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WAFL Round 1 Wrap

Tuesday, April 19, 2022 - 4:44 PM by Chris Pike

WHAT an opening round of the 2022 WAFL season it was with four of the games decided by single-figure margins while the only game that wasn’t only blew out when Peel Thunder kicked the last four goals of the game against East Fremantle on Good Friday.

You couldn’t have asked for a more enthralling Round 1 to open up the 2022 season with Claremont, East Perth and Peel Thunder scoring wins on Good Friday, and Perth and South Fremantle victorious on Saturday for first up victories.

There were three match ups on Good Friday to begin the new season beginning at Joondalup's Pentanet Stadium with West Perth hosting Claremont in a rematch of last year's first semi-final.

There was added intrigue for the game with Darren Harris back in charge at West Perth after taking Claremont to the 2020 Grand Final, and the two teams played out quite the arm-wrestle that went right down to the wire.

Claremont ended up prevailing 9.11 (65) to 8.13 (61) with Alex Manuel kicking four goals for Claremont and Sandover Medallist Bailey Rogers two while Jye Bolton amassed 35 possessions and Lachlan Martinis 35.

Tyler Keitel kicked two goals for West Perth with Aaron Black and Trent Manzone collecting 32 disposals each.

Also on Good Friday, it was another thriller at Leederville Oval with East Perth opening up the new season defeating Swan Districts 12.7 (79) to 11.9 (75).

Tom Medhat, Sebit Kuek and Eddie Simpson all kicked two goals for the Royals. Hamish Brayshaw gathered 30 possessions, Harley Sparks 26 and Angus Scott 25.

Brayden Noble stepped with five goals for Swans with Jesse Turner collecting 27 possessions and Jarvis Pina 27.

Lastly on Good Friday at Mandurah's Lane Group Stadium, Peel Thunder came from behind at three quarter-time to kick seven goals in the final term to beat East Fremantle 17.8 (110) to 11.12 (78).

Ryan Bennell kicked three goals for Peel with Tyrone Thorne finishing with 32 touches, Connor Blakely 31 and Karl Worner 31.

Jonathon Marsh kicked three goals for East Fremantle and Blaine Boekhorst gathered 31 disposals, Cam Eardley 30 and Milan Murdock 27.

The round continued on Saturday and it was another thriller at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park with Perth winning the nail-biter over the West Coast Eagles 9.8 (62) to 8.12 (60).

Fraser McInnes delivered a huge final quarter for Perth and kicked three goals for the game with Matt Taylor collecting 32 touches, Andrew Fisher 26 and Brayden Ainsworth 25.

Jake Waterman and Jack Williams kicked two goals each for West Coast with Xavier O'Neill amassing 27 disposals, John Levien 25 and Josh Browne 23.

The last game of the round was the Grand Final rematch at Leederville Oval and South Fremantle kicked the last three goals of the game to overrun Subiaco and win 8.7 (55) to 6.11 (47).

Jake Florenca and Zac Strom kicked two goals apiece for South Fremantle while Florenca also finished with 28 possessions, Chad Pearson 26, Toby McQuilkin 26 and debutant Steely Green 25.

Ben Sokol kicked two goals for Subiaco against his former team with captain Leigh Kitchin finishing with 28 disposals, Stefan Giro 28 and Ben Golding 22.


WEST PERTH 8.13 (61) lost to CLAREMONT 9.11 (65)

It was always destined to be a momentous way to start the 2022 WAFL season and it didn’t disappoint with former Tiger Anton Hamp kicking the first goal of the game but missing a chance to be the hero late for West Perth against Claremont.

With Hamp playing his first game for West Perth against Claremont and with coach Darren Harris also back at the helm of the Falcons having recently coached the Tigers and having taken them to the 2020 Grand Final this was always going to be a fascinating contest.

Add in the fact that Claremont ended West Perth's season last year with a come from behind first semi-final win and there was no shortage of feeling.

Little separated the two teams all afternoon on Good Friday as well at Joondalup's Pentanet Stadium but it was Claremont who ended up holding on for the 9.11 (65) to 8.13 (61) victory.

As if the script had already been pre-written, former Claremont veteran Anton Hamp kicked the first goal of the game in his first appearance in West Perth colours on his new home turf.

West Perth appear set to go with Hamp and Tyler Keitel as their forward targets in 2022, and Keitel joined Hamp as an early goalkicker. The Falcons then had the opening three goals of the contest when Zak Patterson also kicked truly.

It was reigning Sandover Medallist Bailey Rogers who kicked Claremont's first goal of the season but West Perth continued to start well and were back up by 17 points when Mitch Peirce kicked truly.

