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.
Chris Bishop professional commercial, landscape & travel photographer based in Perth, Western Australia.