IT was a fascinating Round 8 in the WAFL across the WA Day long weekend with wins for Perth, Claremont, Subiaco, South Fremantle and East Perth, and some standout individual performances along the way.
Round 8 in the WAFL got underway with a standalone fixture on Saturday at Lathlain's Mineral Resources Park that saw former skipper Clint Jones lead Perth to the come from behind victory over Swan Districts, 11.14 (80) to 11.8 (74).
There were then two matches on Sunday starting at Optus Stadium with Sandover Medallists Jye Bolton and Kane Mitchell leading Claremont to the 12.7 (79) to the 6.12 (48) win against the West Coast Eagles.
Then later on Sunday afternoon at Mandurah's David Grays Arena, Subiaco proved too strong for Peel Thunder with a 15.9 (99) to 8.10 (58) victory.
Then in the traditional WA Day Derby contests, South Fremantle shook off the loss of three key players throughout the game to beat East Fremantle 16.7 (103) to 10.11 (71) at East Fremantle's New Choice Homes Park.
And then at Leederville Oval, East Perth produced a tremendous third quarter which set up the eventual 10.12 (72) to 9.8 (62) win against West Perth.
The Round 8 WAFL results leave Subiaco (7-1) on top of the ladder but still only percentage ahead of the also 7-1 South Fremantle who are on a six-game winning streak.
Perth (6-2) remains third ahead of Claremont (5-3) with Peel Thunder (3-5) rounding out the top five in front of West Perth (3-5), East Perth (3-5), Swan Districts (2-6), West Coast Eagles (2-6) and East Fremantle (2-6).
PLAYER OF THE ROUND – CLINT JONES
Clint Jones might have fallen one-game short of reaching the 150-game AFL milestone with St Kilda, but as he is about to reach 150 matches in the WAFL, he is doing so in as good a form as ever having led Perth to a gritty win on Saturday against Swan Districts.
Jones will bring up his 150th WAFL appearance this Saturday when his Demons take on Subiaco at Leederville Oval and he will go into the milestone appearance in outstanding form, but that should be no surprise since there's no drop off really at any point over the past 15 years.
He might now be 35 years of age, but there's been no sign of decline in his body, in his attitude to compete all day, his ability to find the ball and his ability and willingness to run all day, and simply outlast his opponents.
His remarkably decorated career in both the AFL and WAFL has included plenty of Grand Finals and premierships, but not for a long time, and since he joined Perth what he has been craving is to be part of the return to finals action for the Demons.
That took another step to reality with Saturday's win against Swan Districts and he played a crucial hand in that producing a best on ground display made up of 42 possessions and 11 entries inside the forward 50.
That continues a season where Jones might have handed over the captaincy to Corey Yeo, but where he continues to lead the front in inspirational fashion averaging another 27.9 possessions a game.
Jones' career now reaches another milestone this Saturday against Subiaco when he reaches the 150 games in the WAFL.
It's a journey that started at South Fremantle back in 2002. It was a different role back then for Jones with him stationed out on the wing where he would go on to win two fairest and best awards with the Bulldogs, represent Western Australia and play in the 2005 premiership.
That saw him earn a chance in the AFL following his 84 games at South Fremantle. He was drafted to St Kilda at the end of the 2006 season after playing six games in debut 2007 AFL season, he never looked back.
Cementing his spot as a run-with player and becoming one of the best at it in the game, Jones would go on to play 143 games in the AFL over the next seven seasons including the Grand Final against Geelong in 2009, and both against Collingwood in 2010.
He fell agonisingly short of 150 games at the Saints, with his career ending on 149 with his last game coming in the last round of 2014 against Adelaide where he still played well with 21 possessions.
Jones remained in Melbourne in 2015 playing in the VFL for Sandringham before returning home to WA in 2016 and joining Perth.
It had been a tough first three seasons in terms of team success, but not individually for Jones who has been tremendously consistently throughout that whole time with the Demons this time largely as an inside midfielder.
Jones has captained Perth and added to his fairest and best, and State jumper collection in his time with the Demons that has now totalled 65 games.
It will become 66 games in the red and black on Saturday as he reaches 150 games in the WAFL and add in 149 AFL games, his state appearances and time in the VFL, and it's a remarkable thing that Jones is still going so strong and will be at the forefront of Perth's continued push to play finals.
