Off the leash: Bulldogs go back to back by Sandra Argese
There’s a fresh blend of confidence brewing down at the South Fremantle camp – one that we weren’t sure existed for the first four rounds of season 2017.
But if last week’s 185 point domination of East Perth wasn’t enough to silence the critics, the Bulldogs’ gritty 19 point win on Sunday afternoon at Fremantle Community Bank Oval over a spirited West Perth sure did the trick.
Fetching themselves a second win for 2017 in consecutive weeks, the home side remained composed and though tested at times, never looked in serious danger of losing.
From the get go it was Bulldog Chae-Lee Salbie that provided the ultimate curtain raiser – nailing a superb set shot just over two minutes into the game. Teammate Jessie Mcdonald followed up the effort by running into an open goal to put through the sides second. West Perth’s Laura Pugh interrupted the trend, kicking truly to put through the Falcons’ first and only major for the opening term.
Larissa Bennell stayed true to career best form, swinging forward to open the second term with a handy goal. But it was Falcon Kristen Jayasuria that won the quarter highlight with a quick and classy snap that sealed her sides only major for the quarter.
A marking contest collision virtually centimetres from West Perth’s goalline between Bulldog Casey Byrne and Ellie Hansen saw the later come off second best and carried from the ground.
While majors from Tess Moynihan and Chloe Metcalf won the third term for the Falcons, the Bulldogs fired up and took control of the final quarter, kicking two goals to one.
Salbie proved a prolific ball user and saw out the game with a slew of goal assists and effective disposals to her name, while West Perth’s Brooke Hongell left nothing in the tank, creating opportunities around the ground and setting the benchmark high with her quality pace, consistent pressure and productive tackling. Bulldog Lucy Vandermeer proved productive in each ruck contest, dominating the hitouts and feeding the ball down the throats of her teammates at every turn.
Bulldog Beatrice Devlyn finished the game with a mound of possessions to her name – even slotting the final goal of the match to diminish any possible opportunity for a Falcon fightback.
But the entire show was stolen by Mcdonald, who rose to each challenge and put in her claim for a best on ground performance to finish with four of South’s seven match goals to her name.
Her slice of third quarter magic was one for the highlights reel, as she slammed ball on boot through traffic on the impossible angle to seal what many could argue is the best goal of 2017 so far.
?South Fremantle will be looking to take their confidence into Round 8 with an upset against reigning premiers Swan Districts at Steel Blue Oval, whilst West Perth’s loss shouldn’t poison their claim as favourites as they take on the winless Royals at Altone Park.
QUARTER BY QUARTER
SOUTH FREMANTLE: 2.2 (14) 4.4 (28) 5.7 (37) 7.10 (52)
WEST PERTH: 1.1 (7) 2.2 (14) 4.3 (27) 5.3 (33)
SOUTH FREMANTLE: Jessie Mcdonald (4), Beatrice Devlyn, Larissa Bennell, Chae-Lee Salbie.
WEST PERTH: Chloe Metcalf (2), Tess Moynihan, Kristen Jayasuria, Laura Pugh.