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Efficient Bulldogs win eighth straight with victory over Tigers

Monday, August 14, 2017 - 3:45 PM - by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle started on fire, kicked away with the breeze again in the third quarter and came away with an eighth straight win on Saturday beating a desperate Claremont by 32 points at Claremont Oval.
 
South Fremantle came into the clash at Claremont Oval unable to move from second position on the ladder but there were plenty of pressure on for spots at the Bulldogs meaning no player in the 22 will be looking to drop their form over the last three weeks.
 
Meanwhile, Claremont just had to win to stay a realistic finals chance in 2017 setting the stage for a terrific contest. 
 
South Fremantle was able to better take advantage of the breeze at Claremont Oval with six goals to one in the first quarter, and the only five goals of the third term to set up the eventual 14.9 (93) to 8.13 (61) victory.
 
The win is an eighth straight on the season for South Fremantle with the Bulldogs improving to a 15-4 record as they gear up for the qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
 
South Fremantle came into the game without Haiden Schloithe along with key defenders Blayne Wilson and Josh Pullman with Jason Maskos also having his day ended early.
 
But the Bulldogs covered the absence of the star foursome well even if key forwards Ben Saunders and Mason Shaw were also held to just the one goal between them.
 
Cory Dell'Olio made a blistering start to the game with three goals in the opening 12 minutes and he went on to kick four for the afternoon to go with 18 possessions, four marks and four tackles.
 
Blaine Johnson and Tom Vandeleur each kicked two goals for the Bulldogs.
 
It was a new look South Fremantle defence without Wilson, Pullman and Maskos, but Zac Strom returned and played the key role well with Beau Maister held goalless for Claremont. 
 
Adam McIntosh was strong with 14 possessions and six marks while Chad Pearson was impressive with 13 disposals and six marks. Steven Edwards provided good run again with 16 possessions.
 
Brock Higgins celebrated his 100th WAFL game with another strong performance in the ruck for South Fremantle with 17 possessions and 21 hit outs.
 
Tim Kelly worked hard again with another impressive display with a team-high 24 possessions and a goal while Ashton Hams returned to pick up 22 disposals. Dylan Main also had 21 touches, nine marks, eight tackles and a goal.
 
Brendan Verrier had 20 touches for the Bulldogs, Shane Hockey 17 and Steve Verrier 17 to go with six tackles, five marks and a goal.
 
Claremont ended up having 74 more possessions and 28 more marks than South Fremantle, but they were far too inefficient with the ball going inside-50 on seven less occasions and having two fewer scoring shots.
 
Starts might not have been South Fremantle's strong suit in recent times, but the Bulldogs were kicking with the handy breeze in the first quarter on Saturday at Claremont Oval and took full advantage.
 
Cory Dell'Olio kicked two quick goals for the Bulldogs before Tom Vandeleur added two more in quick succession. Dell'Olio then added a third and South Fremantle already had five goals on the board in the opening 12 minutes.
 
That soon became six in 18 minutes when Shaun Bewick kicked truly before Claremont got the last goal of the opening quarter thanks to Zac Langdon to cut South Fremantle quarter-time advantage to 28 points.
 
Claremont did come out with the breeze behind them in the second term and kicked the first goal through Matt Guelfi to close to within 21 points. 
 
South Fremantle managed to respond thanks to Tim Kelly. Guelfi added another for Claremont but the Bulldogs again answers through Blaine Johnson.
 
But the Tigers finished the half strong with goals to Oliver Eastland and Ian Richardson to be just 10 points down at the main break.
 
South Fremantle regained the breeze again in the third quarter and the Bulldogs took full toll with the only five goals courtesy of Steve Verrier, Ben Saunders, Johnson, Dell'Olio and Ashton Hams to hold a match-winning 45-point advantage by three quarter-time.
 
The Bulldogs lead grew to 50 points 10 minutes into the last quarter when Dylan Main kicked truly. Even though Claremont kicked the game's last three goals with two to Richardson and another to Ryan Murphy, that only cut South Fremantle's final winning margin to 32 points.
 
South Fremantle's colts continued its impressive finish to the season as well. Even though the Bulldogs look like just falling short of playing finals, they managed to upset Claremont 5.7 (37) to 4.10 (34) at Claremont Oval on Saturday.
 
Thomas Weston and Luke Moore booted two goals apiece for the Bulldogs.
 
Matthew Ward gathered 21 possessions, Regan Spooner 21, Zane Sumich 21, Toby McQuilkin 20, Jack Musika 19, Alex Cabassi 18, Ryan Burrows 18, Michael Redman 18, Bruno Faulkner 17, Glen Byron 17 and James Russell 17.
 
