Fremantle midfielder Rhys Palmer made a late case to be considered for Friday night’s semi-final clash against Geelong with a strong performance for East Fremantle in week one of the WAFL finals.

Palmer, who last played for Fremantle in round 21 against Hawthorn, had 21 possessions for the Sharks and booted two running goals in the first quarter to stake his claim.

Just five Fremantle players were involved across the first week of WAFL finals, but Kepler Bradley, Des Headand and Paul Hasleby will still be considered for senior selection on Friday night.

Emerging ruckman Zac Clarke continued a solid run of form, impressing both in the ruck and forward line to earn this week’s WAFL player of the round award.

Steven Dodd, Clancee Pearce and Clayton Hinkley were also involved.

Ahead of this week’s preliminary final between Swan Districts and East Perth, senior development coach Simon Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.

East Perth 15.12 (102) d East Fremantle 13.10 (88)
Zac Clarke

Zac played mainly full-forward and spent some time in the ruck, easily beating his opponent and enjoying a very good game. He took some very good contested marks, jumped hard at the footy, and he kicked two good goals. He’s shown considerable progress through the year and he was quite dominant in the ruck, while also providing a good target for his team when forward.

Steven Dodd
Steven played all day across half-back on Adam Prior, who’s had a very good month of football, and did well to shut him out of the game. He won plenty of the ball and used it well, making a couple of good aggressive tackles, which he was rewarded for. It was a return to the attacking football Steven played earlier in the season and he would have been in his side’s best players.

Rhys Palmer
Rhys played in the midfield and started the game very well, kicking two long running goals in the first quarter to really get East Fremantle going. He worked very hard both ways and his defensive pressure was good. A lot of the touches he did have resulted in shots on goals, and he had a couple of clearances. Those early goals would have given him a lot of confidence, but East Perth really tightened the screws on the Sharks’ midfield after half-time, Rhys included.

Claremont 17.17 (119) d Swan Districts 10.9 (69)
Clancee Pearce

Clancee played at half-back for the first quarter-and-a-half, before moving into the midfield at centre bounces. He received a cork on his quad early in the third quarter, which restricted his movement, but the majority of his possessions were effective. He hit his targets when kicking out and made a couple of good interceptions, but his game was below the standard he’s set this year. I’ve got no doubt Clancee will bounce back this week.

Clayton Hinkley

Clayton started in the middle on Luke Blackwell, who he has played on a number of times before, but his opponent got a fair bit of the ball in the first half. Clayton was moved to half-forward for the rest of the game, where he laid some good tackles. He’s shown a fair bit in his defensive roles this year, and he’ll also be sure to bounce back this week.

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