Select grade below


Monday, April 1, 2024 - 2:02 PM by Chris Pike

DESPITE the final result there was plenty to be encouraged about from what South Fremantle showed to open the WAFL season against East Perth at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

It was a distinctly new-look South Fremantle team for the Round 1 match up on Saturday with Lachlan Turley, Lewis Rayson and Connor McDonald all playing their first WAFL games, and Luke Polson and Isiah Winder playing their first game with the Bulldogs.

The day was also a tribute to the legendary Steve Marsh but it was East Perth who proved too strong as the afternoon unfolded to end up beating South Fremantle 12.10 (82) to 6.7 (43).

South Fremantle's lone multiple goalkicker was Brandon Donaldson with two in the 115th game of his career while Ashton Ferreira, Robbie Turnbull, Jordan Boullineau and off-season recruit Connor McDonald kicked a goal apiece.

The South Fremantle midfield did battle hard led by Jake Florenca who has battled a tough couple of years with injury. He finished with 34 possessions, nine tackles, three marks and three inside 50s.

Tom Blechynden backed up the form he showed in 2023 to win the WJ Hughes Medal with another 28 possessions while the returning Haiden Schloithe had 23 touches in the 201st game of his WAFL career.

The Bulldogs back-line was solid for the most part with Jordan Boullineau outstanding holding Mitch Schofield to one behind before moving forward late while Toby McQuilkin did well limiting Liam Tedesco to one goal while having 23 touches and 10 marks himself.

Lewis Rayson was another Bulldogs debutant and he had 18 possessions while captain Chad Pearson ended up with 17 touches, Glenn Byron 17, Luke Polson 17, Lachlan Turley 17 and McDonald 17.

Josh Branchi has returned to South Fremantle this year and in the 16th game of his WAFL career, and first since 2016, he carried the ruck up against Scott Jones and had 36 hit outs.

South Fremantle were holding their own in general play throughout the opening quarter, but couldn’t find an avenue to score and East Perth were more effective in attack.

The Royals kicked two goals inside the opening eight minutes courtesy of Angus Schumacher and Christian Ameduri. Tom Medhat added another and that saw the visitors leading by 19 points at quarter-time.

It took just seconds to start the second quarter for East Perth to add another goal courtesy of Sam van Diemen and then another to Ameduri had the margin out to 31 points.

In response, the Bulldogs got on the board with a first goal of the season through third-gamer Robbie Turnbull. Brandon Donaldson and Ashton Ferreira then added goals as well and South Fremantle was back within 11 points.

However, the Royals again hit back with the last two goals of the half which saw them head into the main break with a 24-point advantage.

East Perth would then kick the only three goals of the third quarter and that meant the advantage got out to 45 points in their favour by three quarter-time.

South Fremantle did manage to outscore East Perth three goals to two in the last term with majors to Donaldson, Jordan Boullineau and Connor McDonald, but that only served to cut the Royals winning margin to 39 points.

The day got underway with the colts match up at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with East Perth beating South Fremantle in a tight affair 12.11 (83) to 11.8 (74).

Rocco Darbyshire kicked two goals for the Bulldogs colts with Fred Rodriguez amassing 26 possessions, Taj Longmuir 24, Tyler Rowe 22, Mitchell Geier 22, Jaxon Artemis 21 and Nick Campo 19.

It was then a win in the reserves for South Fremantle as they beat East Perth 10.14 (74) to 8.7 (55).

Caleb Datson and Tyson Kelly kicked two goals each for South Fremantle with Roan O'Hehir racking up 29 disposals, Toby Dodds 29, George Wessels 28, Jaren Carr 24, Jacob Whan 23 and Aaron Drage 22.


SOUTH FREMANTLE                        0.1          3.4          3.4          6.7          (43)

EAST PERTH                                       3.2          7.4          10.7        12.10     (82)


SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Donaldson 2; Turnbull, Ferreira, Boullineau, McDonald.

Best: Florenca, Schloithe, McQuilkin, Boullineau, T Blechynden, Rayson, Pearson.

EAST PERTH – Goals: Ameduri 3; Medhat, Hille 2; Tedesco, Randall, Jones, van Diemen, Schumacher.

Best: Crowden, Scott, Macreadie, North, Jones, Ameduri, Schumacher, Watts.