Players of the Round
Round 1 – Kyal Horsley (Subiaco)
Round 2 – Anton Hamp (Claremont)
Round 3 – Haiden Schloithe (South Fremantle)
Round 4 – Brant Colledge (Perth)
Round 5 – Tony Notte (Swan Districts)
Round 6 – Rohan Kerr (East Perth)
Round 7 – Mitch Peirce (West Perth)
Round 8 – Clint Jones (Perth)
BACK POCKET – MICHAEL SINCLAIR (Perth)
His outstanding season continued with another tremendous performance in defence as Perth came from behind to beat Swan Districts on Saturday. For the seventh time already in 2019, the dual fairest and best winner and state player had at least 23 possessions, finishing the game with 26 disposals, seven marks, five tackles and five inside-50 entries.
FULL-BACK – ALEX HOWARD (Swan Districts)
The 139-game Swan Districts defender deserves to be considered the league's most unheralded player given the tremendous career he has put together and that he's done it with precious little recognition. Easily could be a multiple time state representative by now, but nonetheless continues to do his job at Swans with aplomb and was superb defensively again against Perth while also having 16 possessions, three marks and two tackles.
BACK POCKET – JOSH ROTHAM (West Coast Eagles)
He deserved to consider himself somewhat unlucky to lose his place in West Coast's AFL team but he's proven he's more than up to playing at the next level. And he continues to do his chances of a recall no harm with his form at WAFL level and on Sunday against Claremont at Optus Stadium, he held Tom Lee to just two goals and three kicks in an impressive defensive performance.
HALF-BACK FLANK – JACKSON RAMSAY (East Perth)
Coming off his knee reconstruction, the former Collingwood player continues to produce a standout season with the Royals both at half-back and through the midfield. Was instrumental in the WA Day Derby win against West Perth with 30 possessions, six inside-50 entries, five tackles and four marks.
CENTRE HALF-BACK – ANTON HAMP (Claremont)
It was one of the biggest surprises when he wasn’t part of the WAFL State Team's clash with South Australia but the 136-game key defender hasn’t let it slow his outstanding form down back with Claremont. Another strong showing in Sunday's win against West Coast where he finished with 18 possessions and nine marks while repelling attack after attack from the Eagles.
HALF-BACK FLANK – ANGUS LITHERLAND (Subiaco)
Subiaco continues to lead the league in stingy defence conceding just 55.9 points a game this season and he is a significant part of that. Put together another standout performance in Sunday's win against Peel Thunder in Mandurah both defensively and by compiling 22 possessions, eight marks and getting forward to kick a goal.
WING – KANE MITCHELL (Claremont)
The 2012 Sandover Medallist, dual premiership star, former Port Adelaide AFL player and current co-captain remains in brilliant hard-running form for Claremont in 2019. He enjoyed getting out onto Optus Stadium on Sunday and in the win against the Eagles delivered 34 possessions, 13 marks, eight marks and five entries inside the forward 50.
CENTRE – KYAL HORSLEY (Subiaco)
The ex-captain is the most decorated WAFL player this century and there are no signs of him slowing down or his powers diminishing as he nears the 200-game milestone for Subiaco. The Lions beat Peel on Sunday and he was at the forefront of that with 28 possessions, 11 inside-50 entries, 10 tackles, five marks and a goal.
WING – ROHAN KERR (East Perth)
Watching him play this year and nobody would ever guess he's spent the past two years out of the WAFL system and playing at Pinjarra when work forced him to stop playing with West Perth at the end of 2016. But the hard-running wingman has picked up right where he left off with another 33 possessions, nine marks and three tackles in Monday's win against his former team.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – BLAINE BOEKHORST (East Fremantle)
Is now six games into his return from a knee reconstruction that ruined his first season with East Fremantle, but the former Carlton and Swan Districts wingman is working into form and fitness nicely showing just why the Sharks were so excited to have signed him in the first place. Played his first WA Day Foundation Derby and delivered 29 possessions, seven marks and a goal.
CENTRE HALF-FORWARD – LACHLAN DELAHUNTY (Subiaco)
When he is up and going he is perhaps the hardest WAFL player to stop whether he is playing as that lead up centre half-forward, spending time deeper inside-50 or pinch-hitting in the ruck. His size, agility and versatility continues to be a massive part of Subiaco's success and in Sunday's win against Peel he delivered 24 possessions, 13 marks and two goals.
