Round 4 Preview v West Perth

Friday, April 5, 2013 - 11:28 AM

SOUTH Fremantle hosts its first home game of the season tonight and it's the only night fixture of the year at Fremantle Oval up against the so far unbeaten West Perth.

Friday night football has been a popular exercise at Fremantle Oval and while it is the only occurrence of it tonight for 2013, it does present a chance to all South Fremantle fans to come down and support their team as the Bulldogs hunt for a first win of 2013.

The Bulldogs have played away the opening two games going down to Claremont at Claremont Oval in Round 1 and then narrowly losing to Perth at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium last week.

South Fremantle, despite the losses, has shown plenty of good signs in those first two games and if it can string four quarters together, then a win isn’t too far away even if it is against a West Perth side that's beaten East Perth and Subiaco already, and is fresh coming off the bye last week.

South Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby has elected to name the same 22 that played Perth last week with Adam Doughty (pelvis) and Andrew McCarrey (ribs) at this stage looking to have overcome their sore bodies to take their place in the side.

Young defender Nick Borovac is on standby, though, for the pair and could come in for his first game of the season after battling a thumb injury with John Sgherza also a chance to return if needed after he returned solidly in the reserves last week after an injury-interrupted pre-season.

Hasleby is looking forward to playing the first game of the season at Fremantle Oval and is looking forward to the challenge that West Perth presents.

"It's good to get our first home game of the season against West Perth who have started well, and seem to be playing a bit of a different brand of footy this year with some class players in there," Hasleby said.

"It's a big challenge for us, but the boys have shown over the first two weeks that when we do apply ourselves we can have a really good result, but the challenge for us now is to be able to sustain it for three or four quarters. When we do that, we will win games of footy."

Not only has Fremantle Oval been a popular venue for Friday night games in the past for players and spectators alike, South Fremantle has also enjoyed some tremendous success on the occasion.

Since 2004, South Fremantle has played 33 night fixtures down at the port and won an impressive 23 of them. That record alone should be enough to suggest that the Bulldogs should look to play more night games at home particularly at this time of year when the weather is conducive to it.

Despite that impressive 23-10 record over the past eight seasons, South Fremantle and West Perth have played just four night games at Fremantle Oval on a Friday in history, and it's the visitors who have had the better of the battles.

West Perth has won three of the four clashes with South Fremantle's only win coming in Round 16, 2010 by a massive 64 points when the Falcons kicked just three goals on the night.

Hasleby himself is a fan of night football and is looking forward to tonight's clash.

"I'm a little bit disappointed it's our only Friday night game of the season. It gives the opportunity for the players to have some weekends free and everyone loves playing under lights," Hasleby said.

"We normally get a good crowd down there on a Friday night in the middle of Fremantle Oval as well, so it would have been nice to have a few more games."

By Chris Pike

Hasleby focuses on getting four quarters from Bulldogs

Thursday, April 4, 2013 - 8:11 PM

SOUTH Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby again saw enough good signs last Saturday against Perth to remain confident that a win isn’t too far away for the Bulldogs early in 2013 with playing well for a whole four quarters the focus.

South Fremantle dominated the first quarter against Perth and led by 19 points at quarter-time but fell 19 point down by early in the third term.

However, the Bulldogs continued to fight hard and scores were level heading into time-on following Mitch Banner's three goals in five minutes, but in a see-sawing last quarter the Demons held on for a 13-point victory.

Hasleby liked parts of what he saw at Brownes Stadium, but knows the Bulldogs need to sustain their efforts for a full four quarters.

"I thought we didn’t take the most of our opportunities inside the forward 50 in that first quarter. We went inside-50 16 times to their four but we were only three goals up and that probably wasn’t a good representation of how the game was played," Hasleby said.

"It was then a complete reversal in the second quarter when they did exactly what we were trying to do, and they pressured more than us and they used the ball a lot smarter. We need to be able to get the momentum back when it's going against us and that's the challenge for the group when things aren’t going our way."

Hasleby did find himself frustrated leaving Lathlain on Saturday, but confident that a win isn’t too far away given the form that the Bulldogs have shown at times during both their first two matches against Claremont and Perth.

