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Bulldogs fight hard but lose preliminary final to Lions

Monday, September 18, 2017 - 2:54 PM - by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle battled hard but ultimately came up 32 points short of Subiaco in Sunday's WAFL preliminary final at Leederville Oval.
 
Both the Lions and Bulldogs had lost to Peel Thunder in the opening two weeks of the AHG WAFL Finals Series meaning there was only room for one of the top two teams from the home and away season in the Grand Final for 2017.
 
South Fremantle made a terrific start to the preliminary final with the opening three goals before Subiaco steadied to kick eight of the last 10 goals of the first half to head into half-time with a 22-point advantage.
 
The Lions then kicked the first two goals of the second half and despite a brief flurry from the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter, Subiaco pulled away to end up winning 14.14 (98) to 10.6 (66).
 
The victory sees Subiaco advance to the Grand Final while the season is over for South Fremantle following a second straight second place finish in the home and away season, and making consecutive preliminary finals.
 
Subiaco will play in its fourth successive WAFL Grand Final having won premierships in 2014 and 2015 before losing to Peel Thunder in 2016. The Lions now get the chance for revenge against the Thunder this Sunday at Domain Stadium.
 
It was a tough loss for South Fremantle to take in its second straight preliminary final but it wasn’t without some standout individual performances.
 
There was no better Bulldogs performer on the day than Marlion Pickett who did everything possible to try and inspire South Fremantle into the Grand Final. He finished the game with 25 possessions, 12 marks, seven hit outs, five inside-50 entries and four tackles playing mostly in defence but then playing in the ruck for the last quarter.
 
Sandover Medal fancy Haiden Schloithe did his chances of returning to the AFL system either with a strong showing made up of 27 possessions, six marks, four tackles and a goal.
 
Steven Edwards again gave good run out of defence for the Bulldogs with 22 disposals and six marks while Shaun Bewick was courageous down back ending up with 18 possessions and eight marks.
 
Adam McIntosh also did well holding former teammate Ben Sokol to one goal and four kicks while having 12 disposals and six marks himself. Blayne Wilson also had 18 touches and seven marks.
 
Shane Hockey battled hard inside for the Bulldogs finishing with 20 possessions and 12 tackles while captain Ryan Cook worked through the tag of Greg Clark to have 20 touches and 10 marks.
 
Ashton Hams had a good day too for South Fremantle with 19 disposals, eight marks, four inside 50s and a goal. Jarrod Garlett, Dylan Main and Matthew Parker all had good moments with their 16 possessions.
 
Cory Dell'Olio took his chances up forward kicking three goals with Mason Shaw chipping in with two both in the third quarter.
 
South Fremantle was down a man from early in the second quarter when the returning Jacob Dragovich was off with concussion. He had nine possessions in the opening term on a wing.
 
South Fremantle came out of the blocks an inspired outfit with their pressure around the contest and on Subiaco enormous to open the game. 
 
That ended up resulting in goals to Cory Dell'Olio, Haiden Schloithe and Ashton Hams in the opening 11 minutes with the Bulldogs putting the onus right back on the Lions to respond.
 
Subiaco did start to even things up around the ball and kicked their first goal of the preliminary final thanks to little man Liam Baker.
 
Baker also added a second for the Lions but South Fremantle got a steadier after the quarter-time siren thanks to Blaine Johnson.
 
But Subiaco started the second term with all the momentum and after goals to Brad Stevenson, Kyle Halligan, Liam Ryan and Scott Hancock, suddenly the Lions were out to a 15-point lead 12 minutes into the second term.
 
Ryan's effort was remarkable as he worked back to force a contest in the air against his opponent Jason Maskos just on the attacking side of the wing. He then ran onto the ball and ran 70m all the way into an open goal.
 
Dell'Olio did get an important one for South Fremantle to stay in touch but the Lions finished the half with Aaron Heal kicking his first goal of the season and then Ryan adding his second to stretch the lead to 22 points.
 

Subiaco's lead appeared to grow to match-winning levels to start the third quarter with Stevenson kicking his second goal and Baker a third with the advantage growing to 34 points.
 
South Fremantle managed a couple of goals back, both through Mason Shaw, but when Stevenson kicked a third after marking strongly shortly before three quarter-time, the Lions were in control by 28 points.
 
The game again appeared over a minute into the last term with a goal for Subiaco to Halligan, but South Fremantle had one last big run left with its season on the line.
 
