WEST Perth returned to top spot in the WAFL on Saturday by bouncing back with a hard earned win while Claremont and South Fremantle are hot on their heels with Subiaco putting themselves back in the finals mix and Peel Thunder returning to the top five.
Never has the evenness of the WAFL competition being better emphasised than following the Saturday's results which saw West Perth back to top spot, East Fremantle fall from first to fourth, Peel replace Swan Districts in fifth spot and Subiaco to now be just one game from the top five.
All five Round 9 WAFL matches took place on Saturday starting at Optus Stadium with Subiaco making it consecutive wins beating the West Coast Eagles 14.6 (90) to 8.14 (62).
Ryan Borchet continued his terrific form with another five goals for Subiaco while Liam Hickmott racked up 30 possessions and Lachlan Delahunty 27 to go with 14 hit outs. Alex Witherden had 32 touches for West Coast and Josh Browne 26.
Then later on Saturday afternoon, Claremont improved to second spot on the ladder to be just percentage off top spot by beating East Fremantle 14.11 (95) to 11.13 (79) at the WACA Ground.
Tyron Smallwood kicked four goals for Claremont with Jye Bolton amassing 31 possessions. Jonathon Marsh kicked three goals for East Fremantle and Cam Eardley had another 29 touches.
Peel Thunder returned to fifth position as a result of an 18.9 (117) to 7.10 (52) win against East Perth at Lane Group Stadium in Mandurah to celebrate the 100th appearance of dual premiership player Blair Bell.
Guy Barnes and Joel Western kicked four goals apiece for Peel with Matt Taberner adding three while Neil Erasmus had 26 touches as did Ethan Hughes and Lloyd Meek dominated the ruck. Tom Medhat kicked another three goals for East Perth and Hamish Brayshaw collected 35 disposals.
West Perth rebounded from losing to East Fremantle last week to reclaim top position by beating Swan Districts 10.8 (68) to 7.8 (50) at Joondalup's Pentanet Stadium.
Mitch Antonio came into the West Perth team and kicked three goals with Aaron Black amassing 34 possessions as did Luke Meadows. Jesse Palmer kicked two goals for Swans with Jesse Turner gathering another 32 touches.
South Fremantle then made it three consecutive wins to move up to third position on the WAFL ladder by beating Perth 12.12 (84) to 6.10 (46) at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in the 100th game for the Bulldogs of premiership captain Dylan Main.
Jimmy Miller kicked three goals for South Fremantle with Toby McQuilkin compiling another 31 touches off half-back. Kristian Cary kicked three goals for Perth with Matt Taylor finishing with 25 possessions.
WAFL PREMIERSHIP SEASON – ROUND 9
WEST COAST EAGLES 8.14 (62) lost to SUBIACO 14.6 (90)
Subiaco has won consecutive matches for the second time in 2022 with the reigning premiers beginning to build some momentum after Saturday's 28-point win over the West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium.
The two teams did battle at Optus Stadium in the lead up to the AFL contest later in the day between West Coast and Geelong, and Subiaco quickly worked on top with the only three goals of the opening term.
The Lions were able to convert that into an eventual 14.6 (90) to 8.14 (62) victory to be now knocking on the door of the top five while West Coast has lost 13 straight matches dating back to last year.
Subiaco was looking to string wins together and start to build some momentum in 2022, and started well on Optus Stadium with the first two goals of the game against West Coast through Ben Sokol and Ryan Borchet.
It took until the 25-minute mark for the third goal of the first term and again that went the way of Subiaco thanks to Noah Ash which saw them take a 16-point edge going into quarter-time.
The Lions then made sure they had the first four goals of the game with Josh Robbins kicking truly to start the second term. It took until three minutes into second quarter for West Coast to kick its first goal and it was thanks to Jack Williams.
It started off a goal feast the rest of the half with Sokol adding his second for Subiaco, and Borchet his second and third while Jack Eastough, Logan Young and Mitch Henderson kicked truly for the Eagles.
Subiaco was still on top by 15 points at the main break, though, but West Coast was back within nine with Isiah Winder kicking a goal to start the second half with hopes rising of their first win of 2022.
It wasn’t to be with Subiaco finishing the third term with goals to Borchet, Max Walters, Robbins and Borchet again to see the lead grow out to 29 points.
That became 34 points early in the fourth term with a goal to Galen Savigni before the Lions went on to win 14.6 (90) to 8.14 (62) to make it two straight wins while the Eagles are still unbeaten in 2022.
Ryan Borchet continued his standout recent form up forward for Subiaco kicking another five goals from eight kicks and six marks. Ben Sokol and Josh Robbins also kicked two goals apiece for the Lions.
