Well it's here at last...The WAFL season has started, every club with a sense of optimism and purpose determined to stay at the right end of the ladder. A 2 game first week (If someone could explain that to me i'd be grateful) saw Subiaco show they're keen win one more game than last year with the 2011 Grand Finalists beating West Perth Falcons and the Perth Demons taking it right up to Claremont Tigers until three quarter time.
The final quarter at Brownes stadium saw the Tigers over run the Demons with the classy midfield dominating the stoppages and running away to win: 101 - 59. But the signs were very positive for the Demons who showed great pressure and composure in stifling heat. It was also the first game with the Demons new major sponsor "Provident" who have joined the football club.
Ross Young was typically dominant for the Perth Demons with a 29 possession display while for the Claremont Tigers Kane Mitchell was outstanding with 28 touches and 3 tackles.
To see the full gallery click here
Sunday 21st August - Judgement Day. The East Fremantle Sharks fighting tooth and nail for the right to compete in the 2011 WAFL finals campaign faced the classy Claremont Tigers who look comfortable perched at the top of the ladder.
Conditions were terrible, strong breeze, intermittent showers were hardly the ideal conditions for a game of critical importance for both sides and perhaps season defining for the Sharks. Lose and it could be curtains for season 2011 given the Subiaco Lions and South Fremantle Bulldogs, teams they will play away games to complete the home and away season sat above them prior to this game.
After the completion of the first term, it was clear the league leading Tigers were in for a fight. Kicking with the aid of a 4-5 goal breeze the tigers felt themselves ambushed by an aggressive and determined Sharks team had clearly heeded the words of the coaching department and came out and not only neutralised the breeze but seemed to be the more switched on team. The second quarter saw the sharks arrest the narrow deficit and take a handy two goal lead into the half.
The third quarter was another tight tussle between two desperate teams in trying conditions with the rain and wind making a case for back to basic football. Strong tackles, clean footwork and backing your teammates. At three quarter time there was signs of an upset brewing with the East Fremantle Sharks heading into the 4th quarter with the aid of the breeze and a narrow lead.
This was when the game turned. A 7 goal to 1 onslaught saw the Sharks storm home to win by 45 points in a stunning upset that would be sure to boost confidence given the tough schedule remaining. Not only did they get the four points but with the upset loss by the Bulldogs the Sharks jumped from 5th to 3rd position, a spot that seemed almost unachievable prior to this round commencing.
Luke Blackwell and Thomas Lee impressed again for the Tigers with 27 possessions, while for the home team Rory O'Brien was outstanding with 36 touches and two goals and club stalwart Jamie McNamara had 32 touches of the Burley.
Next weekend gets no easier for the East Fremantle Sharks as they face another "Finals" type game against fellow top 4 aspirants Subiaco, while Claremont face the unpredictable Peel Thunder who will be looking to spoil their opponents quest for top spot.
Today marked the start of the WAFL season and last years grand finalists Claremont facing another flag contender in East Fremantle Sharks. There was an unusual amount of build up to this game with West Coast Eagles star Daniel Kerr playing his first ever league game for the Sharks as he recovers from injury.
Kerr was among the teams best players, though it mattered little as the class of the Claremont Tigers came through after the 1/4 time siren to run away with the game and send an ominous warning that the Tigers have something to prove after last years heartbreaking loss to Swan Districts in the Grand Final. The lop sided 153 - 72 point win to the Tigers was an impressive way to start the season.
Ian Richardson and Lewis Broome led the way for the visitors kicking 7 & 5 goals respectively, while for the East Fremantle Sharks, new recruit Brock O'Brien kicked 4 through the big sticks. Aside from regrouping from the heavy loss both East Fremantle and the West Coast Eagles will be sweating over an incident in second term where Kerr's elbow made contact with Luke Blackwells face. The incident captured by Channel 7 and 10 will likely come under scrutiny by the match review panel.
A full WAFL gallery of today's game will be up shortly on the WAFL page.
Well the result didn't go the Sharks way with Claremont Tigers too classy in the end. The East Fremantle Sharks were in the game at 3/4 time only being a couple of goals down, but Claremont ran away with the game in the last quarter winning by 36 points.
Photography was difficult today as the light was constantly changing between over overcast, little bits of rain and bright sunshine. Check out the gallery online now: http://www.chrisbishopphotography.com.au/wafl---round-16---sharks-vs-tigers.html
Chris Bishop professional commercial, landscape & travel photographer based in Perth, Western Australia.