Bulldogs win eighth straight over Falcons in Hams' 200th

Tuesday, August 7, 2018 - 12:14 PM by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle returned to the WAFL winners' list beating West Perth by five points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday to make it eight straight over the Falcons and to celebrate the 200th game of Ashton Hams.
West Perth and South Fremantle are all but guaranteed of being the two teams that will finish in second and third position on the WAFL ladder come the end of the home and away season, so all that's left to be determined is who finishes on top.
West Perth came into Saturday's clash at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on a three-game winning streak on good momentum in second spot while South Fremantle was coming out of the bye but had struggled to losses to Subiaco and Peel Thunder the previous two weeks.
The stage was set for a tremendous contest and despite the dreary weather, it certainly didn’t disappoint with the added attraction of South Fremantle's Ashton Hams and West Perth's Chris Keunen both celebrating their 200-game milestones.
It was a tough, tight and tense affair all afternoon at the port with nine different lead changes, the scores being tied on another five occasions and no more than 12 points ever separating both sides.
In the end, South Fremantle kicked the first two goals of the last quarter including one to milestone man Ashton Hams who also won some pivotal contests late in the piece with the game up for grabs.
That saw the Bulldogs claim the 10.8 (68) to 10.3 (63) victory to improve to a 10-5 victory on the season and make eight successive wins against the Falcons.
South Fremantle remains in third position on percentage with West Perth holding a 10-6 record but the Bulldogs have a game in hand to be in a strong position to snatch that second spot.
It was Shane Hockey who delivered a best on ground performance for South Fremantle with the rugged midfielder back to his very best form from earlier in 2018. He finished the afternoon with 41 possessions, 19 tackles, five marks and three inside-50 entries.
Haiden Schloithe stepped up in the midfield too with 34 disposals, eight tackles, five inside 50s, four marks and a goal as South Fremantle found a way to do well in tight despite the absence of Dylan Main and Steve Verrier.
Brandon Donaldson was impressive as well with 31 possessions, seven marks and seven inside-50 entries with Ryan Cook finishing the afternoon with 26 disposals and 10 marks, Jacob Dragovich 22 touches, and Nick Suban 22 possessions and 13 tackles.
Marlion Pickett copped a close tag from Mitch Peirce all afternoon but battled through for 18 possessions, seven tackles and six inside 50s while Brock Higgins finished with 14 touches and 56 hit outs in the ruck.
Ashton Hams had 20 disposals, six marks, five tackles and a goal in his 200th game.
South Fremantle's back-line was led by Noah Strom as he did another tremendous job on Bernie Naylor Medal leader Tyler Keitel, holding him six goals and no score.
Mason Shaw, Matthew Parker and Cory Dell'Olio all kicked two goals each for South Fremantle.
It took just three minutes for South Fremantle to get off to the past start with a goal to Mason Shaw before West Perth responded when Jay van Berlo marked strongly near goal and converted.
Corey Chalmers then gave the Falcons the early lead when he dribbled one through but the Bulldogs got on a roll with three goals in less than six minutes. The majors to Cory Dell'Olio, Matthew Parker and then Dell'Olio gave South Fremantle a 12-point lead heading into time on of the first term.
West Perth hit back, though, with the next two goals to Keegan Knott and Andrew Strijk before South Fremantle headed into quarter-time leading by six points following a goal to Brandon Donaldson.
It was tougher going in the second quarter for both teams but West Perth did regain the lead thanks to Strijk's second major of the afternoon. 
South Fremantle responded thanks to Shaun Bewick up against his old side but the Falcons trailed by just four points by half-time thanks to a good crumbing effort by 200-game milestone man Chris Keunen who quickly got the ball to boot and snapped truly.
South Fremantle's lead grew to 11 points with the opening goal of the second half from Haiden Schloithe. But West Perth managed the game's next three majors through Knott, Strijk and Chalmers to regain the advantage shortly before three quarter-time.
The Falcons remained two points in front at the last break despite a late Bulldogs goal to Parker.
South Fremantle then regained the lead when Ashton Hams kicked truly in his 200th game. The Bulldogs moved 11 points up shortly after thanks to Shaw's second goal and then held on for the five-point win despite a goal for West Perth's Rudy Riddoch still keeping them in touch.
South Fremantle's reserves comeback with the only three goals of the last quarter wasn’t quite enough at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday, with West Perth holding on to win 6.10 (46) to 5.10 (40).
West Perth kicked away in the second quarter with three goals to one to head into half-time leading by 15 points.
The Falcons managed another two goals to one in the third term to be up by 26 points at the last change. But the Bulldogs fought back well in the final quarter holding West Perth scoreless while kicking three goals. The Falcons, though, held on to win by six points.
Andre Coutinho kicked three goals for South Fremantle from 21 possessions with Daniel Cabassi and Jacob Warne kicking a goal apiece.
Josh Collard picked up 27 possessions for the Bulldogs, Jarrod Parry 23 (12 tackles), Clinton Yarran 22, Glenn Byron 20, Trent Reed 20, Travis Abbott 19, Riley Burke 19 and Regan Spooner 18.
While the top four teams are locked away to play finals in the colts for 2018, fifth position is still up for grabs and that's even more the case after West Perth's win against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.
South Fremantle came into the game with a one-win advantage over West Perth in fifth position, but that changed on Saturday at the port with the Falcons on top from start to finish.
West Perth kicked the only two goals of the first quarter with the game taking place at Fremantle Community Bank Oval following the afternoon's league contest.
It was another two goals to one in the second quarter the way of the Falcons as they headed into the half-time break leading by 17 points.
West Perth then held South Fremantle to just the one point in the third quarter while kicking 2.6 themselves to stretch the lead to 34 points by three quarter-time.
South Fremantle did manage two goals to one in the last term but West Perth still came away with the 7.11 (53) to 3.7 (25) to close to within percentage of the Bulldogs in fifth position.
Lachlan Johnson kicked two goals from four kicks for South Fremantle with the Bulldogs' other goal coming from Manfred Kelly.
Matthew Ward was terrific for South Fremantle finishing with 31 possessions, 10 tackles and seven inside-50 entries.
James Russell also gathered 25 disposals for the Bulldogs, Enrique Aiken-Featherstone 20, Nash Miller 19 (14 hit outs), Jaxon Bellchambers 18, Jack Redman 17 and Manfred Kelly 17.
South Fremantle now has the chance to string good performances together up against Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday with a win likely to return the Bulldogs to second position unless West Perth upsets Subiaco.
SOUTH FREMANTLE 5.0 6.5 8.7 10.8 (68)
WEST PERTH 4.0 6.1 9.3 10.3 (63)
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Dell'Olio, Shaw, Parker 2; Schloithe, Bewick, Donaldson, Hams.
Best: Hockey, Schloithe, Cook, Donaldson, Suban, N Strom, Higgins.
WEST PERTH – Goals: Strijk 3; Chalmers, Knott 2; van Berlo, Keunen, Riddoch.
Best: Wilhelm, Nelson, Black, Strijk, Peirce, Manzone, Hamilton.