The ANZAC day derby between port rivals East Fremantle and South Fremantle is on of the key fixtures in the WAFL calendar. The two teams are at opposite ends of the ladder with Fremantle hoping to go one game better than last years grand final loss while the Bulldogs are under seige and yet to register their first win of the 2013 WAFL Season six games into the season in what is their worst start in over 40 years.
Wearing special guernseys to commemorate Australia's armed forces the Sharks seemed to control the game after a tight first quarter which saw the home team lead by three points at the first break. James Bayliss and Mark McGough led from the front for the Sharks with 31 & 28 possessions respectively, while Sean Henson kicked 4 majors in a solid performance. For the South Fremantle Bulldogs Mitch Banner and Ryan Cook seemed to have the ball on a string with 34 and 29 possessions while the evergreen and former East Freo Shark Kris Miller totalled 26 possessions in his milestone match.
The second half saw the visitors over run the less experienced Bulldogs running out 12.11 (83) to 7.12 (54) 39 point winners.
East Fremantle V South Fremantle Derbies are typically closely fought, titanic arm wrestles that resemble the "Good old days" of WAFL football. Round 7, 2012 saw the Bulldogs visit their port neighbours for the first Fremantle derby of 2012.
With impending rain that started in the first term and didn't ease throughout the crowd was the smallest for a derby that i'd witnessed in a number of years. For the 2,400 that did show up, they witnessed a modern day hiding. A 5 goal to 2 opening term with the breeze saw the Sharks jump out the gate and they didn't look back. By half time the scoreline was 9.10 to 4.3 and by full time the Sharks were victorious with a 126 - 41 dominant performance.
Rory O'Brien suffered leather poisoning after an impressive 43 possession 2 goal performance while Mark McGough also starred with 34 touches. For the visitors Hayden North & Ryan Cook battled manfully in a losing effort, both registering 21 possessions for the South Fremantle Bulldogs.
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.
Saturday the 17th July saw the league leaders (West Perth Falcons) visit the port city to take on finals bound South Fremantle Bulldogs in a game that would prove to be the match of the round.
West Perth jumped straight out of the blocks with a fast start and held a 40 point lead at half time. The comfortable lead would be short lived after the main break with the Bulldogs storming back into contention with the midfield engine of Kris Miller, Toby Bairstow, Ashton Hams providing much of the grunt work while Callum Wilson was sensational with 8 of his 9 goals in the second half.
In the end the steady hands and AFL experience of a heavily topped up Falcons team proved too much as they held out for a 135 - 118 victory. Andrew Strijk led a balanced scoring attack with four goals.
West Perth return to the comfortable surrounds of Arena Joondalup for an important home fixture vs the much improved Perth Demons while South Fremantle get a chance to regroup ahead of the final stretch of the season with a bye.
You can view the full photography gallery here
Another Monday, Foundation day public holiday another classic Fremantle WAFL Derby. After taking the honours on their home ground, the South Fremantle Bulldogs came in wanting to make it two in a row over their arch rivals.
Meanwhile the East Fremantle Sharks, winners of 5 straight games including upset wins over the undefeated West Perth Falcons were confident of continuing their strong vein of form.
The game ended up being a classic arm wrestle with the visitors over running the Sharks in the last quarter to win: 88 - 71. Theo Adams was dominant throughout the game to finish with 32 touches while Ryan Cook worked tirelessly for his 30 touches.
For the East Fremantle Sharks, Rory O'Brien and Koby Stevens were impressive in the middle with 32 and 31 touches respectively. In the end the Sharks needed more help on the scoreboard with Brock O'Brien kicking 7 of the Sharks 11 goals.
Next week sees the Sharks given a solid opportunity to rebound with another home match against the much improved Perth Demons while the Bulldogs also have a home fixture over the struggling Swan Districts.
You can view the full gallery of the Foundation Day Derby here.
Round three of the WAFL saw the East Fremantle Sharks looking to build on the success of the previous week with another win over the Subiaco Lions on their home ground. The Lions however had other ideas and turned a tight contest at 3/4 time into a comfortable win over running the Sharks in the last quarter 16.12 (108) / 12.12 (84).
After a strong finish to the third quarter the sharks looked like they were going to march on for their second consecutive win but inaccurate kicking by the port team and the impressive midfield engine for the Lions stemmed any hope of victory.
Over the coming days there will be a full match day photography gallery in the WAFL section of the folio. I've been trying to capture some interesting photos during the team huddles at 1/4 and 3/4 time as its a great opportunity for portrait, or natural sports portraiture. The emotion in team huddles can be electrifying with coaches and the leadership group revving up their fellow players to chase victory over their opponents.
I particularly like this abstract photograph of Subiaco coach Chris Waterman. Staring straight at Fremantle Docker recruit Jack Anthony, his stare was intense. With a selection to choose from i thought the one with just one eye visible and the blurred foreground of the Subiaco player made for a striking composition.
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East Fremantle Sharks got their first points of the season on Saturday over the Perth Demons, at Brownes Stadium. The match was played at a frantic pace in stifling heat. With the game in the balance at 3/4 time the East Fremantle Sharks tore the game open in the final quarter slamming on 9 goals to 1.
Brad Dalziell were impressive and Fremantle Docker recruit Jonathon Griffin dominated in the ruck for the blue and white with 31 hit-outs. Perth were led well by ex-West Coast Eagle Andrew McDougall and Casey Sibosado in the back line.
The Perth Demons showed a lot of good signs with a young list and certainly look poised to make a march up the ladder in the wake of former coach Andrew Jarman leaving the post at the end of last season.
After two solid performances, East Fremantle may lose the services of Daniel Kerr due to injury problems with the West Coast Eagles midfield with Marc LeCras and fellow Shark Chris Masten both getting injured in the Eagles round 1 victory over the North Melbourne Kangaroos.
The East Fremantle Sharks are to play Subiaco at East Fremantle Oval on Saturday 2nd April at the earlier start time of 1.30pm to accomodate the 5.40 bouncedown of the AFL game between the Fremantle Dockers and Geelong Cats. Meanwhile the Perth Demons head to Fremantle Oval to take on the Bulldogs in what should be a tight game on Friday night.
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.
I love this shot of Joel Fiegert of the Perth Demons. Taken during the double header at Steel Blue oval on August 21st 2010 vs Swan Districts. This lonely shot of Joel i think summarises the long, hard season for the wooden spoon Perth Demons Football Club during another heavy loss.
On the eve of the finals a few photos of the Double Header from August 21st at Steel Blue oval, Bassendeen. Claremont Tigers Vs West Perth Falcons and Swan Districts Vs Perth Demons. Claremont pulled away in the second half for an easy win while Swan Districts were always in control vs Perth.
This weekend sees my beloved East Fremantle Sharks return to the finals to face the in form East Perth Royals while Claremont face Swan Districts for the right to advance to the WAFL grand final.
I love taking the camera into the middle of the WAFL quarter time and three quarter time breaks. Its something you don't get the opportunity to do at many sports and is a great way to capture the intensity and passion of the game through portrait style photos. When taking sports photography i always try to capture the event or game from different perspectives to offer something different from the standard freeze frame of a fast moving object or player.
Chris Bishop professional commercial, landscape & travel photographer based in Perth, Western Australia.