East Perth have avoided a shock loss to Swan Districts in a rain-soaked game at Medibank Stadium this afternoon, with three last-quarter goals seeing them escape with an 18-point win.
The Swans grabbed the advantage early in the match and led at every change, but when the rain began to fall in the final term it robbed them of their running game.
Controlling possession in a very West Coast-like fashion, the Royals were far more composed in the wet.
Consecutive goals to Paul Johnson, Josh Smith and Dom Sheed in the final term saw them take the lead back and run out 16.13 (109) to 14.7 (91) victors.
However it wasn’t all bad news for the Swans, with Adam Faulkner and Blaine Boekhorst playing breakout games and showing signs the club may be far better than expected in 2014.
East Perth made two changes to their side in the lead-up, with Eagles emergencies Scott Lycett and Josh Hill coming into the side at the expense of Steven Wityk and Callum Hart.
After a quiet start to the season against Peel last week Fraser McInnes made his intentions clear early for the Royals, kicking the first goal of the game from a strong contested mark inside the forward 50.
However it was clear from the outset that the home side were not going to have things all their own way, as many had predicted.
For every goal the Royals kicked, the Swans would answer back and when Matthew Jukes found the big sticks in the shadows of quarter-time, the visitors grabbed a five-point lead.
Craig Wulff and Josh Smith grabbed the advantage back for East Perth in the opening stages of the second quarter, but it was all they would have to show for 25 minutes of dominance.
The Royals continually pumped the ball forward, but were foiled in their attempts to score by a strong Swans defence, who quickly turned into an attacking force off the half-back line.
Goals to Boekhorst and Ryan Davis from forward 50 stoppages increased Swans’ lead to 12 points at the long break.
A goals to Faulkner three minutes into the second half extended Swans’ lead to 18 before the Royals began to crawl back into the contest.
Kicking with the wind, the home side peppered their forward 50 for most of the third term, getting back to within three points at the final break due mainly to two clever goals from Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls.
Faulkner extended the lead for the visitors with a bomb from beyond the 50m arc, but as the rain began to fall, so too did Swans hopes of an upset victory.
Led by Will Schofield in the backline, the Royals controlled possession down the ground, converted when they needed to and stole the lead back within ten minutes.
With the rain pouring down Swans couldn’t hold onto the ball and were forced to watch their advantage wash away.
|GOALS - EAST PERTH: McInnes, J Smith 3; Oakley-Nicholls, Sheed, Wulff 2; Hill, Payne, Lycett, Johnson. SWAN DISTRICTS: Rogers, Faulkner, Boekhorst 2; Simpson, Cary, Geappen, Jukes, Davis, Anderson, C Blakely, Riggio.|
BEST - EAST PERTH: Carter, Sheed, Schofield, Oakley-Nicholls, McInnes, Butler. SWAN DISTRICTS: Faulkner, Elari, Boekhorst, G Jetta, Riggio, Simpson.