Liam Hickmott continued to emerge as one of Subiaco's best and most consistent performers producing another 30 possessions in the win against the Eagles.
Lachlan Delahunty was terrific in the ruck once more with 27 touches and 14 hit outs while Leigh Kitchin finished with 25 disposals, Drew Rohde 23, Max Walters 22, Angus Dewar 20, Wil Hickmott 20 and Chad Harris 20.
Alex Witherden put his hand up for an AFL recall with West Coast by finishing the game with 32 possessions and 16 marks.
Josh Rotham was thrown into the ruck in an unfamiliar role and ended up having a fascinating battle with five-time Subiaco premiership star Lachlan Delahunty. Rotham had 21 touches, 20 hit outs, eight marks and seven inside 50s.
Josh Browne also collected 26 possessions for the Eagles, Jai Culley 20, Ethan Hansen 20, Isiah Winder 19, Mitch Henderson 19, Zane Trew 18 and Luke Foley 18.
EAST FREMANTLE 11.13 (79) lost to CLAREMONT 14.11 (95)
East Fremantle and Claremont produced a terrific contest at the WACA Ground on Saturday including combining for 12 first quarter goals before the Tigers ended up beating the Sharks by 16 points.
For the second straight week East Fremantle hosted a top of the table battle at the WACA Ground on the back of returning to top spot on the WAFL ladder after beating West Perth last Saturday.
The Sharks took on the Tigers this time around and in the end it was Claremont who came away with the 14.11 (95) to 11.13 (79) win to move within just 7.17 per cent of top spot while the loss saw East Fremantle fall from first to fourth position.
If you wanted a scorching opening to a top of the table clash at a famous venue like the WACA Ground, then you sure came to the right place with the Sharks and Tigers combining to kick 12 goals in a stunning opening quarter.
Claremont kicked the first two goals of the contest inside five minutes through Callan England and Zac Mainwaring before East Fremantle got on the board courtesy of Blaine Boekhorst.
The Tigers fired back with Tyron Smallwood, Bailey Rogers and Coen Jackman giving them five goals in the first 16 minutes and to lead by 24 points already.
East Fremantle weren’t put off, though, and fired right back with four goals in seven minutes with two of those from Jonathon Marsh with others coming from Matthew Burton, Alex Montauban and Luke English.
That saw them turn a 24-point deficit into a one-point lead in less than eight minutes before both teams got one more before quarter-time through Jack Buller and Cody Leggett with East Fremantle up by a point at the first change.
Neither team could quite keep that pacing going and there was only the three goals in total in the second term starting with Montauban kicking his second for East Fremantle of the day.
The Sharks' lead did get out to 10 points but Claremont dominated the rest of the half with a couple of goals to Mainwaring and Smallwood following six consecutive behinds and that saw the Tigers lead by seven points at the long break.
The Sharks regained the momentum to start the second half and goals to Boekhorst and Ryan Lester-Smith saw them return to a 10-pont lead, and they were still up 10 at the 23-minute mark with another goal from Marsh.
However, East Fremantle would only kick one more goal the rest of the way with Claremont closing the third term with goals to Timm House and Ben Edwards to trail by just four points.
Claremont then managed to kick the only four goals of the last term to end up winning 14.11 (95) to 11.13 (79) to leapfrog the Sharks on the WAFL ladder and to be only percentage behind West Perth for top position.
Tyron Smallwood made the most of his chances as a small forward for Claremont kicking four goals from nine kicks to go with five marks and four tackles. Zac Mainwaring was the only other multiple goalkicker for the Tigers with two.
Jye Bolton maintained his strong form for Claremont gathering another 31 possessions while Lachlan Martinis finished with 25 touches, Ryan Lim 22, Jack Lewsey 20, Ben Elliott 20, Ben Edwards 19, Jack Buller 18 and Oliver Eastland 16 to go with 25 hit outs.
Jonathon Marsh kicked three goals for East Fremantle from 17 touches with Blaine Boekhorst collecting 26 possessions and kicking two goals with Alex Montauban also kicking two majors.
Cam Eardley set up play well once more off-back for the Sharks to finish with 29 touches while Milan Murdock gathered another 25 disposals, Luke English21, Jackson McDonald 20 and Jarrad Jansen 16.
PEEL THUNDER 18.9 (117) defeated EAST PERTH 7.10 (52)
Peel Thunder dominated East Perth after quarter-time in Mandurah on Saturday to win by 65 points and return to fifth position on the WAFL ladder as a result.
Peel only led narrowly by a point at quarter-time at Lane Group Stadium on Saturday before the Thunder dominated the rest of the way with 15 goals to four to come away with the 18.9 (117) to 7.10 (52) win.