"I was very frustrated by the end of the game, but at the same time we did play some good footy for the majority of the game," he said.

"We just had that very poor second quarter when we had a lapse of concentration and all of those things can be rectified easily, so that's the challenge for the group. We will train hard, work on some specific things and front up against West Perth and give it our best this week to see what we can do."

While South Fremantle's defence was still without Nick Borovac and lost Adam Doughty in the first half, Brendon Gulley made a tremendous return after missing Round 1.

He kept West Coast's Fraser McInnes scoreless and Hasleby was delighted with much of his game.

"He is an extremely good athlete and gives 100 per cent every time he goes out. He has to just tidy up a few areas of his game, but he knows how to play on the big guys and he can also play on the smalls, and gives us a fair bit of run and is one of the best spoilers in the competition," Hasleby said.

"He's only going to keep getting better because he's in his second full year of footy so we look forward to him becoming a really good WAFL footballer."

Banner showed strong pre-season form for the Bulldogs on the ball after arriving from Port Adelaide, and as a result has been tagged in both his first two games in the WAFL while in the midfield.

However, when forward he has kicked three goals in both those two games and his coach is happy that he is still finding ways to make a strong contribution.

"He got tagged the first week by Byron Schammer who is one of the best taggers in the league, but on the weekend he had a different role across half-forward and with 19 possessions and 3.2 it's a pretty good effort from a half-forward," he said.

"As a coach, you can't ask for much more than that as coach and obviously we will continue to talk about some of his defensive efforts, but he's improving and six goals in the first two weeks of footy is a pretty good effort from a recruit."

In the absence of Ben Saunders, Paul Mugambwa was outstanding as South Fremantle's main forward target finishing with 12 possessions, seven marks and 3.1.

"Gumby has had a great start to the season. He had surgery over the break so it's a really good comeback from him and he is the most elite forward pressure player in the competition," he said.

"He just gives everything and we are seeing that he can take a few marks, and his kicking was terrific on the weekend. It was one of the most complete all-round games I've seen from him.

"If we can get John Sgherza and Ben Saunders back in as well, it's only going to help him as well and he is a very important player for us, and a very good leader around the club."

Hasleby is hopeful that both Doughty and McCarrey will pull up OK to take on West Perth at Fremantle Oval this Friday night with John Sgherza, Kaiden Matera, Sam Lowrie and Brendan Verrier also putting pressure on the league side for spots after solid efforts in the reserves against Perth.

"Doughty's not as bad as we first thought. It looked initially like he could have had a crack in his pelvis, but it looks like it might now just be a knock so fingers crossed he might be OK for this week, or at least in the next week or two. Andrew McCarrey also got a few injuries during the game so that made it even more difficult for us particularly when some of Perth's forwards were on fire," Hasleby said.

"We want to create a culture where you are banging the door down in the reserves to get a game so that when you come in you are ready, and chock full of confidence. That was Sam Lowrie's first game of the season and it was a great return after he's had a bit of osteitis pubis over the break.

"'Freshy' Verrier just continues to get the footy so that's a great attribute that he has. There's a few things to work on with him, but he should get his opportunity before too long."

By Chris Pike

Red and WHITE – Craig White column April 3

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - 4:41 PM

I RECKON night games at Fremantle Oval are great. The season started pretty early this year on March 16 so as long as the weather is permitting and it's not freezing, the night games tend to work.

They work well with the facilities as well with the TAB and bar upstairs, so the fans enjoy that part of it as well.

The players like it because you get an extra day's break and get to enjoy a Saturday afternoon which is rare during the footy season. The more we can play on a Friday night the better, but obviously we have to work in with the WAFL's fixturing and all of that.

All the boys enjoy getting out there for a night game when the weather is good like it always is at this time of year. The lights are good, it's a quick ground and in dry conditions it's a really good night for the players out there, but the fans watching on also.

It's a little disappointing that this week will be the only Friday night game we have for the year. A few seasons back we had four or five and we never lost too many of them on a Friday night so we obviously loved it. Obviously it's out of our hands how many night games we get and it is tough on the volunteers who have to come back on Saturday for the colts and reserves, but from a player's point of view we would like to play as many of them as we can.

