ROUND 9 in the WAFL once again was full of a bevy of standout performances and spots in the Team of the Week were hotly sought over as a result.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
There were plenty of defenders putting their hands up for consideration in the Round 9 Team of the Week including key position backmen Matthew Jupp, Noah Pegoraro, Will Collins, Tony Notte, Blake Schlensog, Noah Strom and Kasey Nicholas.
You also had the in-between defenders Angus Dewar, Brandon Erceg, Jack Lewsey, Connor Sing and Jack Avery, and those more creative backmen Matthew Taylor, Glenn Byron, Toby McQuilkin, Tobe Watson, Nathan Wilson, Lachlan Martinis, Cam Eardley, Drew Rohde and Alex Witherden.
There were a stack of midfielders once again putting themselves in the mix including gun on ballers Leigh Kitchin, Max Walters, Jye Bolton, Mitch Crowden, Hamish Brayshaw, Angus Schumacher, Aaron Black, Shane Nelson, Sam Fisher and Haiden Schloithe.
There's also the emerging group including Josh Browne, Jai Culley, Ethan Hansen, Liam Hickmott, Wil Hickmott, Milan Murdock, Luke English, Neil Erasmus, Stan Wright, Damon Greaves, Conal Lynch, Tristan Hobley and Aidan Clarke.
Then there are some outside runners who stood out like Blaine Boekhorst, Ryan Lim, Ethan Hughes, Liam Henry, Angus Scott, Luke Meadows, Jesse Turner and Jarrad Doney.
It was a fascinating weekend for the ruckmen too including a terrific battle between Josh Rotham and Lachlan Delahunty with Oliver Eastland, Lloyd Meek, Troy Yukich and Hamish Flee also all playing well.
Then up forward, Ryan Borchet, Jonathon Marsh, Tyron Smallwood, Jack Buller, Guy Barnes, Joel Western, Matt Taberner, Tom Medhat, Mitch Antonio and Kristian Cary were among the standouts.
PLAYER OF THE ROUND – TOBY MCQUILKIN (SOUTH FREMANTLE)
This time last year he was fresh into the South Fremantle team, but 12 months on and he is in some spectacular form in the Bulldogs' back-line and was superb again on Saturday against Perth.
Having come right through the ranks at South Fremantle and having two full colts seasons in 2017 and 2018 before beginning in the colts in 2019 and getting a taste of reserves football, it was a slow build for Toby McQuilkin to get his league opportunity.
It was a tough South Fremantle team to break into as well with the Bulldogs winning the premiership in 2020, but by Round 8 last year he managed to knock down the door to make his league debut and he has never looked back since.
Once McQuilkin got into that team, he became an important part of the defensive set up in a Bulldogs team that made a third straight Grand Final. Not only was he part of the team, but he delivered to such a degree that he was his team's Player of the Finals.
Now on the back of the confidence he got from the form he showed in his 16 games of 2021, he has gone to another level so far in 2022 to be one of the standout performers right across the season in the WAFL.
Showing a unique ability to be able to do well limiting the influence of his opponent, cut off opposition attacks inside-50, and then set up play out of the back-line by picking up large amounts of the ball, he is in the middle of an outstanding run of form this season.
That continued in Saturday's 39-point win for South Fremantle against Perth on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval too where he was instrument in the eventual victory.
He started the game opposed to Perth small forward Simon Hayward and kept him out of the game, and did well whoever he was matched up on but that was just the start of his impact on the game.
He also finished the afternoon with 31 possessions and nine marks to help South Fremantle to the third straight win and up to third spot on the WAFL ladder.
Players of the Round
Round 1 – Jake Florenca (South Fremantle)
Round 2 – Ryan Lim (Claremont)
Round 3 – Luke Meadows (West Perth)
Round 4 – Jesse Turner (Swan Districts)
Round 5 – Leigh Kitchin (Subiaco)
Round 6 – Blair Bell (Peel Thunder)
Round 7 – Oliver Eastland (Claremont)
Round 8 – Matthew Jupp (East Fremantle)
Round 9 – Toby McQuilkin (South Fremantle)
WAFL TEAM OF THE WEEK – ROUND 9
BACK: Toby McQuilkin (SF), Angus Dewar (S), Jack Avery (P)
HALF-BACK: Alex Witherden (WCE), Noah Pegoraro (WP), Cam Eardley (EF)
CENTRE: Jesse Turner (SD), Liam Hickmott (S), Liam Henry (PT)
HALF-FORWARD: Conal Lynch (WP), Jonathon Marsh (EF), Max Walters (S)
FORWARD: Guy Barnes (PT), Ryan Borchet (S), Tyron Smallwood (C)
RUCK: Lloyd Meek (PT), Aaron Black (WP), Jye Bolton (C)
INTERCHANGE: Blaine Boekhorst (EF), Glenn Byron (SF), Luke Meadows (WP), Angus Schumacher (EP)
FULL BACK – ANGUS DEWAR (Subiaco)
The 90-game triple premiership winning defender is doing well stepping up for Subiaco with Jordan Lockyer missing from the usually rock solid Subiaco back-line. He's having another strong season and continued that on Saturday against West Coast defensively and to finish with 20 touches and four marks.
