DEE-LIGHTFUL! Perth snap 22-year WAFL finals drought with win over South Fremantle

Sunday, September 13, 2020 - 11:59 AM

It was the most Perth way to break a record 22-year finals drought.

Down nine points at the last break, the Demons did their best to hand victory to minor premiers South Fremantle by kicking 1.8 in the last quarter.

Matt Rogers’ third goal after a diving mark in the goal square gave Perth the lead with seven minutes to go and ignite the hopes of thousands of Perth fans.

But South didn’t score in the term and Perth’s blunderbuss approach was sufficient to spark remarkable celebrations on the ground and in the rooms after they won by five points, 8.18 (66) to 9.7 (61).

It was the most Perth way to break a record 22-year finals drought.

Down nine points at the last break, the Demons did their best to hand victory to minor premiers South Fremantle by kicking 1.8 in the last quarter.

Matt Rogers’ third goal after a diving mark in the goal square gave Perth the lead with seven minutes to go and ignite the hopes of thousands of Perth fans.

But South didn’t score in the term and Perth’s blunderbuss approach was sufficient to spark remarkable celebrations on the ground and in the rooms after they won by five points, 8.18 (66) to 9.7 (61).

“That is the story of Perth footy club over the past 20 odd years,” an emotional coach Earl Spalding said.

“We just make life so difficult for ourselves.”

The result steered Perth into the finals for the first time since 1997. They will take on West Perth in the first semifinal next Sunday.

Rogers and recruited forward Jack Richardson made strong contributions as Perth relished their involvement in a game played at finals intensity.

The contest was so hot in the first 40 minutes that players with cool heads and excellent skills were at a premium.

That equation was provided mostly by Kade Stewart who kicked two superb first-half goals to be the game’s best player by the long break.

The first was a 50m set shot to open South’s account while the other was a curling long-range snap created when captain Dylan Main smashed into a marking contest to release the ball.

Bernie Naylor Medal contenders Mason Shaw and Logan McDonald kicked a goal apiece in the first half to knock Tyler Keitel out of the race before the Bulldog added one to secure the goal-kicking award.

McDonald was opposed mostly by one of South’s smallest defenders in John Levien but could not get free often enough to have an impact.

But McDonald started to get his hands on the ball, including a towering pack mark, but missed with three consecutive shots before Fraser McInnes kept his team within range with a good set shot.

 

PERTH 2.3 5.6 7.10 8.18 66

SOUTH FREMANTLE 3.3 5.6 9.7 9.7 61

GOALS – PERTH: M Rogers 3; J Richardson B Colledge M Jones F McInnes L McDonald.

SOUTH FREMANTLE: M Shaw 2 K Stewart 2 C Datson 2 B Rioli B Donaldson D Main

BEST – PERTH: A Fisher M Rogers J Richardson B Colledge J Coniglio B Grey

SOUTH FREMANTLE: K Stewart J Dragovich C Pearson D Main B Donaldson B Rioli

INJURIES – SOUTH FREMANTLE: C Luff J Maskos B Wilson (all rested) replaced by K Barker G Byron K Hamersley

UMPIRES: B Jago B Laycock R Shelton

Written by John Townsend. Originally published here.