Subiaco got the win. East Fremantle got the home final.
In a dour clash between the second and third teams who both had a bigger eye on next week than four mostly irrelevant points, the Lions just outlasted their opponents to win the final qualifying match of the season by 25 points.
But the Sharks will host Swan Districts in the first semifinal at home next Sunday after achieving what they set out to do at Medibank Stadium yesterday.
East Fremantle were guaranteed a home final as long as they didn’t lose by more than 36 points and they had put that risk to bed by early in the last quarter when scores were level.
Inspired by the presence of their 2004 premiership team, but perhaps reluctant to reveal too much in front of numerous East Perth and Swans players and coaches in the modest crowd, Subiaco produced a vibrant burst late in the error-riddled match to win 12.9 (81) to 8.8 (56).
Both teams appeared concerned about next week and were content to take a cautious
approach to physical contests.
One exception was Subiaco captain Kyal Horsley, whose outstanding commitment brought 36 disposals and perhaps enough votes to secure a maiden Sandover Medal.
Brock O’Brien has been in the best form of his career and he lifted his level of performance even further with a remarkable display at half-back.
The dashing left-footer had collected the ball 30 times by the last break and topped off his stellar display with a 60m running goal that extended East Fremantle’s lead thi the biggest of the match.
The first 45 minutes was marred by both teams bumbling and fumbling their way forward with little purpose or design.
Shane Yarran popped up twice to claim and convert excellent contested marks but there were few other highlights in the dour contest.
Subiaco started to play with greater poise late in the first half and their renaissance appeared to inspire the Sharks who squared the scoreboard with two late goals.
O’Brien was the architect of the first as he ran from defence and speared the ball to Brett Peake’s advantage in the goal square while Michael Edwards soon completed a neat passage into attack.
|GOALS – SUBIACO: Yarran, Boland 3; Horsley, Le Fanu, Stockley, J De Luca, Wade, Delahunty. EAST FREMANTLE: Chartres 2; B O’Brien, Peake, Perham, Stephen, Chalwell, Edwards.|
BEST – SUBIACO: Horsley, Yarran, Leishman, Joyce, Twomey, Stockley. EAST FREMANTLE: B O’Brien, Dodd, Howlett, Eardley, Dorotich, Chartres.