Tough season opener for Bulldogs against Lions

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 2:49 PM by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle didn’t have the opening to the 2018 season it was hoping for going down to Subiaco on Saturday by 58 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
 
The Bulldogs did pick up the momentum with three goals in a six-minute stretch halfway through the second quarter to take the lead. 
 
But from there the Lions kicked 13 of the last 17 goals of the game to end up winning 18.12 (120) to 9.8 (62).
 
It was a tough first up game to open the season for South Fremantle following the Round 1 bye and up against a strong Subiaco unit who has made the past four WAFL Grand Finals and had beaten East Perth by 118 points a week earlier.
 
South Fremantle was close to full strength, though, with the only change of significance from 2017 being the departure of Tim Kelly to Geelong but the Bulldogs did welcome Nick Suban on the back of 156 AFL games with Fremantle along with playing in three WAFL premierships.
 
The Bulldogs were missing the suspended Cory Dell'Olio, injured Adam McIntosh and unwell Zac Strom but it provided the opportunity for Noah Strom to make his debut on the back of 29 colts and 58 reserves appearances.
 
South Fremantle's star-studded forward-line couldn’t quite get going against the powerful Subiaco defence. Despite 47 inside-50 entries, the Bulldogs managed just the nine goals with Blaine Johnson the only multiple goal scorer with two. 
 
Ben Saunders managed just three kicks, Tom Vandeleur three, Mason Shaw five and Matthew Parker 10.
 
Reigning Sandover and Hughes Medallist Haiden Schloithe battled hard in the middle for South Fremantle with 26 possessions, five tackles and a goal with Shane Hockey adding 21 touches and five tackles, and Nick Suban 18 disposals and five inside 50s.
 
Veterans Ryan Cook (18 touches, seven inside 50s) and Ashton Hams (18 possessions, six marks) battled hard while ruckman Brock Higgins was outstanding with 18 disposals, 30 hit outs and six inside-50 entries.
 
The Bulldogs back-line were overwhelmed in the end by the Lions in the 58-point defeat but debutant Noah Strom and seven-gamer Chad Pearson held up well. Blayne Wilson did well also limiting Brad Stevenson to two goals after he kicked seven the previous week.

It only took eight minutes for Subiaco to get the game's first two goals through Brad Stevenson and Rhys Waters who had combined for 12 goals on Good Friday against East Perth.

Jarrod Parry marked his first league game since Round 23, 2015 by kicking South Fremantle's first goal of 2018 in response but the Lions were still 12 points up by quarter-time.

That became 19 points when Stevenson added his second goal to start the second quarter. But then South Fremantle found its best patch of form for the contest with goals to Cook, Schloithe and Johnson is a six-minute stretch to see them up by a point.

Subiaco had steadied by half-time, though, to lead by 12 points.

South Fremantle got back within five points early in the third term with a goal Tom Vandeleur, but Subiaco would kick the next six goals. 

That lead had grown to the final margin of 58 points by the final siren with Ben Sokol having kicked four of his five goals in the last quarter.

The day started with the colts clash at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with Subiaco taking out the 14.10 (94) to 7.8 (50) victory.

Luke Moore kicked three goals for South Fremantle while Kyle Hamersley gathered 27 possessions, Tom Blechynden 23, Jack Musika 21, Michael Redman 21 and James Russell 19.

Meanwhile, in the reserves clash at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, South Fremantle ended up storming home to win a thriller against Subiaco 9.7 (61) to 8.11 (59).
 
The Bulldogs started strongly with four goals to one in the first quarter but by half-time the Lions had assumed the lead by eight points. Subiaco extended its advantage to 25 points by three quarter-time.
 
But South Fremantle held Subiaco scoreless in the last term and kicked 4.3 to claim the two-point win.
 
Andre Coutinho kicked two goals for South Fremantle while Brandon Donaldson gathered 22 possessions, Jake Florenca 22, Josh Collard 19, Coutinho 19, Zac Dent 18 and Trent Reed 17 to go with 10 tackles and a goal.
 
Ruckman Jake Solomon had 62 hit outs to go with 10 possessions.
 
South Fremantle will look to bounce back on Sunday against West Perth at HBF Arena in a battle between two teams coming off 58-point losses in Round 2.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.2 5.5 6.7 9.8 (62)
SUBIACO 4.2 7.5 11.7 18.12 (120)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Johnson 2; Schloithe, Parry, Hockey, Shaw, Vandeleur, Saunders, Cook.
Best: Higgins, Schloithe, Pearson, N Strom, Wilson, Cook.
SUBIACO – Goals: Sokol 5; Waters, Halligan, Stevenson, Clarke 2; Horsley, Powell, Deluca, Burnett, Menegola.
Best: Deluca, Horsley, Sokol, Litherland, Delahunty, Kennedy, Halligan.