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Bulldogs show bite to beat Tigers by 25 points

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 2:11 PM by Chris Pike
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SOUTH Fremantle scored its first win at Claremont Oval since 2008, its first victory in NAIDOC Round since 2009 and Haiden Schloithe celebrated his 100th game as best on ground as the Bulldogs beat Claremont by 25 points on Saturday.
 
Claremont was back to Claremont Oval where it won three straight games at its redeveloped home prior to last week's loss to Peel at Bendigo Bank Stadium with the Tigers also having dominated the annual NAIDOC Round fixtures against South Fremantle since 2007.
 
The Tigers looked on track to keep both those runs going with a terrific start in the first quarter with five goals to one. They also did well getting under the skin of the Bulldogs who gave away from free-kicks off the ball.
 
But South Fremantle steadied from there kicking 13 goals to five after quarter-time to take out the 14.7 (91) to 10.6 (66) victory.
 
The win was South Fremantle's first in the NAIDOC Round against Claremont since 2009 and is the first win for the Bulldogs at Claremont Oval since 2008.
 
It improves South Fremantle to a 10-4 record on the season to remain clear in second position while Claremont remains in sixth spot at 6-8.
 
Haiden Schloithe was the star of the day for South Fremantle kicking a career-best five goals to go with a team-high 27 possessions with eight marks, five inside-50 entries and four tackles to celebrate his 100th WAFL appearance.
 
Having started in the midfield, Schloithe moved forward in the second quarter and was a catalyst in South Fremantle turning the game around. All day, he appeared the most dangerous forward on the ground even though he did well also when further up the field.
 
His partner in crime Tim Kelly received plenty of close attention from Baily Banfield but handled it well ending up with 25 possessions, five tackles and a goal including a host of dazzling runs through the middle of the ground.
 
Shane Hockey's form on the ball for South Fremantle is building nicely too and he had 24 possessions and eight tackles while Ryan Cook finished with 21 disposals, Dylan Main 20, Brendan Verrier 19, Jacob Dragovich 19 and Ashton Hams 19.
 
Jake Florenca stepped up to kick a career-best three goals for South Fremantle as well with Ben Saunders and Blaine Johnson kicking two goals apiece from limited opportunities.
 
South Fremantle's back-line held up tremendously with Josh Pullman and Blayne Wilson combining to limit Beau Maister and Eddie Simpson to a combined one goal, five kicks and three marks.
 
Steven Edwards also not only held CJ Oakley to five kicks and one goal, but was dynamic with 16 possessions, six marks and a goal as was Marlion Pickett with 15 disposals.
 
Claremont was back to its familiar surroundings of Claremont Oval where it won three straight games prior to last week's loss to Peel in Mandurah, and the Tigers got off to a terrific start on Saturday against the Bulldogs.
 
The Tigers kicked the game's opening goal at the seven-minute mark courtesy of Alex Manuel before Ian Richardson added his first and celebrated in his trademark fashion.
 
Claremont really had the better of the opening when premiership defender Jesse Laurie kicked just the seventh goal of his career and first since Round 24, 2013.
 
When Richardson booted his second as he played on from a free-kick and took the advantage, the Tigers had made a flying start with four goals on the board with just one behind to South Fremantle.
 
Saunders did get South Fremantle on the board against his former team but Claremont had all the answers and responded through ruckman Mitch Andrews directly after the Saunders goal.
 
Claremont received a free-kick and 50m penalty after South Fremantle ill-discipline in the first quarter proved costly. Andrews kicked the goal as a result and Claremont went into quarter-time leading by 24 points.
 
After trailing Perth by 29 points late in the first quarter two weeks ago and Peel by 46 points at half-time back in Round 12, South Fremantle was making a bit of a habit of the slow starts that continued Saturday.
 
But the Bulldogs have also been able to turn that around including on those two occasions to end up beating Perth by 110 points and only narrowly miss coming back to beat the Thunder.
 
And by 10 minutes into the second term against Claremont, South Fremantle was right back into the contest following goals to Schloithe, Florenca and then Schloithe again as he spent time deep in attack in his 100th game.
 
Claremont did get a steadying goal to Matt Guelfi to again lead by 12 points but South Fremantle had found some momentum that continued with Johnson's first touch of the game that turned into a good goal.
 
Florenca then kicked a good crumbing goal soon after to level scores and another to Edwards against his former side saw the Bulldogs take an eight-point lead into the long break.
 
It was a tight opening to the third term before Maister marked strongly and kicked truly on the counterattack for the Tigers. Claremont briefly claimed a narrow lead before again Schloithe bobbed up when resting out of the goal square to kick two goals in three minutes.
 
When Kelly got on the end of a tremendous pass from Johnson to run into an open goal, South Fremantle had taken control to be 17 points up at three quarter-time.
 
South Fremantle went further in front when Johnson nailed a tough shot from the same pocket that West Perth's Corey Chalmers narrowly missed his attempted match-winner two weeks ago.
 
A couple of Claremont goals from CJ Oakley and Richardson gave the home team a glimmer of hope, but that was squashed with a good running goal for South Fremantle from Florenca and then a huge mark from Saunders that he converted with a good shot on goal.
 
Schloithe capped his 100-game milestone by kicking his fifth goal before Nick Winmar brought the final margin to 25 points with a goal for Claremont after the siren.
 
Claremont opened the day at Claremont Oval with an 11.14 (80) to 6.7 (43) victory in the colts against South Fremantle.
 
Thomas Weston, Jacob Warne, Brodie Plunkett, Glenn Byron, Kyle Hamersley and Zane Sumich were the goal scorers for South Fremantle.
 
Captain Bruno Faulkner racked up 29 possessions for the Bulldogs, Matthew Ward 23 and Warne 17 to go with 32 hit outs.
 
Then in the reserves at Claremont Oval, the top-of-the-table South Fremantle overcame Claremont with a 13.9 (87) to 9.8 (62) victory.
 
Mitch Dzelebdzic had a day out for the Bulldogs kicking seven goals while Jarrod Garlett chimed in with two to go with 30 possessions, 10 marks, 10 tackles and seven entries inside-50. Zac De San Miguel also booted two majors.
 
Jarrod Parry amassed 33 disposals for South Fremantle, Chad Pearson 23, Kyle Russell 21, Matthew Parker 21, Andre Coutinho 20, Jesse Musika 20, Josh Collard 19 and Tom Vandeleur 18.
 
South Fremantle now looks ahead to taking on Swan Districts next Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval looking for a measure of revenge for a disappointing Round 2 loss at Steel Blue Oval.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 1.1 7.5 10.5 14.7 (91)
CLAREMONT 5.1 6.3 7.6 10.6 (66)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Schloithe 5; Florenca 3; Saunders, Johnson 2; Kelly, Edwards.
Best: Schloithe, Kelly, Edwards, Hockey, Pullman, Pickett, Cook, Hams.
CLAREMONT – Goals: Richardson 3; Oakley, Maister, Manuel, Laurie, Andrews, Guelfi, Winmar.
Best: Bolton, Busher, Hamp, Lim, Le Fanu, Richardson, Banfield.