They are also the conditions that we train in every night so that probably gives us a bit of an edge. That gives us a good feel for how the ground plays at night and it can be a little fluky with the breeze, but generally if it's a still night the conditions are great.

There are quite a few Friday night games that we've played down here that stick out as well.

There was a game against East Perth in Round 1, 2010 when we came in undermanned and we lost some players early to injury and had a lot of young guys cramping by the end, but we held on to win and Kyle Hams played really well that night.

There was one against Subiaco back in 2006 when both teams were up and flying, and sharing premierships, that we lost but it was a high-scoring game and really high-quality football. It was 19 goals each in the end and they just won, and it was one of the best games I've played in. Daniel Gilmore played really well for us and Brad Smith was up and going for them, and there were just so many quality footballers going at each other all over the ground on a Friday night. There was a good crowd and atmosphere.

It's also always good when we have a night game here during country week and they try to always have the Upper Great Southern game here before we play, and that ties in well because we have a lot of country boys here and those are always good nights. We do tend to win most of our night games here for whatever reason and it's a good opportunity for the country boys to get out and play in front of some of the fans who don’t get to come up to the city too often.

There is a bit of talk about the lights for night games in the WAFL as well, but as a player our lights here are really good. There is one pocket on the far side that gets a little bit dark near the trees, but generally the lights are really good. I went along last Friday to Leederville and it looked like those lights have dimmed, but our lights here are really good and the more we can get out there, the better.

As for the game itself, we definitely need to get our season on track ASAP. It's definitely going to be a tough road back with Perth having a two-game head start on us, West Perth are up and going and Peel are showing they are tougher as well. We really need to start pulling our fingers out and start winning some games, and there's no better time to start than a Friday night game at home.

By Craig White

Bulldogs narrowly go down to Demons

Saturday, March 30, 2013 - 9:31 PM

SOUTH Fremantle started in dominant fashion and finished strongly but in the end it wasn’t quite enough with Perth coming away with a 13-point win over the Bulldogs at Brownes Stadium.

South Fremantle completely dominated the first quarter and led by 19 points at quarter-time, and it could have been more, but fell 26 points down by midway through the last term.

The Bulldogs kept fighting, though, and closed to within seven points in the dying stages but Perth ended up steadying with a late goal to win 16.9 (105) to 14.8 (92).

Despite playing his 281st WAFL game, Kris Miller is showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down and picked up a team-high 27 possessions for the Bulldogs to go with six marks and seven entries inside the forward 50.

Captain Ryan Cook gathered 19 disposals to go with nine marks and five inside 50s. Defender Adam McIntosh had 18 disposals as did Alex Grima with Jacob Martinez finishing with 17 touches, Reece Adams 16, Mitch Carter 15 and Toby Bairstow 15.

Brendon Gulley returned after missing Round 1 against Claremont to strengthen the defence and was tremendous keeping West Coast's young big man Fraser McInnes scoreless and to just 11 possessions and three marks.

Sean Tighe once again worked hard in the ruck up against both Christian Eyres and Mitchell Lleyendekkers, and finished with 13 possessions, eight marks and 20 hit outs.

Meanwhile up forward in the absence of Ben Saunders, Paul Mugambwa was outstanding every time the ball came near him. While that didn’t happen enough after quarter-time, he still looked likely to mark it each time the ball was in his vicinity.

Mugambwa's kicking was also strong as he booted three goals and the one shot he missed he still struck it well and only narrowly missed. He had 12 possessions and seven marks to go with his three goals.

Mitch Banner and Adam Guglielmana both kicked three goals each as well with Alistair Gillespie adding two.

South Fremantle's midfield, fed by ruckman Tighe, completely dominated Perth in the first quarter and the likes of Miller, Cook, Adams, Bairstow and Grima continued to drive the ball forward with Andrew McCarrey and Mugambwa providing strong marking targets.

In fact, Perth took almost 10 minutes to even go inside their forward 50 and 23 minutes for their only goal of the opening term as South Fremantle booted four to lead by 19 points at the first change.

When Guglielmana booted his second goal early in the second quarter the Bulldogs were still in control and 18 points up, but momentum began to swing Perth's way when a dubious goal was paid to Simon Donovan despite it clearly appearing to cross the face of goal and go through for a behind.