The win improves the Thunder to a 5-4 record on the season to sit in fifth position while the Royals are now 3-6 having lost their past three matches.
It was East Perth who started well with the first goal of the game away from home courtesy of Sam Van Diemen before Sam Sturt kicked accurately to get the Thunder on the board.
Tom Medhat then managed his first of the day for the Royals before Liam Henry answered for the Thunder, and the teams traded goals again leading into quarter-time with a second for East Perth to Medhat and Guy Barnes with the third for the home side.
It might have been an even first quarter but the Thunder opened up impressively to start the second term with three goals in seven minutes courtesy of Joel Western, Matt Taberner and then Western again.
The Royals stayed in touch with Ben McGuire kicking a goal at the nine-minute mark, but the Thunder continued to pull away leading into the half-time break with goals to Barnes, Taberner and Barnes again to see them on top by 33 points at the long break.
The Thunder then blew that lead out further to start the second half with a goal to Mitch Crowden before Peel then finished the third quarter with four goals in the last 13 minutes to see the lead balloon out to 57 points by three quarter-time.
Peel managed another three goals to one in the last term to end up winning emphatically 18.9 (117) to 7.10 (52) and that saw them improve their percentage enough to leap over Swan Districts into fifth position after Round 9.
Guy Barnes continued the tremendous start to his WAFL career with Peel kicking another four goals as a small forward from eight kicks and five marks.
Joel Western also kicked four goals in the win for the Thunder while Matt Taberner marked his return from injury to kick three as well from 12 kicks and eight marks.
Neil Erasmus finished the afternoon with 26 touches and 12 tackles for Peel while Ethan Hughes delivered 26 disposals, Mitch Crowden 21, Matthew Johnson 19, Nathan Wilson 18 and Traye Bennell 17.
Lloyd Meek also produced a dominant ruck performance up against Scott Jones with 24 possessions, 27 hit outs and six marks.
Tom Medhat continued to thrive as a key forward option for East Perth kicking three goals with Ben McGuire adding two majors.
Hamish Brayshaw continued his outstanding form for the Royals finishing the afternoon with 35 possessions, seven marks, seven inside 50s and five tackles.
Angus Scott amassed 25 touches, Stan Wright 23, Jack Cooley 23, Jackson Ramsay 22 and Damon Greaves 19.
WEST PERTH 10.8 (68) defeated SWAN DISTRICTS 7.8 (50)
West Perth battled hard to beat Swan Districts by 18 points on Saturday in Joondalup to reclaim top position on the WAFL ladder.
West Perth was back home to Pentanet Stadium after a narrow loss to East Fremantle at the WACA Ground last Saturday while Swan Districts arrived on the back of a three-game winning streak.
Conditions were challenging and it was a tight contest most of the way but in the end West Perth kicked two goals to one the entire second half to end up winning 10.8 (68) to 7.8 (50).
The win made it six consecutive victories for West Perth against Swan Districts and returned the Falcons to top position while Swans slipped outside of the top five with a 5-4 record.
Swan Districts was back to the scene of the heartbreaking elimination final loss last year and started well looking to build on the momentum of three straight wins.
Sam Fisher kicked the first goal of the game for the black-and-whites at the eight-minute mark but West Perth answered almost immediately courtesy of spearhead Tyler Keitel.
The Falcons then also kicked the next two goals through Nathan Alexandre and Conal Lynch to open up a 15-point advantage but Swans got one back just before quarter-time through Victorian recruit Ryan Kemp to bring the margin back to six points at the first break.
The margin was then just one point early in the second term when Brayden Noble kicked truly for the visitors but again the Falcons responded with goals to Lynch and Aaron Black.
Then when Keitel kicked his second of the day West Perth was up by 20 points before a steadier for Swan Districts thanks to in-form co-captain Jesse Turner.
West Perth was building some momentum, though, and goals to Mitch Antonio and Michael Mallard saw the lead for the home team grow to 25 points, but Swans again stayed in touch with a couple of late goals before half-time to Jesse Palmer.
Neither team managed a goal with conditions tough to handle in the third quarter, but it took less than 30 seconds into the fourth term for Chris Jones to bring Swans within five points.
West Perth continued to have the answers though. Antonio kicked another to restore the 11-point advantage and when he added his third of the day the Falcons locked away the 10.8 (68) to 7.8 (50) victory.
Mitch Antonio came back into the West Perth team following the injury to Rudy Riddoch and made the most of his opportunity kicking three goals from nine kicks. Conal Lynch and Tyler Keitel also kicked two goals each for West Perth.
Falcons co-captain Aaron Black was again outstanding in the 228th game of his career amassing another 34 possessions to go with seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal. Long-time teammate Luke Meadows also had a big say in the result with 34 touches.