A clever snap from Dell'Olio for his third before Tim Kelly nailed a set shot and Steven Edwards goals after a 50m penalty saw the Bulldogs kick three goals in seven minutes to be just 16 points down.
 
But Subiaco would steady and kicked the last two goals through Max Walters and Ben Sokol to end up winning by 32 points and advance to a fourth successive Grand Final.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 4.3 5.3 7.5 10.6 (66)
SUBIACO 2.5 8.7 11.9 14.14 (98)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Dell'Olio 3; Shaw 2; Hams, Johnson, Edwards, Kelly, Schloithe.
Best: Pickett, Schloithe, Cook, Bewick, Edwards, McIntosh, Hockey.
SUBIACO – Goals: Baker, Stevenson 3; Halligan, Ryan 2; Walters, Hancock, Sokol, Heal.
Best: Delahunty, Ryan, Cockie, Litherland, Kitchin, Stevenson, Baker, Twomey.

Preliminary Final Preview v Subiaco

Sunday, September 17, 2017 - 12:24 AM - by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle is just one win away from the club's first WAFL Grand Final appearance since 2009 heading into Sunday's preliminary final against Subiaco at Leederville Oval.

The Lions and Bulldogs occupied the top two positions in the WAFL for the majority of the season but now after both saw their winning streaks come to an end at the expense of Peel in the opening two weeks of the AHG WAFL Finals Series, there is only room for one in the 2017 Grand Final.

South Fremantle finished second for the second straight season and entered the qualifying final on a nine-game winning streak before losing to Peel by 18 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

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Hockey proud to step up against Swans, now looks for Grand Final berth

Saturday, September 16, 2017 - 2:29 PM - by Chris Pike

REIGNING South Fremantle fairest and best winner Shane Hockey holds himself to high standards so he was as disappointed as anyone following the qualifying final loss to Peel, but he bounced back emphatically and now is desperate to play in the first Grand Final of his senior career.

Hockey joined South Fremantle from VFL club Frankston last year and had an outstanding first season in the WAFL claiming the Bulldogs' fairest and best award and getting to play finals at senior level for the first time in his career.

Previously the last final he had played in was a 10-goal loss for Mornington under-18s against Frankston YCW. But all South Fremantle's preliminary final exit last year at the hands of Peel Thunder did was make Hockey's desire to achieve the ultimate even stronger coming into 2017.

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Player Column – Cory Dell'Olio Preliminary Final

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 5:30 PM - by Cory Dell\'Olio

LAST Sunday was excellent reward for everyone involved. We got back to playing some good football and now head into this Sunday's game with some confidence but of the understanding Subiaco will be extremely motivated to respond after losing to Peel. 

Subiaco didn’t win 19 games for no reason and we know we need to be at our absolute best to compete on Sunday. 

But it is very exciting to know that if we win we are in the Grand Final. Since 2009 this is the deepest I have got in any finals campaign so to play in a game with a Grand Final the result is great. The group have put a lot of work in over the last three years and we deserve to be in the position we are to even have the chance to play in a Grand Final.  

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Match Day Info – Preliminary Final

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 4:36 PM

A SPOT in the 2017 WAFL Grand Final goes on the line when South Fremantle heads to Leederville Oval to take on Subiaco on Sunday.

While Subiaco is attempting to qualify for a spot in a fourth successive decider, South Fremantle is attempting to win into a first Grand Final since 2009.

It's set to be a massive day at Leederville Oval and below is everything you need to know to come along and cheer on the Might Red V.

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Bulldogs stars recognised in wafl.com.au Team of the Year

Friday, September 15, 2017 - 1:49 AM - by Chris Pike

FIVE South Fremantle players have been named in the wafl.com.au Team of the Year and another as an emergency in recognition of the Bulldogs' outstanding 2017 McDonalds WAFL Premiership Season.

Steven Edwards was named in the back pocket of the Team of the Year, Haiden Schloithe and Cory Dell'Olio both on the half-forward flank, Blaine Johnson the forward pocket, Tim Kelly on the ball and then ruckman Brock Higgins as an emergency.

Each round during the season, a Team of the Round was named on wafl.com.au, with 192 different players named at least once across the 23 weeks, making them eligible for selection in the overall Team of the Year.

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District Grand Finals to be held this weekend

Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 4:27 PM

OUR junior district grand finals will be held this weekend beginning Friday night and continuing with full days of action on Saturday and Sunday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Here is a run down on each of the grand finals to be played across this weekend:

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Coach Post Match – Todd Curley First Semi-Final

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 1:08 PM - by Chris Pike

WHAT South Fremantle coach Todd Curley had to say after the Bulldogs' 80-point first semi-final win against Swan Districts and looking ahead to this Sunday's WAFL preliminary final against Subiaco at Leederville with a place in the Grand Final against Peel Thunder at stake.
 