HALF-FORWARD FLANK – DYLAN MAIN (South Fremantle)
With his South Fremantle teammates Haiden Schloithe, Jake Florenca and Shaun Bewick went down for the afternoon, he had to battle through a sore shoulder and spend most of the game playing in attack and was instrumental in Monday's WA Day Foundation Derby win at Shark Park. Kicked four goals to go with 16 possessions and eight marks.
FORWARD POCKET – MITCH DOBSON (East Perth)
With East Perth looking for targets in attack and avenues to goal, his burly build might not quite be the obvious option but he has done well now over the last three weeks since coming into the Royals team. He kicked four goals from seven kicks and eight marks in Monday's derby win against West Perth.
FULL-FORWARD – BEN SOKOL (Subiaco)
The state full-forward has gone from handy half-forward to Subiaco's spearhead in just the space of a couple of years after transitioning from South Fremantle to the Lions. He provided a great target in Sunday's victory against Peel kicking three goals from 18 possessions and 12 marks.
FORWARD POCKET – TOM MONAGHAN (East Fremantle)
He has been one of East Fremantle's brightest sparks this season earning his chances with his dad coaching the Sharks and he proved a potent target in attack for East Fremantle against South Fremantle on Monday. Surprisingly strong overhead, he ended up kicking three goals from eight kicks and four marks.
RUCK – JONATHON GRIFFIN (East Fremantle)
The East Fremantle captain and former Adelaide and Fremantle AFL ruckman has had his year and-a-half back in the WAFL at East Fremantle hurt by injury including a broken jaw suffered back in Round 1 this year. But he is getting back to some impressive form including a standout showing against South Fremantle's Brock Higgins on WA Day with 16 possessions, 41 hit outs, six tackles and five marks.
ROVER – JYE BOLTON (Claremont)
Coming off an uncharacteristically quiet game the week before against Subiaco when he was tagged tightly by Craig Hoskins, he came out determined to bounce back on Sunday against West Coast and he couldn’t have done so any more emphatically. The Sandover and Simpson Medallist of two of the past three years racked up 33 possessions to go with 11 inside-50 entries and 10 marks.
INTERCHANGE – BLAKE WILHELM (West Perth)
The dashing half-back is now a leader at West Perth with 78 WAFL games under his belt and the former Joondalup Wolves basketballer is having yet another standout season providing the Falcons with plenty of run and dash off half-back. Ended up on Monday with another 23 possessions and seven marks.
INTERCHANGE – BRENDAN VERRIER (South Fremantle)
South Fremantle needed players to step up with the injuries they suffered during the WA Day Foundation Derby and he was more than capable of doing that in a tremendous performance as the Bulldogs ran away with the 32-point win. He finished with 28 possessions, six marks, five tackles and a goal.
INTERCHANGE – COREY GAULT (Swan Districts)
The big man who played in the state game a few weeks back continued his good form on Saturday for Swan Districts and he spent time all over the field, playing in the ruck along with having stints up forward and down back. Finished the afternoon with 19 possessions, 18 hit outs, five tackles, four marks and two goals.
INTERCHANGE – CODY LEGGETT (Perth)
With Perth's midfield so full of strong players this year, he has been able to be used to good effect in a variety of roles so far this season by coach Earl Spalding. His versatility has been a big reason in why they remain on track to break their finals drought and in Saturday's win against Swan Districts, he delivered 31 possessions, five marks, four tackles and four inside 50s.
There were plenty of players who delivered tremendous performances across Round 8 but couldn’t quite fit into the Team of the Round, including:
Perth's Matthew Taylor, Corey Yeo, Jacob Payne and Corey Byrne.
Swan Districts' Matt Riggio, Warrick Wilson and Nathan Blakely.
Claremont's Ryan Lim, Bailey Rogers, Declan Mountford, Lachlan Martinis and Jack Bradshaw.
West Coast Eagles' Chris Masten and Nick Reid.
Peel Thunder's Mitch Crowden, Harley Bennell, Bailey Banfield and Jackson Merrett.
Subiaco's Greg Clark and Max Walters.
East Fremantle's Cameron Eardley, Jarrad Jansen, Nick Kommer, Kody Manning, Morgan Davies and Matthew Jupp.
South Fremantle's Jacob Dragovich, Steve Verrier and Blayne Wilson.
East Perth's Patrick McGinnity, Angus Scott, Shayne Hille, Ajang Ajang and Jaxon Cahill.
West Perth's Shane Nelson, Aaron Black, Aidan Lynch, Trent Manzone, Corey Chalmers and Tyler Keitel.