WAFL 2022: South Fremantle hold on to beat East Perth but lose star midfielder Jake Florenca to injury
South Fremantle’s crucial 11-point win over East Perth on Sunday came at a cost after star midfielder Jake Florenca suffered a hamstring injury.
In blustery conditions at Leederville Oval, the Bulldogs prevailed 8.9 (57) to 6.10 (46) but lost one of their most important players to a potentially serious injury.
Florenca went down after contesting a loose ball on a wing in the second quarter and was helped off the ground by two trainers, unable to put any pressure on his left leg.
Initial fears he had suffered another Achilles injury were allayed when it was confirmed he had injured his hamstring.
The Sandover Medal fancy took no further part in the game, finishing with 16 disposals and a goal.
East Perth lost head coach Jeremy Barnard before the game to COVID-19, with assistant Jye King taking the reins, and tough forward Nic Robertson who was a late withdrawal with a groin complaint.
Dashing defender Toby McQuilkin stood out in South’s defence, racking up 42 disposals as fellow defender Blake Schlensog (21 disposals and nine marks) also had a big impact.
Midfielders Tom Blechynden (23 disposals), Steve Verrier (21) and Haiden Schloithe (24) were also influential for the Bulldogs.
East Perth’s prime ball winners Angus Scott (40 disposals), Angus Schumacher (32) and Hamish Brayshaw (23 and nine tackles) were industrious as always, but the Royals squandered a golden opportunity late to get back in the game.
Momentum swung the Royals’ way but they were wasteful in front of goal with 2.5 in a costly final term.
Florenca almost kicked one of the goals of the season to start the game, with his snap from the boundary line soccered through by Jimmy Miller on the goal line.
Miller looked ominous up forward when he kicked his second just minutes later courtesy of a free kick close to goal.
Former Falcon Thomas Medhat stepped up to fill the void in East Perth’s forward line, booting their first three goals to keep them in touch with the Bulldogs.
His third was followed by a crafty rove from late inclusion Ben McGuire as the Royals cut a 20-point deficit to seven at half-time.
Rain made conditions even trickier after the long break, but it didn’t dampen South’s hunger as they asserted their dominance.
They kicked the only two goals of the third term and held East Perth to a solitary behind to once again establish a commanding lead.
Brandon Donaldson’s quick snap to start the last quarter added to the lead and the Bulldogs held on late to keep touch with the top three.
SOUTH FREMANTLE 3.1 5.5 7.9 8.9 (57)
EAST PERTH 1.2 4.4 4.5 6.10 (46)
Goals – SOUTH FREMANTLE: J Miller 2 C Datson H Schloithe J Florenca Z Strom B Donaldson H Free.
EAST PERTH: T Medhat 3 B McGuire 2 D Greaves.
Best – SOUTH FREMANTLE: T McQuilkin T Blechynden B Schlensog S Verrier Z Strom H Schloithe.
EAST PERTH: A Scott A Schumacher S Wright T Medhat H Brayshaw.
Injuries – SOUTH FREMANTLE: J Florenca (hamstring).
EAST PERTH: N Robertson (groin) replaced in selected side by B McGuire.
Reports – G Byron (SF) for engaging in rough conduct on A Scott (EP) in first quarter.
Umpires: C Dugan J Gibb D Johanson. Crowd: About 1500 at Leederville Oval.
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