However, the goal was paid and the Demons went on to kick the last five goals of the half to lead by 13 points at the main break.

South Fremantle worked its way back into the contest midway through the third quarter thanks to three goals in five minutes to Banner, who only minutes previous had missed a shot directly in front.

He more than made up for it with his three quick goals to bring scores back level, but Perth again steadied to lead by 12 points by three quarter-time and as much as 26 midway through the final quarter.

South Fremantle wouldn’t go away, though, and two quick goals to Gillespie and Guglielmana's third for the afternoon late had the margin just seven points, but that's as close as the Bulldogs got.

South Fremantle's reserves also narrowly went down to Perth by 13 points. Kaiden Matera kicked three goals with John Sgherza making a strong return from injury kicking two to go with 15 possessions.

Eric Moody also booted two goals with Brendan Verrier gathering 26 possessions, Sam Lowrie 22 and Simon Panizza 16 to go with a goal.

Meanwhile, the Bulldogs colts scored a resounding 68-point win over Perth to start the day.

Ben Sokol kicked four goals from 23 possessions with Blaine Johnson also kicking four from 21. Cameron McCarthy and Matthew Ah Siu both booted three goals as well with Ben Horsman adding two.

Dylan Main gathered 31 possessions with Matthew Gundry also picking up 19, Tim Stewart 16 and Sheldon Taylor 16.

SOUTH FREMANTLE                        4.4          5.6          9.7          14.8        (92)

PERTH                                                   1.3          7.7          11.7        16.9        (105) 

SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Guglielmana, Mugambwa, Banner 3; Gillespie 2; McCarrey, Carter, Smith.

Best: Miller, Mugambwa, Gulley, Grima, Tighe, Banner, Cook.

PERTH – Goals: Bevan 6; Reimers 4; Donovan 3; Boyle, Lleyendekkers, Bateman.

Best: Bevan, Butler, Smith, Reimers, Moody, Hodge, Sinclair.

By Chris Pike

Round 3 Preview v Perth

Friday, March 29, 2013 - 1:35 PM

SOUTH Fremantle returns to WAFL action this Saturday following the Round 2 bye to take on Perth at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium with some more than handy inclusions.

South Fremantle began the season in Round 1 with a good effort in the first half against two-time reigning premiers Claremont before ending up losing by 48 points at Claremont Oval with a host of young players in the side, and Ben Saunders going down injured early in the third quarter.

The Bulldogs have had two weeks to stew on that first up loss and now will come out ready to fire at Brownes Stadium on Saturday against a Perth team that had a solid first up win in Round 1 also at home over Peel Thunder before having the bye last weekend as well.

South Fremantle was missing a host of key players for that Round 1 clash against Claremont including Craig White, Adam Guglielmana, John Sgherza, Brendon Gulley, Nick Borovac and Adam Carter with some of those returning to take on the Demons this Saturday.

White comes back into the Bulldogs team after missing Round 1 due a wedding to play his first game since the 2011 first semi-final loss to Subiaco due to him spending a year in Sydney playing and coaching at the Balmain Dockers in 2012.

Important midfielder and goal kicker Adam Guglielmana also comes in for South Fremantle with youngster Jacob Martinez pushing for selection and young key defender Brendon Gulley also back to strengthen an undermanned and youthful Bulldogs' back-line at present.

Saunders goes out of South Fremantle's team with his broken collarbone with young midfielder Anthony Collica also out of the line-up.

South Fremantle has a strong record against Perth over the last decade as well to call upon having won 17 of the last 24 meetings between the two clubs including six of 11 at the Lathlain venue.

Bulldogs coach Paul Hasleby certainly took some positives out of the performance against Claremont in Round 1 and is hoping that can translate to a win come this Saturday against Perth.

"It was disappointing we didn’t win because we were in a position to at half-time, but there were so many positives that we take out of it," Hasleby said.

"It was Round 1 and we need to win some games now, and we'll give it our best shot against Perth."