Claremont stayed in touch by quarter-time when Timm House kicked a goal to cut West Perth's lead to 11 points.

Claremont was right back in the game to start the second quarter with a goal from Alex Manuel and they then assumed the lead when Manuel added a second.

However, West Perth finished the half the better and a second goal from Keitel had the home team leading by nine points at the major break.

West Perth captain Aaron Black then extended his team's lead to 15 points to start the third quarter but Claremont responded with goals to debutant Louis Passera and a third to Manuel.

Manuel then kicked his fourth of the game and Claremont went into three quarter-time leading by three points.

Rogers extended the lead for the Tigers to nine points to start the final term before Max Minear also kicked truly to give the visitors an eventual 18-point edge.

There was still a thrilling finish to come with West Perth kicking the last two goals of the game courtesy of Conal Lynch and Keegan Knott.

Once again, as if written by a script writer, Hamp had a chance at the game winner for West Perth at the 24-minute mark. But his shot missed and as a result the Tigers hung on for the dramatic four-point victory.

Alex Manuel stood tall up forward for Claremont kicking four goals from 12 kicks, four marks and three tackles. Reigning Sandover Medallist Bailey Rogers also kicked two goals to go with 21 disposals, four marks, four tackles and four inside-50 entries.

Jye Bolton showed he remains right at the peak of his powers entering the 2022 season with another 38 possessions and nine marks with Lachlan Martinis racking up 35 disposals for the Tigers, Sam Alvarez 29, Ronin O'Connor 28 and Ryan Lim 27.

Ben Edwards also opened the new season racking up 27 possessions for Claremont, Jack Lewsey 24, Louis Passera 20, Declan Mountford 19 and Max Spyvee 17.

Tyler Keitel was West Perth's only multiple goalkicker on the day with two goals from 11 kicks and six marks.

West Perth co-captain Aaron Black finished with 32 disposals, Trent Manzone 32, Luke Meadows 30, Mitch Peirce 23, Tristan Hobley 22, Shane Nelson 20, Zac Guadagnin 18 and Michael Mallard 18 to go with 24 hit outs in the ruck.

EAST PERTH 12.7 (79) defeated SWAN DISTRICTS 11.9 (75)

Precious little separated East Perth and Swan Districts all afternoon on Good Friday at Leederville Oval as both teams chased a winning start to the 2022 season.

In the end, East Perth was able to open up a match-winning advantage during the fourth quarter with goals to Angus Scott and Sebit Kuek which would prove enough to end up winning 12.7 (79) to 11.9 (75).

Brayden Noble will have a lost of Swan Districts' goalkicking hopes resting on his shoulders this season and he started well with the first goal of the game after four minutes had expired.

Eddie Simpson is East Perth's spearhead and he responded with his team's first goal of 2022 before Sebit Kuek kicked another for the Royals to take the lead.

However, new Swans recruit Ryan Kemp made an immediate impact with two goals to close out the quarter and the scores were all square by quarter-time.

Former West Perth played Tom Medhat then made sure he had an impact on debut for the Royals with a goal to start the second quarter before goals also to Shayne Hille and Kyle Hamersley extended the East Perth advantage to 19 points.

It was Kemp who got one back for Swan Districts just before half-time which saw East Perth leading by 12 points.

It didn’t take long for Swans to turn that around, though, with goals to Noble and Tobe Watson to start the second half to see them take a one-point lead.

The Royals responded with goals to reigning fairest and best winner Christian Ameduri and then Nick Robertson. But the seesaw battle continued with a couple of goals to Noble and Swans were back on top.

Medhat, though, kicked a second for East Perth and that put the Royals up by five at three quarter-time.

Noble booted his fifth of the game to start the fourth quarter to put Swans back on top but Hamish Brayshaw kicked truly soon after and East Perth were back on top.

The game was set for a big finish, though, and Nathan Ireland goaled to put Swans back on top before Angus Scott kicked truly to regain the lead for the Royals.

Kuek kicked his second to extend the East Perth lead to 11 and that was enough to secure the eventual four-point win despite a late Swans goal to Aidan Clarke.

West Perth recruit Tom Medhat kicked two goals in the win for East Perth as did Sebit Kuek and Eddie Simpson.

Hamish Brayshaw marked his return to the Royals with 30 possessions while Harley Sparks gathered 26 disposals, Angus Scott 25, Kye Willcocks 21, Damon Greaves 21 and Angus Schumacher 18.

Scott Jones finished with 43 hit outs in the ruck to go with 10 disposals and three tackles.

