South Fremantle have ended a six-game losing streak on the back of a match-winning haul from spearhead Ben Saunders at Lathlain Park this afternoon.
The former Bernie Naylor medallist made the most of his opportunities in front of goal, kicking six majors as the visitors recovered from a late surge by Perth to triumph by 12 points.
Four successive goals from the Demons, including three from an inspired Mitch Morton, put the hosts back in front midway through the final quarter after Perth had trailed by as much as 23 points earlier in the term.
The Bulldogs threatened to continue their miserable trend of losing games from strong positions this season, but recovered to kick the match’s final two goals to win 13.11 (89) to 10.17 (77).
Former Docker Haiden Schloithe was instrumental when South Fremantle were on the ropes late, lifting his side through the middle.
The visitors had their share of good fortune with the game on the line, with Paul Mugambwa converting from a questionable free kick to put the Bulldogs back in front.
Craig White’s second major two minutes later sealed the result.
The Demons were their own worst enemy at times, with captain Paul Bevan booting five behinds from several golden opportunities.
The decisive edge came early in the third term, with South Fremantle piling on three successive goals in the
space of 10 minutes to give themselves valuable breathing space.
Saunders kicked two goals in each of the first three quarters from almost as many kicks as the visitors punished Perth on the counter attack.
Shaun Bewick and Timothy Kelly were prime ball movers, with the latter also stepping up in the final quarter to will his side to just their fourth win of the season.
Perth’s under-sized defence was exploited early, with Saunders booting the first two goals.
The inaccuracy of the hosts was a major factor, with Bevan, Morton and Matthew Boyle all spraying chances in the first half.
Michael Sinclair was superb in defence for the Demons, with several strong contested marks keeping his side in the contest before a late charge that ultimately fell flat.
Morton came close to winning the game for Perth, finishing with five goals in a gallant performance.
|GOALS – SOUTH FREMANTLE: Saunders 6; Mugambwa, White 2; Bewick, Harvey, Sokol. PERTH: M Morton 5; Moody 2; Stack, Florio, Collard.|
BEST – SOUTH FREMANTLE: Schloithe, Saunders, Bewick, Kelly, Sokol, Parry. PERTH: M Morton, Tropiano, Sinclair, White, Moody, Bateman.