Hagan leads Mid West colts contingent, but East Freo’s season ends at preliminary final
Lightning struck twice for East Fremantle, whose WAFL colts season ended in the preliminary final stage for the second straight year in a weather-interrupted clash against Swan Districts at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
Great Northern Football League product Jed Hagan racked up 23 disposals and kicked a goal.
Former Northampton junior Josh Cripps had nine hit-outs and 14 disposals, and kicked a behind.
The second half was reduced to two 20-minute quarters, which may have cost the Sharks, who came storming back from 27 points down at half-time to go down by two points — 9.9 (63) to 9.7 (61).
Players were forced inside the change rooms for about 45 minutes at quarter-time after lightning strikes within 1km of the ground in crazy scenes reminiscent of the West Coast versus Melbourne game at Optus Stadium last month.
Minor premiers Swan Districts dominated the opening half but conceded four goals to none in the third term as the underdogs made their move.
A solitary point separated the two sides at three-quarter-time and they went blow for blow in the final quarter with two goals apiece.
First-round draft fancy Jack Williams kicked his third goal in the last 30 seconds for East Fremantle but the final siren sounded by the time the ball was bounced as the Swans booked their spot in Saturday’s decider against Claremont at Optus Stadium.
Running machine Max Chipper was best afield in the first half, with 19 of his 30 disposals and a brilliant goal coming before half-time. But midfield warriors and Josh Browne (27 and a goal), Corey Warner (24), Jed Hagan (23, six tackles and a goal), captain Taj Woewodin (22 and a goal) and Sam Emery (22) got to work to inspire a spirited Sharks revival.
Hagan, a highly rated 2022 draft prospect, was particularly impressive, using the ball with the class his teammates lacked at times by foot, with his defensive pressure and work rate also elite.
Swan Districts’ back six deserve a lot of credit for their efforts in repelling the Sharks’ attacking forays and rebounding it well.
Key backs Angus Laurisson (seven), Rhett Bazzo (five) and silky skilled half-back Lawson Humphries (six) combined for 18 marks, positioning themselves well to take intercept after intercept. The Swans get dangerous forward Tyrell Metcalf back from suspension for the team’s first grand final since 2018 to help out Jaxon Pitts and Braydon Fawcett, who kicked two goals apiece in Sunday’s win.
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