South Fremantle's big men were also impressive with Jacob Warne finishing with 17 touches, five marks and 28 hit outs, and Jonathon Frampton 18 possessions and eight hit outs.
 
Claremont's reserves managed to come away with a thrilling 8.6 (54) to 7.11 (53) victory against South Fremantle at Claremont Oval, but the Bulldogs remain three games clear on top of the ladder with two rounds and one game remaining.
 
Josh Collard and Seaton Thompson kicked two goals apiece for South Fremantle.
 
Jake Florenca showed how desperately he wants back in the Bulldogs league side with 33 possessions, 11 marks, 11 tackles and six inside-50 entries.
 
Collard also had 25 disposals for South Fremantle, Kyle Russell 25, Chris Ah Siu 19, Daniel Cabassi 19 and Jesse Musika 19.
 
Josh Branchi had 13 touches, five marks and 25 hit outs in the ruck with support from Jake Solomon who had 11 touches, four marks and 12 hit outs.
 
South Fremantle now has the bye this weekend on its eight-game winning streak before taking on Peel Thunder in the final round at Bendigo Bank Stadium in what is shaping up like a preview of the following week's qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 6.1 8.1 13.7 14.9 (93)
CLAREMONT 1.3 5.9 5.10 8.13 (61)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Dell'Olio 4; Johnson, Vandeleur 2; Bewick, Kelly, S Verrier, Main, Saunders, Hams.
Best: Dell'Olio, Kelly, McIntosh, S Verrier, Main, Hams, Strom.
CLAREMONT – Goals: Richardson 3; Guelfi 2; Eastland, R Murphy, Langdon.
Best: R Murphy, Busher, Bolton, J Murphy, Hamp, Richardson, Hardisty.
 

Round 21 Preview v Claremont

Saturday, August 12, 2017 - 8:41 AM - by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle heads to Claremont Oval to take on a desperate Claremont on Saturday with the Bulldogs shooting for an eighth straight victory to continue to gear up for the upcoming finals campaign.

Claremont returns to its redeveloped home of Claremont Oval on Saturday hosting South Fremantle and needing to win to stay in contention for the finals.

It is a big task for the Tigers up against an in-form Bulldogs team who are on a seven-game winning streak to have guaranteed second position and a home qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle might not be able to move from second position but will want to ensure it enters the finals in good form on top of there being plenty of pressure within the team for spots so the Bulldogs still have plenty to play for.

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Higgins' passion for Bulldogs shines ahead of 100th game

Friday, August 11, 2017 - 10:37 AM - by Chris Pike

HAVING come to terms with the West Coast-aligned East Perth not being the place for him, Brock Higgins almost moved to Melbourne but he was persuaded to join South Fremantle and as he approaches his 100th WAFL game he admits it's the best decision he ever made.

Higgins had shown good signs as an emerging big man at East Perth but after missing out on selection in the finals in 2013 having played 14 games during the home and away season, he was on the lookout for a new home.

Initially he thought he would move to Melbourne, but then South Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby was persuasive enough to make him decide to join the Bulldogs and four years later, he couldn’t be happier with the decision he made.

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Bulldogs confirm second position and home qualifying final

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 6:08 PM - by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle is guaranteed of finishing in second position on the WAFL ladder for a second straight season but there's no danger of complacency as coach Todd Curley looks to ensure the Bulldogs are firing come finals time.

The Bulldogs have now won their past seven matches since a one-goal loss to reigning premiers Peel Thunder to be guaranteed of finishing in second spot.

Those wins against West Perth, Perth, Claremont, Swan Districts, East Perth, West Perth and East Fremantle have come at an average of 49.1 points to see South Fremantle currently sit on a 14-4 record.

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Coach Post Match – Todd Curley Round 20

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 - 9:51 PM - by Chris Pike

WHAT South Fremantle coach Todd Curley said following Saturday's 45-point win against East Fremantle that was the Bulldogs' seventh straight victory heading into this Saturday's clash with Claremont at Claremont Oval.

QUESTION: They threw everything at you as you knew they would but I think you'd be happy with the solid win?
ANSWER:
I thought we were alright but we don’t take a great deal out of the game to be honest with all respect to the opposition. I didn’t think we were at our best.

Q: Brock Higgins had another huge game in the ruck?
A:
He competed pretty hard but we probably didn’t make the most of his work. We probably could have been a bit better because as far as clearances go, it was pretty even for the day so we have some stuff to work on for sure.

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Bulldogs make it 7 straight with 45-point derby victory

Monday, August 7, 2017 - 12:44 PM - by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle had to overcome a spirited East Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday but came away with the 45-point win to make it seven on the trot this WAFL season.
 
