking the opening goal just 20 seconds into the match.
The Bulldogs quickly settled and made their mark on the scoreboard when Callum Wilson kicked a booming 50m goal from the left pocket but a shoulder injury to defender Craig White threatened to derail their momentum.
Pickett slotted his first goal eight minutes in to give Subiaco back the lead but the Bulldogs finished the term well to lead by 11 points at quarter time.
Rain fell to start the second term as the match quickly developed into an arm wrestle.
A brilliant chase down from behind by Bulldogs defender Kyle Hams stopped a near certain goal to Dennis-Lane at the four-minute mark of the quarter in a sign of the desperation shown by both teams.
Subiaco midfielder Chad Fletcher won a free kick in front off goal mid-way through the term to narrow the margin to nine points.
Yet it was South Fremantle that looked more threatening approaching the main break with a late goal by utility Andrew Siegert stretching the margin to three goals at half time.
Wilson’s fourth goal slotted a minute into the third term opened the floodgates as South Fremantle piled on five consecutive goals.
When a smother set up a superb running goal by Bell, the Bulldogs had stretched their lead to six goals.
No more were Subiaco’s flagging fortunes more evident than in Smith, who had his first kick of the match at the term’s 14-minute mark.
The Bulldogs were reduced to one fit man on the interchange bench early in the final term but were too far in front to be threatened by a late Subiaco charge.
Defender Ashton Hams limited the influence of the dangerous Dennis-Lane in the first half and finished with 28 touches to be among his side’s best.
He was well supported by Sam Hunt, who blanketed Smith, while Wilson finished the match with five goals.
Fletcher had a game-high 41 disposals and was one his side’s few four-quarter contributors alongside Ben Keevers.
SOUTH FREMANTLE 5.3 ... 8.8 ... 15.10 ... 17.11 (113)
SUBIACO 3.4 ... 5.8 ... 7.11 ... 13.17 (95)
GOALS — SOUTH FREMANTLE: Wilson 5; Wilkie, T. Adams, Mugambwa 2; Farmer, Bell, Graham, K. Hams, Head, Siegert. SUBIACO: Dennis-Lane 4; Keevers, Fletcher 2; Cossom, Pickett, Newick, Adamson-Holmes, Broadhurst.
BEST — SOUTH FREMANTLE: A. Hams, Bell, Wilson, Hunt, Miller, T. Adams. SUBIACO: Fletcher, Stenglein, Keevers, Webb.
INJURIES — SOUTH FREMANTLE: C. White (shoulder), Dell’Olio (head), Head (arm).
UMPIRES: Parry, Hendrie, Statham.
CROWD: 22,727 at Subiaco Oval.