South Fremantle have produced the upset of the season, beating defending premiers West Perth by 23 points at Arena Joondalup.
Led by full forward Ben Saunders with seven goals, the Bulldogs held on kicking into a stiff breeze to win 15.8 (98) to 10.15 (75).
It was South Fremantle’s first victory of the season, setting up an intriguing clash against rival port team East Fremantle at East Fremantle Oval next Friday.
Saunders snared two goals in the first quarter, one in the second three in the third and one in the fourth to be the catalyst of his side’s morale-boosting win.
Midfielders Ashton Hams and Haiden Schloithe also did well for the winners along with defenders Dylan Ross and Adam Guglielmana, utility player Craig White and ruckman Brock Higgins.
West Perth started sluggishly, the Bulldogs kicking three of the first four goals to skip 17 points clear at the 17-minute mark of the first quarter.
Falcons spearhead Anthony Tsalikis kicked the first goal of the second quarter to reduce the margin to 11 points.
Four consecutive goals to the Bulldogs, two to White, gave the visitors a 34-point advantage at the 20-minute mark of the second stanza.
Matt Fowler kicked a late goal for the home side, giving the visitors a 27-point buffer at half time.
South Fremantle led by 22 points at the last change and did enough in the final quarter to eke out a well-deserved win.
The two clubs split the minor grades, South Fremantle taking out the colts by 65 points and West Perth the reserves by eight points.
Kris Miller signalled a return to league action wasn’t far off with a standout effort in the reserves for the Bulldogs.
Dropped after his 301st league game two weeks ago, Miller finished with 34 possessions, six marks, three tackles, four inside 50s and two goals.
Jack Thrum, named as an emergency for today’s game, moved s step closer to his league debut with a strong game in the reserves for the Falcons.
Thrum had 27 possessions while teenager Aidan Lynch also fared well with 31 possessions.
|GOALS – SOUTH FREMANTLE: Saunders 7; White 4; Bewick, Kelly, B Verrier, Cook. WEST PERTH: Tsalikis 2; Strijk, Jones, Crisp, Browne, Krakouer, Fowler, van Berlo, Adams.|
BEST – SOUTH FREMANTLE: Saunders, Hams, Schloithe, Ross, White, Higgins, Kelly. WEST PERTH: Hunt, Strijk, Black, van Berlo, Kerr.