Following South Fremantle's 145-point WA Day Foundation Derby hammering of East Fremantle, neither team expected anything close to the same coming into Saturday's contest in the last derby contest of 2017.
 
East Fremantle certainly was far more committed and looked capable of being vastly more competitive, which they were, but South Fremantle went on goal kicking sprees at the end of the opening three quarters to maintain a handy lead.
 
That ended up seeing South Fremantle come away with the solid 22.9 (141) to 15.6 (96) victory with the margin exactly 100 points fewer than back on WA Day at East Fremantle Oval.
 
East Fremantle's cause wasn’t helped with the loss of Josh Cuneo and George Hampson to hamstring injuries, but South Fremantle also lost centre half-back Blayne Wilson to a hamstring complaint of his own.
 
The victory was a seventh straight on the season for South Fremantle with the Bulldogs improving to a 14-4 record and guaranteed of finishing in second position, hosting a qualifying final and having a finals double chance.
 
By being more competitive and losing by just 45 points with Perth going down to Claremont at the same time by 99, East Fremantle again got off the bottom of the ladder courtesy of percentage.
 
Brock Higgins again shone in the ruck for South Fremantle delivering just about his second straight best on ground performance in his 99th WAFL appearance. He ended the day with 22 possessions, 52 hit outs, eight inside-50 entries, six tackles and four marks.
 
South Fremantle's midfielders benefited greatly from his good work with Shane Hockey racking up another 31 possessions, Tim Kelly 30 (seven tackles, six inside 50s, one goal) and Dylan Main 22 (seven tackles, one goal).
 
Steven Edwards continued his blistering form out of defence not only continuing to do well when required defensively but then compiling 24 possessions, five tackles and a brilliant running goal.
 
Steve Verrier ended up with 27 disposals for the Bulldogs, Ryan Cook 24, Jarrod Garlett 20, Blaine Johnson 19, Mason Shaw 18 (nine marks), Matthew Parker 17 and Tom Vandeleur 17.
 
Shaw also kicked four goals for South Fremantle, Ben Saunders three in his 100th WAFL appearance, Haiden Schloithe two, Cory Dell'Olio two, Johnson two, Cook two, Parker two and Vandeleur two. They were Vandeleur's first two goals for the Bulldogs since returning to the club to start 2016.
 
East Fremantle came out a spirited outfit and desperate to make up for what happened back on WA Day while also having the motivation of still being able to avoid the wooden spoon in 2017. On the back of that the Sharks kicked the first two goals of the contest thanks to Jonathon Marsh and Ambrose Ryan.
 
It took 10 minutes for South Fremantle to kick its first goal and it was last week's debutant Parker who continued from where he left off by taking a strong mark and kicking truly.
 
But East Fremantle responded with the next two goals through Matthew Watson and captain Jamie McNamara to give the Sharks an impressive start with four of the first five goals of the game.
 
South Fremantle was able to stem the tide, though, and with the last three goals of the first term in the final eight minutes thanks to Vandeleur, Shaw and then a second Parker and scores were all tied up at quarter-time.
 
The Bulldogs then continued that momentum to start the second term firstly when captain Cook was left alone at centre half-forward to kick truly from just inside-50. Schloithe then showed his forward-line nous to mark on the lead and go back to goal.
 
That saw South Fremantle lead by 12 points having kicked five goals in succession but East Fremantle wasn’t going to go away on this occasion. The Sharks kicked the next three goals through Jack Perham, Hampson and Tom Bennett to be back on top to the tune of seven points.
 
Again the Bulldogs responded late in the quarter with the last four goals in the space of five minutes with Dell'Olio, Shaw, Cook and Vandeleur all booting majors to give the home team a 19-point advantage at half-time.
 
South Fremantle then started the third quarter strongly to make it six goals on the trot after Schloithe and Johnson both kicked early majors. That saw the Bulldogs go from seven points down 21 minutes into the second term to leading by 31 points five minutes into the third.
 
East Fremantle big men Cameron Symonds and Watson did combine for their team's three goals in the third term, but South Fremantle pulled away again late with four goals in the final six minutes with Main, Dell'Olio, Johnson and Saunders all helping give the Bulldogs a 45-point buffer.
 
Both teams managed to kick five goals apiece in an attacking and free-flowing final quarter but in the end the final margin was the same as it was at three quarter-time with South Fremantle winning by 45 points.
 
South Fremantle's colts began the day impressively at Fremantle Community Bank Oval upsetting the ladder-leading East Fremantle with the 14.8 (92) to 11.8 (74) victory.
 