By Chris Pike

Gillespie already thriving in fresh start at Bulldogs

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 6:22 PM

VERSATILE big man Alistair Gillespie came to South Fremantle in 2013 for a fresh start and more opportunities and is confident of continuing to step up whether in the ruck or up forward after getting his first game against his former side out of the way.

Gillespie showed some good signs over the last three years at Claremont, but could only break in for six league matches and five Foxtel Cup appearances culminating in a best on ground display in last year's reserves premiership, Claremont's third straight.

However, he was after both a fresh start and more opportunities and landed at South Fremantle over the summer, and couldn’t have been happier with the way the move has so far panned out.

Despite the Round 1 loss to Claremont, Gillespie showed some good signs mostly from centre half-forward and is now looking forward to the rest of 2013 with his new club.

"I left Claremont on pretty good terms last year. I was fairly open to the playing group and we were quite close having been together for four or five years," Gillespie said.

"I told them that I wasn’t enjoying training as much and I lost the passion a bit, and as soon as I came down here it was head down and bum up, and I enjoyed the hard work.

"I wasn’t really second guessing anything and it was good to put that first game against Claremont to bed so I can get on with the rest of the season."

As for that Round 1 clash against Claremont at Claremont Oval, it was certainly weird for Gillespie given the number of years he spent at Tigerland but he was glad to get the game out of the way early on and to perform reasonably well in front of his former club.

"It was weird going off on the different side of the ground and seeing the Claremont colours against me. It brought back a few memories after I was there for so long, but it was good to get it out of the way," he said.

"I didn’t really get much stick from the playing group either. There were a few in the first five minutes when I got a few niggles, but other than that it was pretty tame.

"We gave them a good run for their money in that first half as well. It was good to take a few of those grabs to get rid of those nerves, but I have to keep working on holding onto more marks and I have a lot to work on."

While opportunities were one factor in Gillespie joining South Fremantle, it was more to get a fresh start with his football and he had no doubt that Bulldogs coach Paul Hasleby was the man he wanted to continue to develop under.

"I just needed a fresh start somewhere else. They told me I would get opportunities at Claremont this year and I did get in there a fair bit last year, but I was just worried about a fresh vision from Hase as coach and getting into a new club so I could enjoy my footy again," he said.

"I had a bit to do with Hase through Scham at Claremont and I met him through some mates. We didn’t really talk straightaway about getting me across, it was more talking about my footy as a whole and he just struck me as someone who cared about my footy and had a fresh vision for me.

"So I knew I wouldn’t be hearing the same things every week and Hase had some fresh pointers and he was the big draw point for me to come down here. He was quite honest with what he thought about my footy and where he could help and improve me."

While another former Tiger Ben Saunders had a breakout year in 2012 upon joining South Fremantle winning the Bernie Naylor Medal, that didn’t really play into Gillespie's decision to come to the Bulldogs.

He is confident that between himself and Paul Mugambwa they can help pick up the slack while he is out with a broken collarbone though.

"It's a really rare thing what Saundo did last year and you can't really underestimate it. After only playing a couple of games of senior footy, to then come across and do what he did was a great effort," Gillespie said.

"I didn’t really look at that, I more was looking at the regular opportunity I could get to play league footy. Hase didn’t say he would hand it to me, but I would be a good chance if I did all the right things. If I could end up doing half of what Benny did last year, I'll be pretty happy.

"It will be interesting to see how we adapt to losing Benny. I think I might come up a bit higher and rotate with Gumby so the workload isn’t all on him up the ground. I will continue to help Seany Tighe in the ruck too I think."

Not only is Gillespie a good option up forward whether coming up the goal square or leading up from centre half-forward, he is also a more than handy back-up ruckman and is looking forward to working more closely with the likes of Ryan Cook, Kris Miller, Toby Bairstow, Anthony Collica and Mitch Banner in the midfield.

"I really enjoy going into the ruck. I think that game in the pre-season against Swan Districts showed that a little bit when I didn’t get much of it down forward, but when I went up the ground I really like to get my hands on it and distribute to the midfielders and help them out with a bit of pressure," he said.

"I really do enjoy that role when it comes off and I do well in there. I really liked Collica's game first up and I always rated him through the pre-season until he hurt his hammy.

