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Brave Swans' hearts broken by Falcons!

Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - 11:36 AM

Swan Districts marked their return to finals action on Sunday with a brave and competitive performance but ultimately the elimination final to West Perth with last kick of the day.

Swan Districts was playing its first final under Adam Pickering as coach and the first since the 2017. Back then Swans also defeated West Perth in an elimination final although that clash was at Steel Blue Oval, and this Sunday was at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval.

Swans came into the elimination final on Sunday from fifth position but produced an impressive start to lead West Perth by eight points at quarter-time and then to extend the advantage to 14 by half-time.

The black-and-whites still clung to a two-point advantage by three quarter-time before West Perth did kick away with the opening three goals of the last term to lead by 16 points.

However, Swan Districts were anything but done and eventually Aidan Clarke put the visitors back in front, and then Lewis Jetta looked like he was the game winner when he restored the lead.

But West Perth got one more opportunity and Mitch Antonio kicked the goal for West Perth to win 14.6 (90) to 13.8 (86).

That means the impressive season of Swan Districts comes to an end as do the careers of retiring pair Matt Riggio and Alex Howard. Riggio joined Swan Districts in 2010 going on to play 217 games with the black-and-whites including the 2010 premiership and winning Swan Medal in 2015 and 2016.

Howard has been a mainstay of the Swans' back-line as well ever since debuting as a teenager in 2011. He now retires a life member having played 174 matches.

For Swan Districts, young ruckman Matthew Germs (40 hit outs) impressed with his athleticism and ability to get first hands on the ball as Swans dealt with the continued absence of dual Swan Medallist Corey Gault.

Jesse Palmer was lively up forward for Swan Districts with four goals from six kicks with Nathan Ireland adding two goals while 218-game veteran Matt Riggio played an impressive cameo with two goals from 13 possessions and six inside-50 entries

Aidan Clarke provided plenty of run to go with his 18 disposals and Brandon Erceg was typically solid in defence with 19 possessions, seven marks and six tackles.

Midfielder Frank Anderson was also prolific with 23 disposals but left the field in the last quarter with a knee injury and did not return. Sandover Medallist Sam Fisher had 20 possessions and Josh Cipro 18.

Swan Districts was playing its first final since 2017 but going back to that season they did beat West Perth in an elimination final, and the black-and-whites started impressively on Sunday at Joondalup to lead by eight points at quarter-time and 14 points at half-time.

West Perth was always going to fight back and it set up a remarkable goal-for-goal finish to the contest after Swan Districts pegged back a 16-point deficit early in the last term with the next three goals.

Aidan Clarke put Swans in front before former Swan Districts powerhouse Rudy Riddoch goaled for West Perth. A hobbled Lewis Jetta then converted a set shot to appear to kick the winner for Swans at the 30-minute mark, but there was still time for West Perth and Antonio proved the hero.

It's hard to imagine a more feel good story either. Antonio was a bright talent coming through the ranks at West Perth in the colts but it did appear for a while he lost his way with his football after an unfortunate incident with East Perth's Beau Chatley.

But Antonio has proven he can still be a difference maker this year with the Falcons and he lived out a dream on Sunday afternoon while breaking the hearts of the ever so brave Swan Districts in the process whose season is now over.

The day began at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with a reserves qualifying final with Perth overrunning Swan Districts with five goals to one in the last term to win 9.11 (65) to 8.8 (56).

Jack Cox kicked two goals for Swan Districts while Denzel More finished with 24 possessions, Jack O'Sullivan 19, Dylan Ralph 17, Callum Garcia 16 and Jamison Ugle 16.

Swan Districts' reserves will now face Subiaco in the first semi-final at Leederville Oval on Saturday.

Swans' colts begin their finals campaign as well in the second semi-final against Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium on Sunday morning.


SWAN DISTRICTS                              3.3          7.5          9.7          13.8 (86)

WEST PERTH                                      2.1          5.3          9.5          14.6 (90)

SWAN DISTRICTS: Goals – Palmer 4; Ireland, Riggio 2; Jetta, Clarke, Reidy, Noble, Watson.

Best – Anderson, Erceg, Fisher, Clarke, Palmer, Cipro, Riggio, Riley.

WEST PERTH: Goals – Knott 4; Keitel 3; O'Donnell, Riddoch 2; Black, Antonio, Lynch.

Best – Black, Wilhelm, Knott, Manzone, Keitel, Riddoch, Peirce.