BACK POCKET – JACK AVERY (Perth)
The Perth back-line is without a doubt the team's strong suit right now and he's part of a solid defensive unit even without captain Michael Sinclair alongside the likes of Kasey Nicholas, Connor Sing, Clayton Giblett and Matthew Taylor. He put in another strong showing against South Fremantle on Saturday doing well defensively having started opposed to Tyson Headland and finishing the afternoon with 23 touches, eight marks and four inside-50 entries.
HALF-BACK FLANK – ALEX WITHERDEN (West Coast Eagles)
Played his first WAFL game of the season for the Eagles against Subiaco at Optus Stadium and immediately put his hand up for an AFL recall with his performance across half-back. Ended the contest with a standout 32 possessions and 16 marks.
CENTRE HALF-BACK – NOAH PEGORARO (West Perth)
Swan Districts had 41 entries inside their forward 50 on Saturday at Joondalup to kick just seven goals in the game and the West Perth centre half-back proved virtually impossible to pass. The State defender took six marks and most of those were chopping of Swans foray forwards and he ended the afternoon with 18 possessions as well.
HALF-BACK FLANK – CAM EARDLEY (East Fremantle)
To say he has embraced his role off half-back that he started around this time last year would be one of the great understatements. He's clearly suited to the role as setting up play out of the back-line for the Sharks and showed his quality again on Saturday against Claremont racking up 29 possessions and six marks in the 137th game of his career.
WING – JESSE TURNER (Swan Districts)
The Swan Districts co-captain is in the most consistent and spectacular form of his career and put in another standout display on Saturday at Joondalup even if his team's three-game winning streak came to an end against West Perth. He did all he could on the wing for the black-and-whites racking up another 32 touches, seven marks and a goal.
CENTRE – LIAM HICKMOTT (Subiaco)
The 22-year-old was an important member of Subiaco's premiership team last year but he's gone up another gear so far in 2022 to become of their most consistently first-rate performers as he establishes himself as part of the midfield unit on a regular basis. Produced another tremendous performance in the win against West Coast with 30 disposals in what was a career-high in his 30th appearance.
WING – LIAM HENRY (Peel Thunder)
It is a mighty tough Fremantle AFL team to break into right now, but he did all he could to put his name up in lights with his performance on the wing for Peel in a big win against East Perth. He ran hard all day on the wing, was damaging and efficient, and produced one of his better all-round performances with 16 disposals, six inside 50s, four tackles and two goals including a Goal of the Year contender.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – CONAL LYNCH (West Perth)
Is cementing himself not only as the leader of the next generation at West Perth, but someone ready and able to have a significant impact on the team now 48 games into his WAFL career. Is a hard working midfielder and continues to be damaging inside the forward 50 too. Ended up with 20 touches, seven inside 50s, five tackles, four marks and two goals in win against Swan Districts.
CENTRE HALF-FORWARD – JONATHON MARSH (East Fremantle)
Has become East Fremantle's main target up forward through necessity so far in 2022 and continues to do a terrific job of it. The Sharks might not have quite been able to get over the Tigers at the WACA Ground on Saturday, but he did what he could kicking three goals from 17 touches, four inside 50s and three marks.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – MAX WALTERS (Subiaco)
The three-time premiership winner showed his importance to the Subiaco team with his return to the line-up against West Coast on Saturday. Playing his first game since Round 5 and just his third appearance of the season, was tremendous both in the midfield and at half-forward to end the day with 22 touches, six inside 50s, five marks, three tackles and a goal.
FORWARD POCKET – GUY BARNES (Peel Thunder)
He had his first crack at WAFL football with South Fremantle starting back in 2019 and played some strong reserves football but couldn’t quite break into a powerful league side. However, he has joined Peel this season, broke into the league team and is now grabbing his chances in a role as a small forward. Was a standout in win against East Perth with four goals from eight kicks, five marks and three inside-50 entries.