"I really rate how he's come along and obviously Banner is a bit of a class act with the experience he has from the AFL, and he did well in the SANFL for a long period of time. You can just see the class of those players and it's just a matter of time before they become one unit and they will start dismantling other midfields in the comp. they definitely have the potential to do that."

He might have missed Claremont's last two league premierships the previous two years, but Gillespie still enjoyed 2012 particularly to star in the Foxtel Cup grand final victory and the reserves premiership to cap off the year.

"It was just really enjoyable last year for a lot of reasons," Gillespie said.

"There were a few other guys in my same position in terms of being on the fringe of the league side.

"Obviously it was tough to get in there with a lot of AFL players and established players, but it was good to enjoy that ressies premiership for the third time in-a-row with the same core group who had been through the same thing as me.

"It was good recognition for the hard work we put in during the year."

By Chris Pike

SFFC v Perth Under 16s Development Team game 5pm Saturday 30 March

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 2:46 PM

Members, guests and fans are encouraged to stay around after the league game this Saturday to watch our 16’s development team play Perth.

The team have been working hard and are hoping to continue their good form from the 30pt round 1 win over Claremont. [South Fremantle 10.13 (73) d Claremont 6.7 (43)]. Best players were Ah Chee, Petera and McGuiness.

These players are the future of the club and some will be playing colts during the 2013 season.

Their busy pre season schedule has included:

·         Once a week training between late November until Christmas

·         Twice a week training from early January until the end of April

·         Fitness time trials and fitness testings

·         Nutrition education sessions

·         Boot camps and overnight camps for team building exercises

·         Life skills and education talks (outside of football)

·         Scratch matches against the U17 South Fremantle Colts team, Clontarf Academy and East Perth.

Fixtures for the remainder of the carnival are:

6th April Vs West Perth @ Fremantle Oval 2:00pm (Post Reserves)

13th April Vs Swan Districts @ Steel Blue Oval 5:00pm (Post League)

19th April Vs Subiaco @ Medibank Stadium 7:00pm

27th April vs East Fremantle @ Fremantle Oval 10:00am (Pre Colts game)


$15 Wednesday Steak Nights

Friday, March 22, 2013 - 6:06 PM

THE South Fremantle Football Club will be hosting $15 Wednesday steak nights every second week in the Function Centre at Fremantle Oval.

The Bulldogs are looking to revitalise things around the club in 2013 and in a bid to try to attract the general public, fans and members back to Fremantle Oval, are excited to announce the $15 steak nights.

The first will be on Wednesday March 27 with two more to come on April 10 and April 24. If they are successful, the South Fremantle Football Club will only be too happy to continue the imitative.

South Fremantle's senior squad will also be training on Wednesday nights so you will be able to watch coach Paul Hasleby and his players out in action on the park while enjoying your meal.

New South Fremantle chief executive Stuart Kemp is excited by the new initiative.

"The Wednesday night $15 steak nights is something we hope will become a traditional gathering now during the year," Kemp said.

"We have a wonderful venue here at Fremantle Oval and by coming down and enjoying your dinner, you will be able to watch the boys train, join them for a meal afterwards and then relax and have a great meal with your family or friends.

"Numero Uno, our delicious caterers, will be putting on the value for money dinner that you will keep coming back for. Come on down and enjoy yourself. Please book at the club."


 April 10, April 24

Fremantle Function Centre – Public Bar


6.00pm – Bar Open

6.30pm – Kitchen Open

8.30pm – Kitchen Closed



Scotch Fillet, salad and chips

T-Bone, salad and chips

Fish and chips



Hasleby sees plenty of positives from Round 1

Wednesday, March 20, 2013 - 6:26 PM

DESPITE Saturday's loss to Claremont in Round 1 and an injury to full-forward Ben Saunders, South Fremantle coach Paul Hasleby still found plenty of positives against the reigning premiers to look with optimism towards the rest of 2013.

Even though the Bulldogs were without a host of key players and then lost Saunders to a broken collarbone early in the second half, they played well in the first half with scores level at half-time and then showed some good fight in the last term to not totally get blown away.