Lachlan Feeney, Jonathon Frampton and Kyle Hamersley all kicked three goals each or South Fremantle with Ryan Burrows booting two.
 
Feeney also gathered 21 disposals for the Bulldogs, Matthew Ward 19, Jarren Colpitts 18, Zane Sumich 18, Burrows 16 and Hamersley 16.
 
South Fremantle's ladder-leading reserves also had a strong 18.17 (125) to 8.4 (52) win over East Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.
 
Jarrod Parry, Daniel Burke, Andre Coutinho, Caleb Datson and Mitch Dzelebdzic all booted two goals apiece for South Fremantle.
 
Brendan Verrier racked up 41 possessions, Jake Florenca 33, Parry 29, Josh Collard 26, Kyle Russell 20, Datson 19, Brandon Donaldson 18 and Zac Strom 18.
 
Josh Branchi was impressive in his first full game back from a knee reconstruction with 21 disposals, 10 marks and 33 hit outs.
 
South Fremantle is guaranteed of finishing in second position and of hosting the qualifying final in the opening week of the finals. 
 
But with plenty of pressure on for spots in the Bulldogs team, there will be no taking it easy over the last two games starting on Saturday against a desperate Claremont at Claremont Oval.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.1 10.4 17.8 22.9 (141)
EAST FREMANTLE 4.1 7.3 10.5 15.6 (96)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Shaw 4; Saunders 3; Schloithe, Dell'Olio, Johnson, Vandeleur, Cook, Parker 2; Kelly, Edwards, Main.
Best: Higgins, Edwards, Hockey, Kelly, Verrier, Shaw, Cook.
EAST FREMANTLE – Goals: Watson 4; Perham 3; McNamara, Marsh, Hampson, Schofield, Symonds, Kalajzic, Bennett, Ryan.
Best: Marsh, Watson, Schofield, Stephen, Jupp, Perham.
 

Round 20 Preview v East Fremantle

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 3:34 PM - by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle is looking to extend its winning run to seven this WAFL season and to four against East Fremantle in the last derby of 2017 on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle looks all but secured of finishing in second position come the end of the season entering Saturday's derby at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with a 13-4 record and six-game winning streak.

That puts the Bulldogs in prime position to host a qualifying final in the first week of the finals and to have a finals double chance. 

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Saunders focused on team success ahead of 100th game

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 12:25 AM - by Chris Pike

HAVING originally come to South Fremantle for opportunity, Ben Saunders couldn’t be more passionate and dedicated to the Bulldogs and that's why he's turned himself into the ultimate team player in the hopes of achieving premiership glory.

The Mt Barker native began his career at Claremont coming through the ranks as a supremely talented goalkicker capable of kicking big bags, kicking the impossible goals and taking spectacular marks.

The only problem was he was trying to break in to begin his league career at the wrong time at Claremont. 

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Match Day Info – Round 20

Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 6:43 PM

SOUTH Fremantle plays its last home game of the home and away season at Fremantle Community Bank Oval against East Fremantle on Saturday with the Uittenbroek-Ciccotosto Cup on the line.

The Bulldogs have enjoyed the opening two derbies of 2017 so far winning on ANZAC Day and in the WA Day Foundation Derby, and now Saturday is the third and final meeting for the season between WA football's longest and fiercest rivals.

The game will be played for the Uittenbroek-Ciccotosto Cup named in honour of two of the great servants of both clubs, East Fremantle's Bob Uittenbroek and South Fremantle's Brian Ciccotosto.

South Fremantle will also be celebrating its 1997 premiership on the day that saw the Bulldogs score one of the most remarkable grand final wins in WAFL history storming home to defeat East Fremantle.

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Coach Post Match – Todd Curley Round 19

Wednesday, August 2, 2017 - 10:55 PM - by Chris Pike

WHAT South Fremantle coach Todd Curley had to say following the 47-point Round 19 WAFL victory against West Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval that was the Bulldogs' sixth straight win this season and sixth consecutive against the Falcons.

QUESTION: Another pretty solid four-quarter performance against a team that's in the finals mix?
ANSWER:
Yeah I thought we were pretty good over the four quarters. We probably had a couple of little lapses here and there, and we still have some work to do on some of our defensive stuff. We were a bit disappointed to let them get a couple of goals too easily. But we still kicked 20 goals and were pretty even.

Q: It didn’t seem like there was too much in the game except you making the most of your chances up forward?
A:
A lot of our shots were in quite deep and close to goal as well so we got it into the right positions in those conditions and were able to put them under pressure. It's a really good result and we'll move forward from it.

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