WAFL watch: Crowley flies
Some depth returned to Fremantle’s WAFL stocks in round 23 of the state competition, as players jockey to be a part of the club’s first finals campaign since 2006.
Ryan Crowley, who has missed six weeks with a knee injury, made the most compelling case to replace injured goalsneak Hayden Ballantyne, booting seven goals and winning 30 possessions to be named WAFL player of the round.
Crowley showed his potential as a forward against Port Adelaide in round 14, kicking five second-half goals at Subiaco Oval, and he could find himself in a similar position this week.
Alex Silvagni also returned from injury, impressing in defence for Claremont after six weeks sidelined with a groin injury, while Des Headland took his game up another notch.
Ahead of this week’s fixtures, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.
East Perth 12.23 (95) d Claremont 11.13 (79)
Zac played 80 per cent of the game at full-forward, with the remainder in the ruck. He took five marks inside 50 and was a key target, kicking some crucial goals for East Perth when they were getting challenged. Some of his ruck taps in attack from boundary throw-ins were terrific, and he made one chase and tackle that was almost as good as you’d see from a big bloke. A really good game for Zac.
Byron played through the midfield, changing at half-forward, and was close to Claremont’s best despite wearing a close tag for periods. Early in the game his positioning was very good at forward contests and he used the ball well going inside 50. He won a number of clearances and his contested possessions were terrific.
Alex played key back and picked up Zac Clarke for most of the first half. He played well for his first game back, attacking the ball strongly and taking a huge grab on the wing. He defended well, ran back with the flight, had a couple of effective spoils and ran the ball out of defence on occasion. Alex is coming back from a groin injury, but he got through the game fine.
West Perth 16.16 (112) d Perth 14.3 (87)
Kepler played mainly as a deep forward and had a couple of stints as a midfielder. He had a number of opportunities to take some contested marks when forward, but just didn’t hold onto them. His ruck work in the forward line was very good, with a lot of his taps going to dangerous spots. He’s been terrific this year and remains important for us going forward.
Justin played as a forward pocket all day and had an impact on the game, kicking four goals. When he played with real intensity good things happened and he got Perth back into the game at the start of the final quarter with the first two goals. He was able to get in behind his opponent and looked really dangerous.
Subiaco 33.9 (207) d South Fremantle 21.18 (144)
Ryan played onball, changing at half-forward, and made a successful return from injury to kick 7.0 and collect 30 possessions. His run looked really good, so it’s a credit to the conditioning staff after six weeks out of the game. He won a number of clearances from centre square bounces and was able to find space in the forward line.
Des rotated between onball and half-forward and his use of the ball was outstanding. He had five inside 50s, all of which hit their intended target, and he was also able to find the ball in tight around stoppages. You can see at training that Des has stepped it up a level, and he knows what this time of year is all about.
Ryan started at full-forward and was moved to full-back in the third quarter. He looked strong on the lead early and beat his opponent for pace, but he played higher up the ground when forward and finished with one goal. Ryan’s been consistent at WAFL level this year and he acquitted himself well against Hawthorn last week.
Swan Districts 22.25 (157) d Peel Thunder 7.5 (47)
Clancee played as a defensive winger for the majority of the game, running hard both ways to win 34 possessions. In the last quarter he started in the centre for several centre bounces displaying really good body strength and making an effective clearance. We want to see Clancee play through the middle a lot more, because he is really strong in close. We’ll continue to work on that aspect of his game.