Bulldogs go top with big Good Friday win over Claremont
SOUTH Fremantle scored its third straight dominant WAFL victory to shoot to top spot on the back of a 65-point win over Claremont on Good Friday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
It was billed as a top-of-the-table clash between the Bulldogs and Tigers at the port on Good Friday with great anticipation for the contest.
South Fremantle is coming off a preliminary final appearance last year and having won its last two games over Peel Thunder and West Perth by a combined 146 points.
Claremont, under new coach Darren Harris, had started 2017 impressively with wins over East Fremantle, Perth and East Perth but all three have won once between them.
Good Friday was to be the first true test of the season for the Tigers and the Bulldogs blew them away early.
South Fremantle kicked the game's first five goals and while Claremont fought bravely from there, losing four players to game-ending injuries robbed them of a chance to come back.
The Bulldogs took full advantage with seven goals after the 18-minute mark of the last quarter to end up winning 17.9 (111) to 6.10 (46).
The win improves South Fremantle to the top of the ladder and was set up with the evenness of their contributions right across the board.
It started down back with the Bulldogs defence led by Blayne Wilson (19 possessions, seven marks), Marlion Pickett (18 touches, five marks) and Chris Luff denying Beau Maister, Tom Lee, Zac Langdon and Ian Richardson a solitary goal between them.
Ruckman Brock Higgins (17 touches, 33 hit outs) had a terrific battle with Mitch Andrews (13 disposals, five marks, 29 hit outs) in his 100th game with Claremont, but South Fremantle's midfield got on top.
Haiden Schloithe racked up another 28 possessions for the Bulldogs with Tim Kelly gathering 27 touches, Dylan Main 25, Shane Hockey 23, and captain Ryan Cook 23 to go with two goals.
Ben Saunders had another good duel with John Williams kicking two goals with Blaine Johnson, Steve Edwards, Mason Shaw and Cory Dell'Olio also kicking two majors for South Fremantle.
The only downside for South Fremantle was a hamstring injury in the third quarter to Ashton Hams.
With top spot up for grabs and both teams coming into the contest in some impressive and dominant form, the opening was always going to be fascinating and it was South Fremantle who was on top early.
The Bulldogs got the first goal of the after nine minutes through former Tiger Saunders and added another minutes later with a clever snap out of the pack from captain Cook.
South Fremantle's early dominance was then rammed home with goals to Brandon Donaldson and Brendan Verrier before quarter-time and the Bulldogs led by 25 points having restricted the Tigers to just the one point.
It then took less than a minute for South Fremantle to kick the second quarter's first goal through Johnson as well to make the margin 31 points.
Claremont finally settled down a touch and two goals in five minutes to Alex Manuel and then captain Jake Murphy saw the Tigers enter the contest.
It became an arm-wrestle for the next 20 minutes before Hams goaled just before half-time to give the Bulldogs the 20-point advantage. Claremont's six points for the quarter robbed them of a chance to be closer.
South Fremantle kicked the first two goals of the second half through Shaw and Saunders. Claremont responded courtesy of Jack Bradshaw and Aaron Holt. The goal to Bradshaw was particularly slick with the Tigers' ball movement to find him alone in the square a treat to watch.
But Claremont could only get as close as 21 points and South Fremantle was still up by 28 points at the last change after a late goal to Schloithe.
Claremont continued to fight with a couple of goals in the first half of the last quarter, but that's when things became impossible. With Jye Bolton already off the ground with his knee injury, Bailey Rogers and Tom Shanahan were both stretchered off late while Zac Langdon was off with concussion.
South Fremantle took full advantage of the wounded Tigers with seven goals from the 18-minute mark of the final term up until the siren as the Bulldogs ended up romping to the 65-point win to go on top of the WAFL.
South Fremantle's reserves also scored a commanding 11.15 (81) to 5.8 (38) victory over Claremont at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Good Friday.
Jarrod Garlett, Josh Pullman and Caleb Datson all kicked two goals apiece for the Bulldogs.
Jarrod Parry racked up 29 possessions for South Fremantle, Jake Florenca 27, Jacob Dragovich 25, Noah Strom 24, Datson 23, Daniel Burke 23, Chad Pearson 22, Matthew Parker 21, Garlett 21 and Josh Collard 20.
Jake Solomon had a strong game in the ruck as well with 20 disposals and 30 hit outs.
The colts clash started Good Friday proceedings at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with Claremont scoring an impressive win over South Fremantle.
Tere Teio-Yarran delivered a strong performance for the Bulldogs with 22 possessions, five tackles and two goals.
Toby McQuilkin also gathered 18 disposals for South Fremantle, Bruno Faulkner 17, Kyle Hamersley 17, Nic Giarrizzo 15 and Alex Cabassi 15.
South Fremantle now has a long wait to take on East Fremantle in the Anzac Day Derby back at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.2 6.3 9.7 17.9 (111)
CLAREMONT 0.1 2.7 4.9 6.10 (46)
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Cook, Saunders, Johnson, Edwards, Dell'Olio 2; Schloithe, Strom, Verrier, Donaldson, Main, Shaw, Hams.
Best: Wilson, Schloithe, Kelly, Pickett, Main, Kelly, Higgins, Johnson.
CLAREMONT – Goals: Bradshaw 2; J Murphy, Holt, Guelfi, Manuel.
Best: J Murphy, R Murphy, Banfield, Yu, Guelfi, Ledger.