Coming up against the premiers of the last two years and doing it without Craig White, John Sgherza, Brendon Gulley, Nick Borovac, Ashton Hams and Shaun Bewick just to name a handful from what could be considered South Fremantle's best 22 it was always going to be tough.

Obviously it's never fun to lose and Hasleby knows his team has plenty of work to do coming out of the game against Claremont, but he also saw plenty of positives particularly the debuts of Kingsley Smith and Tom Vandeleur, the efforts of Sean Tighe in the ruck as well as the games of Ryan Cook, Alistair Gillespie, Mitch Carter, Mitch banner, Anthony Collica and Kris Miller.

"In the first half we showed some terrific signs, the ball movement was good and we were getting it into the right areas for our forwards. We probably could have gone in with a bit of a lead, but we didn’t and Claremont proved why they are a quality side after that," Hasleby said.

"They flicked the ball around pretty well and got some dominance around the clearances in that third quarter. We had a few guys playing their first games and also some coming in off a limited preparation so we still certainly take some positives out of the game.

"It was disappointing we didn’t win because we were in a position to at half-time, but there were so many positives that we take out of it. It's Round 1 and we need to win some games now, and we'll give it our best shot against Perth."

The bad news from the game was the collarbone injury to Saunders and obviously last year's Bernie Naylor Medallist will be a big loss, but Hasleby is confident that the return of Sgherza and possibly moving Andrew McCarrey forward could help offset his absence.

"It looks like he will out for about six weeks. We have two byes in that time so hopefully he only misses three or four games, but we will get John Sgherza back up and running in the next week or two so maybe he could come in and help us out," he said.

"Obviously we will miss him though, 65 goals from last year will be hard to replace. McCarrey could go forward. Vandeleur did very well and held his own down there, Gulley should come back into the team and we will have to look at finding avenues to goal so McCarrey could be one of them."

Gillespie did well in his first game for South Fremantle since crossing from Claremont over the summer. He attacked the ball well from centre half-forward and finished with 13 touches, five marks and a goal.

"He competed very well 'Dizzy'," Hasleby said.

"He took a couple of spectacular marks and he still has some work to do, and he can take a few more if he keeps his hands outstretched and we will work with him, but to have that extra tall player to support Saundo and Gumby in the forward-line is pretty important for us."

Without a doubt, though, South Fremantle's best was ruckman Tighe who finished with 22 possessions, 22 hit outs and two goals up against Claremont pair Mark Seaby and Mitch Andrews, and their combined AFL premiership and three WAFL flags.

"I've always thought Sean is a great ruckman and one of the better ones in the competition because he gets the ball, wins clearances and now he's starting to add goals to his game," he said.

"He kicked two goals as well and when he was up against Seaby and Andrews it was a tough combination, but I thought he did a very good job against them."

Another positive was the performance on debut up forward of 21-year-old Smith. Hasleby was a big supporter of his to come down to South Fremantle and was glad to see him kick a couple of impressive goals, and he was rapt to see Vandeleur step up while aged just 17 at the time.

He turned 18 just this Wednesday.

"Kinger and I come from the same hometown so when I got the job I got him down to play with us. He did it tough last year in the reserves, but he kept working at his game and he certainly has got some great attributes which I love as a coach. He was terrific," he said.

"And what a great story Tom is. We had Gulley out suspended so we needed to play a taller defender because we thought they would have Jones as well.

"It turned out it didn’t pan out that way, but Tom came in and certainly held his own for a kid who hasn’t trained with us. I think he's still 17 so he has a big future ahead of him."

South Fremantle now has the bye this week before taking on Perth at Lathlain's Brownes Stadium next Saturday, and Hasleby is confident that at least White, Gulley and Sgherza will be available to come in.

"All bar Borovac and Bewick should be right to play in two weeks time. Borovac will get the wrapping off his thumb that week so we will see how he goes, but it's a big two weeks for us and we need to get a lot of training into those guys to make sure they do well when they come in," Hasleby said.

"Collica came in this week off a limited preparation and he was terrific because we now have a good fitness guy in Mike Vegar who can get guys up and going.

"We have to hit the training track and try to improve as much as we can. We will give the guys a bit of time off on the weekend and then it will be business as usual next week."