Brayden Noble did all he could in attack for Swan Districts to try and will them over the line kicking five goals from 11 kicks and nine marks. Victorian recruit Ryan Kemp also kicked three goals for Swans from 19 possessions and eight marks.

Jesse Turner picked up 28 possessions on the day for Swan Districts, new recruit Jarvis Pina 27, Tony Notte 23, Tobe Watson 20, Sam Fisher 20, Aidan Clarke 19, Mitch Bain 18 and Anthony Stephens 18.

PEEL THUNDER 17.8 (110) defeated EAST FREMANTLE 11.12 (78)

It was a tight affair in the now annual Good Friday clash in Mandurah between Peel and East Fremantle in Round 1 before the Thunder pulled away impressively late including kicking the game's last four goals.

East Fremantle looked on track to start their season on a winning note at Lane Group Stadium on Good Friday until Peel came out and kicked the first three goals of the last quarter, and then the final four majors of the game.

That gave the Thunder seven goals to one in the final quarter as they started off the season on a winning note at home with the 17.8 (110) to 11.12 (78) victory over the Sharks.

Peel made the perfect start to the new season with reigning fairest and best winner Tyrone Thorne kicking a goal within 30 seconds. It took almost 14 minutes for the game's next goal and that came courtesy of East Fremantle's Blaine Boekhorst.

The Thunder then kicked away with the next two majors through Blair Bell and Riley Smith but the Sharks got one back before quarter-time through Cody Leggett to cut Peel's lead at the first break to three points.

It took nearly 10 minutes for a goal in the second quarter but over the next 20 minutes the two teams combined for eight goals in some exciting and attacking football.

They kicked four goals apiece for the quarter with Peel turning into the half-time break leading by just the two points.

Joel Western kicked Peel away to an eight-point lead again to start the second half before Tom Bennett responded for the Sharks. The trend continued with a goal to Ryan Bennell for the Thunder before Cody Smith responded for East Fremantle.

The Sharks then picked up the momentum with goals to Jonathon Marsh and Matthew Burton to open up a 13-point edge before Peel kicked a goal back just before three quarter-time through Bennell.

Peel then kicked three goals in the opening 10 minutes to turn that seven-point deficit into a 12-point lead before East Fremantle stayed in touch with a goal to Dillon O'Reilly.

The Thunder weren’t going to be denied, though, and they closed the game out with goals to Bennell, Karl Worner, Lachlan Cullen and Jye Amiss to record the 32-point Round 1 victory over the Sharks.

Ryan Bennell took the most of his chances in attack for the Thunder kicking three goals from seven kicks and five tackles. Blair Bell, Lachlan Cullen and Mitch Crowden all kicked two goals as well.

Karl Worner was brilliant for Peel not only with two goals but also 31 possessions and 10 marks while Crowden had 20 disposals to go with his two goals.

Reigning Peel fairest and best winner Tyrone Thorne was terrific with 32 disposals and a goal with Connor Blakely gathering 31 touches, Joel Western 19, Ethan Hughes 18 and Jye Amiss 17 while Lloyd Meek finished with 18 possessions, 28 hit outs and five marks in the ruck.

Jonathon Marsh was East Fremantle best target in attack kicking three goals from eight kicks and four marks.

Blaine Boekhorst racked up 31 possessions for the Sharks, Cam Eardley 30, Milan Murdock 27, Kyle Baskerville 23 (10 tackles), Tom Bennett 22, Luke English 19, Michael Tassone 17 and Brynne Teakle 16 and 27 hit outs in the ruck.

PERTH 9.8 (62) defeated WEST COAST EAGLES 8.12 (60)

With both teams determined to get off to a winning start after disappointing 2021 seasons, Saturday's clash between Perth and West Coast at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park was always going to be a tight affair.

The Demons and Eagles occupied the bottom two spots at the end of 2021 and West Coast only finished with the wooden spoon courtesy of percentage, but both were out to make a winning start to their 2022 campaigns on Saturday.

In the end, it was a former Eagle Fraser McInnes who proved the difference kicking three goals in the fourth quarter for Perth which ended up being enough to secure the eventual 9.8 (62) to 8.12 (60) victory).

With both teams determined to make a winning start after occupying the bottom two spots at the end of 2021, early momentum was going to be key and it was the Eagles who got the first goal of the game thanks to Jack Williams.

The Eagles then had another on the board soon after when Jake Waterman kicked truly and then the only three goals of the opening quarter with Xavier O'Neill giving them the 16-point quarter-time advantage.

Perth needed to respond to avoid falling too far behind and they did so to open the first quarter firstly with a goal to ruckman Dakota Baldwin-Wright. The returning Kieran Hug then added another against the team he won the fairest and best with a season ago.