Shane Nelson finished with 23 disposals as well for West Perth, Tristan Hobley 21, Trent Manzone 20, Conal Lynch 20, Nathan Murray 19 and Noah Pegoraro 18 to go with six marks in a commanding performance at centre half-back.
Troy Yukich also had a strong performance in the ruck against his former team with 16 touches and 38 hit outs.
Jesse Palmer was the only multiple goalkicker on the day for Swan Districts with his two goals coming within minutes of each other to close the first half.
Swan Districts' co-captain Jesse Turner continued his brilliant form in his 110th game with another 32 possessions to go with seven marks, three tackles and a goal.
Sam Fisher collected another 29 disposals while Aidan Clarke picked up 28 touches, Brandon Erceg 21, Tobe Watson 20, Josh Cipro 19 and Tony Notte 19 to go with seven marks.
Will Collins also did well locking down on West Perth spearhead Tyler Keitel after he was shifted onto him with Matthew Germs finishing with 34 hit outs in the ruck as well.
SOUTH FREMANTLE 12.12 (84) defeated PERTH (6.9 (45)
South Fremantle made it three consecutive wins with a solid performance to beat Perth by 39 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.
While Perth led by nine points at quarter-time at Fremantle Community Bank Oval in the Round 9 match up, the Demons had the breeze advantage in that first term and South Fremantle soon took over.
The Bulldogs kicked the only six goals in the second quarter and that set up the eventual 12.12 (84) to 6.9 (45) victory in the 100th game for the club of captain Dylan Main.
The win improved South Fremantle to a 6-3 record on the season in third position on the WAFL ladder while Perth has now lost five straight in second last place.
It was a remarkable start to the game for South Fremantle and it took just 20 seconds for Jarrad Doney to start in the centre square, and then get forward to kick a goal.
Perth was able to steady from there and it was Marshall Jones who got them on the board to bring scores back level before Zac Strom kicked a second for the Bulldogs.
The Demons then finished the opening term well with the breeze behind their backs with goals to Kristian Cary and Kieran Hug to head into quarter-time leading by nine points.
South Fremantle responded quickly to start the second term with the advantage of the breeze and it took just three minutes for Jimmy Miller to kick his first goal of the day and bring the margin back to three points.
Haiden Schloithe kicked truly soon after to put the Bulldogs in front before Steve Verrier added another with a neat set shot finish.
Second-gamer Tyson Headland added another before Cam McCarthy and Miller closed the quarter with six goals to nil to head into the half-time break in control leading the Demons by 32 points.
It took 16 minutes for either team to manage a goal in the third quarter and when it came it was courtesy of emerging South Fremantle midfielder Doney to see the lead grow to 35 points.
Perth did get one back through Jones but that was their first goal in almost 60 minutes of game time and they were still 32 points behind by three quarter-time.
South Fremantle kicked the first couple of goals of the last term including one to returning skipper Dylan Main who was celebrating his 100th game for the Bulldogs.
While the Demons did manage a couple of late goals to Cary, South Fremantle cruised to the 12.12 (84) to 6.9 (45) win to make it three consecutive wins and hand Perth a fifth straight loss.
Jimmy Miller held down the fort as the main target in attack for South Fremantle in the continued absence of Mason Shaw and he kicked three goals from four kicks.
Jarrad Doney was the Bulldogs' other multiple goalscorer with two goals to go with 18 possessions, six marks and five tackles.
The South Fremantle back-line was once again miserly giving up just six goals with Toby McQuilkin brilliant off half-back with another 31 possessions and nine marks while doing well defensively starting on Simon Hayward.
Blake Schlensog is also working his way back to form and fitness with 14 touches, five marks and four tackles with Chad Pearson having another 13 touches and five marks, Jordan Boullineau 13 disposals and five marks, and Noah Strom was rock solid defensively again.
Glenn Byron gathered 27 possessions and eight marks in a strong running performance for the Bulldogs while Haiden Schloithe ended up with 26 disposals, Steve Verrier 21, Tom Blechynden 20 and captain Dylan Main 20 in his 100th appearance for South Fremantle.
Hamish Free was dominant in the ruck contests racking up 60 hit outs for the afternoon.
Kristian Cary is back to the form that saw him in contention for the WAFL Team of the Year in 2021 and kicked another three goals for Perth with Marshall Jones also kicking two goals for the Demons.
Matthew Taylor compiled 25 possessions off half-back for Perth with Jack Avery adding 23 touches, Corey Byrne 19, Austin Davis 17, Andrew Fisher 16, Kasey Nicholas 16 and Brodie Gray 15 to go with him laying 14 tackles.
Read the full Round 9 WAFL Summary here.