So close for Swans in Round 1 v Bulldogs

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 10:27 AM by Chris Pike

SWAN Districts was only one straight kick away from making a winning start to the 2019 WAFL season against South Fremantle at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday.

It's an even more youthful Swan Districts outfit representing the black-and-whites in 2019 but they went ever so close to making a winning start in Round 1 against the Bulldogs.

In a match with little separating the two teams all day, Swan Districts had the last say when new recruit Josh Simpson took a big pack mark inside-50 as the siren sounded with Swans five points behind.

While he missed the shot and South Fremantle won the game 8.5 (53) to 7.7 (49), there was plenty of encouraging signs for Swan Districts to take out of the contest.

Steven Payne kicked two goals to go with 25 disposals for Swan Districts with Ethan Maguire also kicking two majors.

Jesse Turner had another good game on the back of making the WAFL Team of the Year in 2018 with 21 possessions with Josh Cipro compiling 19 touches and Warrick Wilson 18 in an eye-catching performance off half-back.

Jesse Glass-McCasker was rock solid at full-back holding South Fremantle's Mason Shaw to just one goal. Tony Notte and Alex Howard were their usual rock solid selves defensively also for the black-and-whites.

Both teams came into the season with plenty of unanswered questions with Swans looking to bounce back from a six-win season in 2018 while losing Rhys Palmer on the eve of the season and with captain David Ellard coming back from injury in the reserves. 

South Fremantle has lost a remarkable amount of talent and experience from last year's preliminary final loss to West Perth and then were missing Marlion Pickett with a broken finger on Saturday. To top it off, captain Dylan Main went off with a hamstring complaint early in the piece.

That set the stage for a fascinating contest at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday and while neither side would have been happy with how they used the ball, it was a tight affair the whole way.

Swan Districts got the first goal on the board thanks to Ethan Maguire on his left-boot. Shaun Bewick kicked truly late in the first term for South Fremantle and it was just a goal apiece by quarter-time.

Warrick Wilson got forward to kick a good goal to start the second quarter but Josh Collard answered soon after for South Fremantle on the back of good lead up play by debutant Caleb Datson.

Brandon Donaldson then kicked the last goal of the first half to give South Fremantle a four-point lead at the main break.

Steven Payne regained the lead for Swans to begin the second half but then South Fremantle goals to Zac De San Miguel and Donaldson had the Bulldogs out to their game-high lead of 10 points.

But Swans had turned that around by three quarter-time to turn three points in front following goals to Jesse Turner, Corey Gault and Maguire's second.

Kade Stewart took a strong one-on-one mark resting forward to start the last term and went back to kick truly. Then Mason Shaw goaled as with South Fremantle restoring its 10-point lead but Swans weren’t done with yet.

Payne kicked a goal from 40m to make it a four-point game with time running out and Swans continued to attack. Eventually Josh Simpson flew high to take a strong pack mark before the siren sounded.

It was a tough shot from 40m out with the tricky breeze and it was never on line denying him the dream debut at Swan Districts with South Fremantle winning 7.7 (49) to 8.5 (53).

The reserves clash was the lead into the league contest on Saturday at Steel Blue Oval with South Fremantle running out 10.12 (72) to 5.8 (38) winners over Swan Districts.

Jackson Slater put his running power on display right throughout the game for Swan Districts and finished with 26 possessions, 15 marks and a goal.

Co-captain David Ellard is working his way back from injury and had 19 disposals for Swans with Patrick Italiano gathering 17 touches, Jordan Bill 16 and Callum Garcia 16.

The colts contest at Steel Blue Oval on Saturday was a dramatic affair and ended up with Swan Districts kicking the last goal of the game to win 9.9 (63) to 8.11 (59).

Swans did lead by 14 points at half-time and were still on top by 12 points by three quarter-time.

But South Fremantle kicked the first two goals of the last quarter to lead by three points until Kade Wallrodt proved the match-winner kicking the last goal of the contest as the black-and-whites won by four points.

Jermarl Daly starred for Swan Districts in the colts win kicking six goals from nine kicks.

Brenton Hilton gathered 25 possessions for Swans, Jak Watson 23, Kade Wallrodt 21, Zane Trew 21, Jake Pasini 19, Ethan Nordahl 19, Ty Sears 19 and Seb Bright 18.

Swan Districts now hits the road in Round 2 of the WAFL season to play East Perth at Leederville Oval on Saturday.

SWAN DISTRICTS        1.4    2.5    6.6    7.7    (49)
SOUTH FREMANTLE        1.2    3.3    6.3    8.5    (53)

SWAN DISTRICTS – Goals: Payne, Maguire 2; Gault, Turner, W Wilson.
Best: Payne, W Wilson, Glass-McCasker, Turner, Cipro, Howard, Notte.
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Donaldson 2; Dragovich, Stewart, Bewick, Shaw, De San Miguel, Collard.
Best: Stewart, Higgins, Maskos, Pearson, Donaldson, Schloithe, Dragovich.