Perth then took over the lead with a goal to Oscar Bird midway through the term. Those would be the only three goals of the second term and by half-time the two teams couldn’t be separated on the scoreboard.

Callum Jamieson and Ajang Ajang traded goals to start the second half before Logan Young put West Coast back on top midway through the third quarter. 

Darby McCarthy and Waterman then extended the lead out to 20 points but the Demons stayed in touch trailing by 14 points at three quarter-time thanks to a late goal to Ajang.

The Eagles' lead was back out to 20 with a second goal to Williams to start the fourth quarter, but the Demons were able to dig deep from there and it was Fraser McInnes at the forefront.

He kicked three goals in the space of 12 minutes to take Perth from 20 points down to three points up and they were able to hold on from there for the two-point Round 1 victory.

Fraser McInnes turned match-winner for Perth with his three goals in the final quarter to go with his 18 possessions and nine marks for the game.

Ajang Ajang had his moments too in his first game for the Demons after crossing from East Perth finishing with two goals to go with 12 disposals and six tackles.

Matthew Taylor started the new season for Perth in outstanding form with 32 possessions and seven marks while Andrew Fisher racked up 26 disposals, Brayden Ainsworth 25, Austin Davis 23 and Corey Byrne 20.

Jake Waterman and Jack Williams kicked two goals apiece for the Eagles.

Xavier O'Neill battled hard for West Coast with 27 possessions and 10 inside-50 entries with John Levien finishing with 25 touches, Josh Browne 23, Brady Hough 19, Greg Clark 18, Harry Creasey 18, Joey Deegan 18 and Luke Strnadica 17 to go with 29 hit outs.

SUBIACO 6.11 (47) lost to SOUTH FREMANTLE 8.7 (55)

South Fremantle had to come from behind but kicked the game's last three goals to beat Subiaco by eight points in Saturday's Grand Final rematch at Leederville Oval.

The two teams have shared the last four WAFL premierships and played one another in the 2019 and 2021 Grand Finals so it was an ideal way to start the new season at Leederville Oval on Saturday.

Subiaco marked the occasion by raising their 2021 premiership banner as well and did appear on target for a Round 1 win for much of the afternoon.

However, South Fremantle kicked the last goal of the third quarter and then the only two goals of the final term to end up winning 8.7 (55) to 6.11 (47).

Subiaco had the breeze behind its back in the opening quarter and took advantage starting with an early goal to debutant Corey Robinson. Jordan Faraone then ensured the Lions kicked the first two goals of the game before South Fremantle captain Dylan Main kept his side in touch.

Former teammates Ben Sokol and Zac Strom then traded goals before quarter-time where Subiaco held a nine-point advantage.

South Fremantle picked up the advantage of the breeze for the second term and Strom brought them back within three points with his second goal already in the game. Sokol responded for the Lions as did Noah Ash and the reigning premiers were back out to a 15-point edge.

That grew to as much as 15 but a couple of late Bulldogs goals to Glenn Byron and Jake Florenca made it a one-point ball game by the half-time break.

With the breeze back behind them, Subiaco managed to have the opening four scoring shots including a goal to Ryan Borchet. Mason Shawn responded for South Fremantle and the game was up for grabs with Subiaco holding a four-point three quarter-time advantage.

Ther were only two scoring shots in all of the final term and they were both goals to South Fremantle courtesy of Caleb Datson and Jake Florenca to see the Bulldogs claim the eight-point win on the back of kicking the game's final three goals.

Zac Strom kicked two goals for South Fremantle to go with 18 possessions and six marks for the match while Jake Florenca was outstanding with 28 disposals, eight tackles, six marks and two goals.

Chad Pearson started the new season impressively as well with 26 disposals for the Bulldogs while Toby McQuilkin had 25 touches and debutant Steely Green 25 to go with five tackles.

Hamish Free battled tirelessly in the ruck with 19 possessions and 34 hit outs with Haiden Schloithe also finished with 20 disposals for South Fremantle, Tom Blechynden 20, Jimmy Miller 17 and former Peel player Jordan Boullineau 17.

Ben Sokol was the only multiple goalscorer in the game for Subiaco with two up against his former team from 11 disposals and four marks.

Subiaco captain Leigh Kitchin opened the new season impressively again with 28 possessions while new recruit Stefan Giro was also a strong contributor with 28 disposals and eight tackles.

Young premiership player Ben Golding collected 22 disposals, Abraham Clinch 20, Bailey Matera 17, Lachlan Delahunty 17 (16 hit outs) and Kyle Stainsby 16 (11 tackles).