THE even nature of the WAFL competition aside from the top and bottom placed teams was on show in Round 10 on Saturday with upset victories for Claremont, Peel Thunder and Perth against teams occupying fourth, third and second positions on the ladder.
All four of the Round 10 matches that took place on Saturday afternoon pitted teams in the top four positions against the team bottom four sides in the competition with the fifth placed East Perth having the bye.
It had the potential to widen the gap between those in the top four and those in the bottom, but in the end the opposite eventuated with Claremont, Peel Thunder and Perth all keeping their finals chance alive with impressive victories.
The only match that went to script saw the top placed Subiaco remain undefeated hammering the hapless bottom placed East Fremantle 19.26 (140) to 5.7 (37).
The other three matches saw Claremont beat Swan Districts 13.12 (90) to 10.10 (70) to farewell Beau Maister in style while Peel Thunder defeated West Perth 11.11 (77) to 11.8 (74) and Perth clinched a heartstopper 15.8 (98) to 14.8 (92) over South Fremantle.
The action on Saturday afternoon began at Claremont Oval with Claremont hosting Swan Districts and it was the Tigers who started well on home turf with four goals to two in the first quarter.
Claremont still led by seven points at half-time but Swan Districts kicked five goals to three in the third term to be up by seven at the last change. But the Tigers finished well with the only four goals of the last term to win by 20 points.
Keifer Yu, Ian Richardson, Tom Curren, Jared Hardisty and Alex Manuel all kicked two goals each for Claremont with Beau Maister kicking one in what is the final game of his terrific WAFL career.
Jye Bolton racked up 37 disposals for the Tigers, Kane Mitchell 28, Curren 28, Bailey Rogers 24, Dylan Smallwood 23, Haydn Busher 22, Ryan Lim 21, Jack Beeck 21 and Tom Ledger 20.
Jesse Turner and William Reidy kicked two goals apiece for Swan Districts with Rhys Palmer collecting 27 possessions, Matt Riggio 27, Steven Payne 18, Tobe Watson 17, Todd Banfield 16, Jesse Turner 16 and Corey Gault 16 to go with 34 hit outs.
The premiers of the past two years then kept their finals hopes alive with a nail-biting three-point win against West Perth at Bendigo Bank Stadium.
The game's fortunes went with the direction of the breeze with Peel leading by 21 points at quarter-time and then only by two at the main break. The Thunder again opened an 18-point lead by three quarter-time and that grew to 30 points with the first two goals of the last term.
The Falcons kicked four of the game's last five goals, three of those to former skipper Jay van Berlo, but the visitors ultimately fell three points short in Mandurah.
Ben Howlett, Brayden Lawler, Lloyd Meek and Blair Bell all kicked two goals each for Peel.
Howlett also had 33 disposals and 13 tackles for the Thunder while Danyle Pearce collected 31 possessions, Ethan Hughes 28, Mitch Crowden 27, Ben Hancock 19, Gerald Ugle 18 and Keegan Power 18.
Van Berlo kicked a career-best five goals for West Perth with Keegan Knott and Tyler Keitel kicking three apiece.
Luke Meadows racked up 38 possessions for the Falcons, Shane Nelson 36, Aaron Black 26, Corey Chalmers 19 and Mitch Peirce 19 to go with 12 tackles.
South Fremantle had won eight straight matches against Perth heading into the clash at Lathlain Park and the Bulldogs kicked two goals in the opening six minutes in an ominous opening.
South Fremantle then went on to lead by 20 points at quarter-time but Perth fired back with six goals to one in the second term to be 11 points up at the long break.
The Demons then kicked the first two goals of the third term to lead by 23 points. But South Fremantle turned things around with eight of the next nine goals either side of three quarter-time to lead by 20 points when Mason Shaw kicked his sixth goal.
But Perth refused to go away and with South Fremantle coming off a five-day break, the Demons finished right over the top with the last four goals to come from 20 points down at the five-minute mark to win by six.
Lachlan Dennis kicked a career-high five goals for Perth with Anton Scotney booting two as well.
Captain Clint Jones gathered 32 possessions for the Demons, Brant Colledge 29, Corey Yeo 26, Michael Sinclair 22 and Devin McFarlane 21.
Shaw kicked six goals for South Fremantle, Matthew Parker three and Cory Dell'Olio two.
Marlion Pickett racked up another 27 disposals for the Bulldogs, Dylan Main 26, Ryan Cook 23, Shane Hockey 22, Nick Suban 21, Steven Edwards 19, Shaun Bewick 17 and Brock Higgins 17 along with 44 hit outs.
The one game that did go to plan and that wasn’t close from the outset took place at Leederville Oval with Subiaco remaining undefeated and keeping East Fremantle anchored to the bottom of the ladder.
Any hope the Sharks had of being competitive was quickly extinguished when they went scoreless for the opening half with Subiaco kicking the first 12 goals of the game until East Fremantle scored a major through Jesse Wynne 11 minutes into the third term.
From there Subiaco only outscored East Fremantle seven goals to five but the damage was done and the eventual 103-point margin could have been significantly more if it wasn’t for some inaccuracy from the Lions.
It was a remarkably dominant display from the league-leaders with 129 more disposals, a remarkable 76 inside-50 entries to 23 and 45 scoring shots to 12.
Nothing highlights East Fremantle's inefficient game plan that doesn’t suit its current team whatsoever more than the fact they took 106 marks from 203 kicks, but went inside-50 only 23 times for five goals.
Over-possessing the ball and being patient to attack, but instead turning the ball over and getting hurt on the counterattack is one of the contributing factors to East Fremantle's current plight.
Max Walters kicked three goals for Subiaco with Leigh Kitchin, Josh Deluca, Lachlan Delahunty, Ben Sokol, Brad Stevenson and Zac Clarke all kicking two.
Kyal Horsley amassed 37 possessions for the Lions, Kitchin 31, Deluca 31, Chris Phelan 29, Delahunty 28, Rowen Powell 23, Hayden Kennedy 22, Drew Rohde 22, Jordan Lockyer 21, McKenzie Lawrence 21 and Zac Clarke 20 along with 34 hit outs.
Jack Perham kicked two goals for East Fremantle with Jayden Schofield finishing with 34 possessions, Sean Henson 25 and George Hampson 22.
ROUND 10 WAFL RESULTS
Claremont 13.12 (90) defeated Swan Districts 10.10 (70)
Peel Thunder 11.11 (77) defeated West Perth 11.8 (74)
Perth 15.8 (98) defeated South Fremantle 14.8 (92)
Subiaco 19.26 (140) defeated East Fremantle 5.7 (37)
Claremont 10.10 (70) lost to Swan Districts 11.7 (73)
Peel Thunder 10.17 (77) defeated West Perth 11.7 (73)
Perth 5.5 (35) lost to South Fremantle 11.14 (80)
Subiaco 14.8 (92) defeated East Fremantle 6.9 (45)
Claremont 8.8 (56) lost to Swan Districts 9.7 (61)
Peel Thunder 12.16 (88) defeated West Perth 8.6 (54)
Perth 4.5 (29) lost to South Fremantle 13.18 (96)
Subiaco 14.11 (95) defeated East Fremantle 12.10 (82)