QUESTION: You always knew Swan Districts would throw everything at you early but to withstand that and kick away from the second quarter onwards must have been pleasing with your season on the line?
ANSWER:
I thought the first quarter was pretty even but we were pretty good around the ball and with the ball, but just maybe didn’t defend as well as maybe would have liked. But after quarter-time we had shots on goal and kicked 17 goals to three with a couple of men down for a long time. I thought it was a pretty courageous win.

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A MESSAGE FROM THE CEO

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 10:30 AM - by Tom Bottrell

Dear Members, After a very good performance on Sunday in the 1st Semi-Final, we have at least given ourselves a look at Grand Final day by winning our way to the Preliminary Final this week. 

Subiaco have been a high performance team for the majority of the last decade and have certainly been the stand out team this year, so we know we have a challenging game this week but are really confident that we have the firepower to win the game if we get it right.

I write to you on the back of some vocal opposition to the Fremantle Dockers aligned Peel Thunder Football Club (PTFC) and the talk of supporters boycotting the WAFL Grand Final. Firstly, the ruling around PTFC being able to field a maximum of 15 Fremantle Dockers players in the WAFL finals series is not a new one. We have known about the rule for the best part of 12 months and whether we all agree with or not, it is the rule as it stands in 2017 and our players won’t use this as an excuse for last week’s Qualifying Final loss.

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Dominant Bulldogs reserves win through to Grand Final

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 - 11:41 AM - by Chris Pike
SOUTH Fremantle has been the dominant WAFL reserves team all season and now the Bulldogs are straight into the Grand Final for 2017 after beating Subiaco in the second semi-final at Leederville Oval on Sunday.
 
Despite having the misfortune of having to give up home ground advantage that was earned during a standout home and away season, the Bulldogs reserves shook off that disappointment on Sunday morning despite the Lions picking up the bonus of getting to play on home turf.
 
Subiaco had booed a spot in the second semi-final on Sunday by beating Claremont by two points the previous Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval while South Fremantle earned the break in the opening week of the finals having finished the season with a 16-4 record to claim the minor premiership.
 
The added bonus and incentive for both clubs is that they have their league sides in the finals still as well so there are a host of players in each team desperate to still try and push for a spot in the senior group.
 
In the end, it was South Fremantle who had greater depth of talent throughout its 22 players with the Bulldogs virtually leading from start to finish to end up winning 11.10 (76) to 5.9 (39).
 
The win sees South Fremantle move straight into the Grand Final for 2017 in what has been a tremendous performance by first-year coach Paul Litherland.
 
Subiaco will now take on Claremont in the preliminary final this Sunday to earn the right to play South Fremantle in that Grand Final on Sunday September 24 at Domain Stadium.
 
There were a host of South Fremantle players who delivered starring performances to show they are ready for a call up into the league side if an opportunity presents.
 
Brendan Verrier was outstanding for the Bulldogs amassing 39 possessions to go with 10 marks, six tackles, six inside-50 entries and a goal.
 
Jacob Dragovich returned from a hamstring injury and was superb with 38 disposals, 10 marks, seven tackles, seven inside 50s and a goal.
 
Jake Florenca also made sure he continued to put his hand up with 28 touches and 10 tackles while Jarrod Parry collected 25 possessions, Andre Coutinho 21, Jesse Musika 19, Kyle Russell 18, Daniel Burke 18 and Brandon Donaldson 17.
 
David Fiamengo was South Fremantle's only multiple goal-scorer kicking two while Mitch Dzelebdzic worked hard for 17 disposals, six marks and a goal.
 
Josh Pullman kept South Fremantle's defence together to put his hand up for a league recall for this Sunday's preliminary final against Subiaco at Leederville Oval.
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE 2.4 6.6 8.9 11.10 (76)
SUBIACO 1.5 3.6 5.7 5.9 (39)
 
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Fiamengo 2; Musika, Dzelebdzic, Thompson, Coutinho, Pearson, Burke, Verrier, Branchi, Dragovich.
Best: Verrier, Dragovich, Florenca, Parry, Pullman, Musika, Coutinho.
SUBIACO – Goals: Nelson, Stevenson 2; Matera.
Best: Stevenson, Parry, Fimmano, Leach, Ainsworth.