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FALCONS COMPETE HARD BUT CAN'T REDUCE MARGIN ON BULLDOGS

Monday, July 31, 2017 - 12:06 PM by Chris Pike
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WEST Perth in a largely competitive performance against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval everywhere but the scoreboard ending up losing to the Bulldogs by 47 points.
 
South Fremantle was able to win by 47 points for the second straight time against West Perth, but it was a vastly more competitive showing all-round from the Falcons except in front of goals.
 
In the end, the Bulldogs kicked 20 goals from 26 scoring shots and the Falcons 11 from 24 and that was the major difference in the contest as South Fremantle went on to win 20.6 (126) to 11.13 (79).
 
Little separated the two teams across the field with both finishing with 307 possessions apiece while South Fremantle managed to take 17 more marks, have 43 more hit outs and eight extra inside-50 entries.
 
It was a sixth straight win overall by South Fremantle this season to improve the Bulldogs to a 13-4 record and remain well clear in second position with just four rounds of the season remaining.
 
It was also a sixth consecutive victory against West Perth with those coming by an average of 53.3 points.
 
Despite the loss, West Perth remains in fifth position but with an 8-8 record to only be one-game ahead of the sixth placed East Perth.
 
West Perth had some strong ball winners and none were better on the field than Shane Nelson. Coming off his 51-possession haul last week against Perth, he had it another 45 times on Saturday against South Fremantle with seven inside-50 entries, five tackles and a goal.
 
Aidan Lynch thrived in the wet conditions too with 32 disposals and six tackles while Aaron Black collected 25 touches, Luke Meadows 21 and ruckman Chris Keunen 16 to go with 33 hit outs.
 
Corey Chalmers had a good impact at half-forward kicking four goals along with 19 possessions and nine tackles. Nick Rodda also kicked three goals despite copping a heavy knock to his jaw.
 
Kody Manning had a good battle with Ben Saunders down back while Blake Wilhelm worked hard to limit Blaine Johnson to just five kicks while having 16 possessions himself.
 
West Perth's day wasn’t helped by losing Andrew Strijk to a hamstring injury in the opening minutes with Ben King, Michael Lourey, Dean Munns, Scott Nelson, Steve Potente, Mark Hamilton and Joe Morrow already sidelined.
 
The signs were ominous early for West Perth with South Fremantle kicking the opening two goals in the first nine minutes thanks to Haiden Schloithe and debutant Matthew Parker as the rain began to fall. West Perth got one back before quarter-time thanks to Brayden Antonio to trail by just the six points at the first change.
 
The Falcons then drew level to start the second quarter with a goal to Rodda. But South Fremantle answered almost immediately with two goals of their own with Cory Dell'Olio and Mason Shaw kicking truly. 
 
Parker soon added his second and when Ben Saunders booted his first of the day in his fascinating battle with Manning, the Bulldogs were threatening to kick away leading by 24 points.
 
West Perth showed some fight to respond with goals to Nelson and Chalmers to get back within 10 points, but Saunders kicked his second and then Jake Florenca his first to put the Bulldogs on top by 24 points at the main break.
 
It took eight minutes for either team to kick a goal in the second half and after three behinds to West Perth, South Fremantle continued the trend of the day by taking its chances while the Falcons weren’t able to. Shaw kicked his second goal to make the margin a game-high 27 points.
 
The Falcons weren’t going away, though, and goals to Chalmers and Rodda had them right back in the game just 16 points behind. But again South Fremantle had the answers with Dell'Olio booting his second and then third in the space of three minutes.
 
West Perth did get one back courtesy of Rodda but the Bulldogs put the game away with four more goals leading into three quarter-time. Kelly kicked truly before Johnson added a couple and Saunders his third as the home team was 39 points up at the last change.
 
West Perth started brightly in the last quarter with three goals in seven minutes to Chalmers, Tyler Keitel and Chalmers. That had the Falcons back within 21 points and a big fightback wasn’t out of the question.
 
It wasn’t to be, though, and South Fremantle kicked the last five goals of the contest through Johnson, Dell'Olio, Parker, Florenca and then Parker again with his fourth in a memorable debut as the Bulldogs cruised to the 47-point victory.
 
The day began at Fremantle Oval with West Perth losing the colts contest with South Fremantle winning 16.11 (107) to 11.6 (72).
 
Dylan Yem kicked three goals to go with 18 possessions and 10 tackles for West Perth with Alec Johnson also booting two majors.
 
Thomas Boyes gathered 20 disposals for the Falcons, Nathan Murray 20, Bailey Chalmers 18 and Thomas Medhat 16.
 
Then in the reserves down at the port, South Fremantle also defeated West Perth 11.7 (73) to 5.11 (41).
 
Patrick Graham kicked two goals for West Perth while Connor West racked up 25 possessions (11 tackles), Broderick Walton 24, Mitch Antonio 19, Conal Lynch 18, Angus Allen 17 (11 tackles), Dylan Campbell 16 and Baylee James 16.
 
Matt Guadagnin was also impressive in his first full game of the season racking up 23 possessions and kicking a goal.
 
West Perth returns to HBF Arena on Saturday needing to beat East Perth to remain in fifth position on the WAFL ladder.
 
WEST PERTH 1.1 4.3 8.8 11.13 (79)
SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.1 8.3 15.5 20.6 (126)
 
WEST PERTH – Goals: Chalmers 4; Rodda 3; Keitel, Nelson, Meadows, Antonio.
Best: Nelson, Lynch, Chalmers, Rodda, Black, Meadows, Wilhelm.
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Dell'Olio, Parker 4; Saunders, Johnson 3; Florenca, Shaw 2; Schloithe, Kelly.
Best: Schloithe, Dell'Olio, Kelly, Higgins, Edwards, Hockey, Parker, Maskos, Pullman.