Masten, McInnes and McDonald named in WAFL Team of Round 1

Wednesday, July 22, 2020 - 2:21 PM

STARTING a season in mid-July might be something new for the WAFL, but it proved worth the wait with a fascinating opening round of the 2020 Optus Premiership Season which included a host of starring performances from players young and old alike.

COVID-19 has had a significant impact on just about every aspect of life right around the world and the WAFL competition is no different. 

The anticipated April start date for the 2020 season ended up happening in mid-July, but the action is now underway and there were four matches with intrigue surrounding each of them for different reasons.

The resulting action saw Perth hold off Peel Thunder 10.10 (70) to 9.6 (60) at Mandurah's David Grays Arena, Claremont upset Subiaco 15.5 (95) to 11.9 (75) at Leederville Oval, West Perth come from behind to beat Swan Districts 8.4 (52) to 6.5 (41) at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval, and South Fremantle hammered East Fremantle 18.8 (116) to 3.3 (21) at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

The crowds turned out in droves too to make the most of their first taste of WAFL action for the year with 3499 watching the Demons win in Mandurah, 2304 fans seeing Claremont beat Subiaco, 2916 at Steel Blue Oval and then 4002 at the port for the only Fremantle Derby of 2020.

That brings us to the TABtouch Team of the Round and there's an interesting mix of veterans like Player of the Round Chris Masten, Ben Howlett, Jye Bolton, Shane Nelson and Matthew Jupp, exciting youngsters Logan McDonald and Caleb Datson, and off-season recruits Nelson Waite, Fraser McInnes and Sam Fisher. 

PLAYER OF THE ROUND
Who says this is an ever increasing young man's league. There's still plenty of room for a 200-game AFL premiership winning veteran still with run in the legs to come back and star in the WAFL, which Chris Masten put on full display for Perth on Saturday.

On the back of a tremendous AFL career that saw him play 215 games including the 2018 premiership having been drafted from East Fremantle back in 2007, Masten decided to sign with Perth to continue his WAFL career in 2020.

His Demons debut came significantly later than he might have anticipated, but he wasted no time showing on Saturday that he has plenty of run left in the legs and that he is strongly motivated to play a big part in Perth's attempt to breakthrough for a first finals appearance since 1997.

It took until the final quarter for Perth to shake off a dogged Peel in Mandurah on Saturday afternoon, but they ended up doing enough for the 10-point Round 1 victory and Masten was right at the centre of the action all afternoon.

Showing the traits that made him a mainstay of the West Coast midfield for more than a decade, Masten racked up 30 possessions to go with five marks, four tackles, four inside-50 entries and a goal in an outstanding performance on debut for the Demons.

Players of the Round
Round 1 – Chris Masten (Perth)

TABtouch TEAM OF THE ROUND  
BACK: Hayden Kennedy (S), Matthew Jupp (EF), Blake Wilhelm (WP)
HALF-BACK: Bailey Rogers (C), Chad Pearson (SF), Nelson Waite (SD)
CENTRE: Chris Masten (P), Shane Nelson (WP), Trent Manzone (WP)
HALF-FORWARD: Jake Florenca (SF), Caleb Datson (SF), Alec Waterman (C)
FORWARD: Logan McDonald (P), Fraser McInnes (P), Declan Hardisty (C)
RUCK: Corey Gault (SD), Jye Bolton (C), Sam Fisher (SD)
INTERCHANGE: Jeremy Goddard (C), Max Walters (S), Zac Dent (SF), Ben Howlett (PT)

Written by Chris Pike, originallly published on wafootball.com.au