By Chris Pike

Bulldogs go down in Round 1 to reigning premiers

Sunday, March 17, 2013 - 1:32 PM

SOUTH Fremantle gave it a big shake in the first half against Claremont on Saturday at Claremont Oval to open the WAFL season, but in the end were overrun by the reigning premiers going down by 48 points.

The Bulldogs played an outstanding first half despite missing a bevy of key players coming into the Round 1 contest.

South Fremantle levelled up scores just before the half-time break when Kingsley Smith goaled at the 31-minute mark of the second quarter, but things started to go wrong early in the third term.

Last year's Bernie Naylor Medallist Ben Saunders, who had kicked two impressive goals in the first half, went down with a suspected fractured collarbone and Claremont went on to kick 13 goals to five in the second half to win 20.12 (132) to 12.12 (84) on the same day they unfurled their premiership flag from 2012.

South Fremantle might not have quite been able to keep with Claremont in the second half, but the Bulldogs never stopped fighting in the last quarter.

At several stages, the Tigers looked set to run away with a 10-plus goal win but the young Bulldogs kept fighting and booted four last quarter goals against the run of play.

It was an extremely youthful South Fremantle line-up with Sean Lynch, Warrick Andreoli, Smith and Tom Vandeleur all making their league debuts.

With Haiden Schloithe, Anthony Collica, Mitch Carter, Adam McIntosh, Alistair Gillespie, Jason Maskos, Dylan Ross and Adam Doughty all having played 22 or less league games coming into the match as well.

That is more than half the side that was incredibly young with South Fremantle without Craig White, Adam Guglielmana, John Sgherza, Brendon Gulley, Nick Borovac, Ashton Hams, Shaun Bewick and Adam Carter from what could be considered the best 22 coming into 2013.

Sean Tighe was South Fremantle's best right throughout the game doing a manful job in the ruck up against an AFL premiership ruckman in Mark Seaby and two-time WAFL premiership ruckman Mitch Andrews.

Tighe finished the game with 22 possessions, 22 hit outs and two goals as he continued on from last year where he emerged as one of the best ruckmen in the competition in his first season in the WAFL.

South Fremantle also had plenty of good ball winners through the middle with captain Ryan Cook working hard to gather 24 possessions to go with eight marks and seven entries inside-50.

Veteran Kris Miller picked up 23 touches as well as did Collica who was coming off an interrupted pre-season but performed well.

Mitch Banner was watched closely by Byron Schammer all afternoon, but the former Port Adelaide midfielder fought through the tag to finish with 19 possessions and got forward to kick three goals.

Smith also kicked two goals on debut with Saunders adding two before he went off injured.

Gillespie showed good signs at centre half-forward giving South Fremantle that leading target and he finished with 13 possessions, five marks and a goal.

The young defence was under-siege all day but Doughty, Vandeleur, McIntosh, Andrew McCarrey and Ross held it down the best they can, while Schloithe had a good battle all day long with Ian Richardson.

Earlier, South Fremantle's reserves went down to Claremont by 51 points but there were some strong performers to push up for league consideration in two week's time against Perth.

Myles Bolger and Kaiden Matera kicked two goals each while Brendan Verrier gathered 18 possessions, Joseph Pantano 15, Rhys D'Alton 15, Zachary Strom 14 and Tim Kelly 14.

The colts also started the day narrowly going down to the colts by two points.

Jermaine Lewis kicked three goals for the Bulldogs with Cameron McCarthy adding two. Ben Sokol picked up 20 possessions, Dylan Main 19 and Brad McPhail 17. 

SOUTH FREMANTLE                        3.3          7.6          8.9          12.12     (84)

CLAREMONT                                      3.5          7.6          14.10     20.12     (132)

SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Banner 3; Smith, Saunders, Tighe 2; Winter, Mugambwa, Gillespie.

Best: Tighe, Cook, Miller, Collica, Smith, McIntosh, Schloithe.

CLAREMONT – Goals: McGovern 4; Hamp, Murphy 3; Richardson, Medhurst 2; Blackwell, Bradshaw, Browne, Winmar, Schammer.

Best: Browne, McGovern, Murphy, Schammer, Davies, Foster.

By Chris Pike