Carrying the football and utilising his pace has been a focus for Clayton Hinkley this season, and things seemed to click for the 21-year-old in Sunday’s WAFL preliminary final.

Hinkley, who has had a mixed WAFL campaign with Swan Districts, was a key player as his side prevailed by 38 points over East Perth, earning the right to tackle Claremont in Sunday’s grand final.

The midfielder was one of just three Fremantle players in action, with Zac Clarke and Clancee Pearce contributing for their sides but having quieter than usual games.

Senior development coach Simon Lloyd said that after impressing in a series of run-with roles early in the season, Hinkley needed to find the right blend of attack and defence in his game.

“I think early in the year Clayton played some very good football in those run-with roles,” Lloyd said.

“It’s about getting that balance right between being dangerous when Swan Districts has the ball, and then when the opposition has the ball making sure you’re on your immediate opponent or the most dangerous player.

“On the weekend there were some very good passages of play.

“It was a big final, 11,000 people were there, and he was really eager to take them on. He showed good run and carry and his ball-use was a highlight.”

Ahead of Sunday’s WAFL grand final, Lloyd shared his WAFL notes with fremantlefc.com.au.

Swan Districts 15.11 (101) d East Perth 9.9 (63)

Zac Clarke
Zac started at full-forward and had some stints in the ruck, getting involved in a lot of stoppage work through the day. He showed good pressure early through his chasing, and he followed up a lot of his ruck work to win possession. He had some terrific taps, but Swan Districts lifted after quarter time and he was unable to have such an influence.

Clancee Pearce
Clancee started on the wing before moving forward for the second quarter. He does get a lot of his footy when the ball’s moving backwards, so he made a point of running hard forward to win possession and he was used on a couple of occasions. Clancee’s covering a lot of ground; he now needs to take another step over the pre-season to become a consistent AFL footballer.

Clayton Hinkley
Clayton copped a knock to the head halfway through the first quarter, but he bounced back and played on the wing. He had one great passage of polished play where he kicked a goal straight out of the centre bounce clearance. He showed really good run and carry and set up play with handball, so it was probably as well as we’ve seen Clayton use the football.

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