FULL-FORWARD – RYAN BORCHET (Subiaco)
The Subiaco spearhead is in the best run of form in his 43-game WAFL career right now and produced a match-winning performance for the Lions against the Eagles at Optus Stadium. Kicked five goals from eight kicks and six marks to have now kicked 12 goals over the last three matches, and 16 in the past five.
FORWARD POCKET – TYRON SMALLWOOD (Claremont)
He has had a bit of a tough ride trying to cement a spot and find the role best suited to him over the past couple of years, but he's grabbing his opportunities as a small forward with Claremont right now. In the 38th game of his career, he delivered his best haul of four goals from nine kicks, five marks and four tackles.
RUCK – LLOYD MEEK (Peel Thunder)
It was a tremendous battle in the ruck on Saturday in Mandurah between two former Fremantle teammates and he got the better of the contest with Scott Jones in the finish. The still listed Dockers big man showed he could be ready for an AFL call up in the absence of Sean Darcy by delivering 24 possessions, 27 hit outs, six marks, four inside 50s and three tackles against strong opposition.
RUCK ROVER – AARON BLACK (West Perth)
The West Perth co-captain is 228 games into a remarkable WAFL career and continues to be among the elite performers in the competition. Had another match-winning display against Swan Districts to help West Perth back to the top of the WAFL ladder with 34 possessions, seven marks, six inside 50s and a goal.
ROVER – JYE BOLTON (Claremont)
Whether playing off half-back or in his customary role on the ball that he's made his own over 117 games with Claremont, he is having yet another standout season and kept that form rolling on the WACA Ground against East Fremantle. Finished with 31 touches, five marks, four inside 50s, three tackles and a goal.
INTERCHANGE – BLAINE BOEKHORST (East Fremantle)
He is having a season fully utilising his running and kicking abilities to be having a significant impact for East Fremantle proving his value as a damaging midfielder whether driving the ball inside-50 or kicking goals himself. Was another first-rate performer against Claremont where he ended the afternoon with 26 touches, nine inside-50 entries, five marks and two goals.
INTERCHANGE – ANGUS SCHUMACHER (East Perth)
His numbers might not have jumped off the page in a big loss for East Perth against Peel, but you can't measure impact, effort or presence by statistics and he put in a tireless effort for the Royals. Used by coach Jeremy Barnard in a variety of roles to try and get the Royals into the game, he did what he could wherever he was and finished with 13 possessions, three inside 50s and two marks.
INTERCHANGE – GLENN BYRON (South Fremantle)
Is starting to find his feet now at league level with South Fremantle with a more consistent run in the league team, and is showing what he is capable of. It can be difficult to have the confidence to take the game on when in and out of the team, but now that he's feeling more stable, he is showing his ability to run and carry the ball, break the lines and be a damaging player off half-back or on the wing. Had 27 possessions in likely the best performance of his 27-game career.
INTERCHANGE – LUKE MEADOWS (West Perth)
Is one of the toughest contested ball winners in the competition and then just to add to that is a good runner and line breaker, and has a lethal right boot. All that was on display in Saturday's win against Swan Districts. Finished up with 34 touches, five marks and five entries inside the forward 50.
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 9 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:
West Coast's Josh Browne, Josh Rotham, Jai Culley and Ethan Hansen.
Subiaco's Lachlan Delahunty, Leigh Kitchin, Drew Rohde and Wil Hickmott.
East Fremantle's Milan Murdock, Luke English and Matthew Jupp.
Claremont's Lachlan Martinis, Ryan Lim, Jack Lewsey, Jack Buller and Oliver Eastland.
Peel Thunder's Joel Western, Matt Taberner, Neil Erasmus, Ethan Hughes, Mitch Crowden and Nathan Wilson.
East Perth's Tom Medhat, Hamish Brayshaw, Angus Scott, Stan Wright, Jack Cooley and Damon Greaves.
West Perth's Mitch Antonio, Shane Nelson, Tristan Hobley and Troy Yukich.
Swan Districts' Sam Fisher, Aidan Clarke, Brandon Erceg, Will Collins, Tobe Watson and Tony Notte.
South Fremantle's Jarrad Doney, Haiden Schloithe, Steve Verrier, Blake Schlensog, Noah Strom and Hamish Free.
Perth's Kristian Cary, Matthew Taylor, Kasey Nicholas, Connor Sing and Brodie Gray.