PFNL pre-season watch: Falcons win southerners clash in trial run against South Bunbury | photos

South Mandurah have taken bragging rights with a win in a clash of the southerners, sweating out a 41-point victory in an inter-league scratch match against South Bunbury in testing conditions on Saturday afternoon.

Each club’s league squad battled it out in a three-quarter match, succeeded by a game between the colts and reserves, with South Mandurah cruising to a victory as temperatures peaked around 30 degrees.

The Falcons were dominant across the three periods of play, restricting South Bunbury to just two goals (each of which came in the second) as they romped to a 2.7 (19) to 9.6 (60) victory over the South West Football League club.

Who impressed

Callum Dews

The young gun made his mark as a capable forward in the 2017 season, and showed his class when he either won or neutralised a number of one-on-one contests deep in the Falcons’ 50m arch. Dews also shouldered more of the forward load without superstar teammate Brad Holmes on the park, and could have finished with a couple extra goals if the little things had gone his way more often. Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of his performance was his solid play in the midfield, where he threw himself at the ball on several occasions. Could be set for a big 2018 after several strong showings last year.

Callum Dews won a number of contests in the forward 50m arch. Photo: Justin Rake.

Callum Dews won a number of contests in the forward 50m arch. Photo: Justin Rake.

Andrew Haydon

The Ross Elliot medallist, who has spent the bulk of his pre-season at Peel Thunder, took little time to assert himself in the game. Far and above the best player in the early stages of the clash, Haydon constantly found the footy and won a number of clearances to send the Falcons forward. By now the entire PFNL knows he can turn a game on its head, and if his form in this match is anything to go off he could be staring down the barrel of consecutive league best and fairest awards.

Andrew Haydon showed his class early. Photo: Justin Rake.

Andrew Haydon showed his class early. Photo: Justin Rake.

Tom Wood

Shouldered most of the load in the ruck and played a key role in helping South Mandurah win the midfield battle. Wood made his mark in the aerial contests but also helped fight for a few 50/50 possessions that ended in the Falcons’ favour.

Tom Wood shouldered the majority of the ruck responsibilities. Photo: Justin Rake.

Tom Wood shouldered the majority of the ruck responsibilities. Photo: Justin Rake.

Takeaways

  1. South Mandurah’s forward line showed plenty of poise and firepower despite missing Holmes, the PFNL’s deadliest spearhead, for the South Bunbury clash.
  2. South Bunbury pressed hard at stages in the second and third periods, but the Falcon’s defence stood tall and repelled a number of attacks.
  3. The Falcons’ harassment of the footy and tenacity on ground level played a massive factor, and looks to be a big part of their game plan heading into 2018.
  4. South Mandurah also took home a win in the colts/reserves clash, holding off a rampant South Bunbury team that booted the final four goals of the game to win in thrilling fashion. The final result was 7.4 (46) to 6.9 (45).