Swan Districts have sealed second spot and the double chance following a hard-fought 19-point win over Perth at Brownes Stadium this afternoon.
The black and whites, who had outplayed Claremont the week before, struggled all day to put the lowly Demons away but defended grimly in the final term to restrict the home side to 1.2 and take the vital victory.
Both teams were without star players with Swans spearhead Ashley Hansen a late withdrawal and Ross Young and Leon Davis both missing for Perth.
The home side eventually got the better of Swan Districts during an error-riddled, but high scoring opening term. Swans looked to have gained control of the play, getting two goals from four consecutive scoring shots after Nick Lower kicked the first goal of the match. But it went goal-for-goal from that point before two late Perth majors gave them a four-point break at quarter time.
It was only Swans’ inaccuracy that prevented them from taking a bigger lead at half time, kicking 3.6 for the second term. Two simple misses from Shaun Hilderbrant were particularly costly while youngsters Murray Newman and Lachie Neale showed cool heads both slotting important goals.
Although kept quieter in the second term, Lower was the most dominant player on the ground to half-time with 18 possessions. Tom Roach led the way for Swans with 16.
Swans looked to be finally putting some distance between themselves and the Demons when they went a game-high 18 points up in the third quarter but once again their plucky opponents responded, kicking two of the last three majors of the term to keep the three-quarter-time deficit to just 10 points.
Swans did all the attacking early in the last quarter but failed to capitalise on their good play, managing just three points in a dominant first 15 minutes. Tensions between supporters in the crowd and the players on the field boiled over when a team-lifting Julian Jacobs goal was denied after Newman was felled off the ball.
A brilliant running goal to Marlon Motlop in the wake of two minor scores from the pressing Demons broke the hearts of the home crowd. However the Perth players did not give up, despite the game meaning little in what has been a disappointing season for the second last placed team.
AFL-listed players Lower and Ash Smith were Perth’s best while Swans benefited from an even contribution from their midfielders with Tony Notte and Tim Geappen strong options for them all day. Tallan Ames was a rock down back for Swans.