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Duff and Quarters: WAFL grand final stars that deserve a look from AFL clubs

South Fremantle enjoyed a famous grand final win over Claremont at Fremantle Oval on Sunday and while the Bulldogs celebrated their 14th premiership, both sides showed off elite talent on the WAFL’s biggest stage.

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Two-time Sandover Medallist Jye Bolton almost willed the Tigers to their first cup since 2012 with 35 disposals and seven inside 50s, the midfielder awarded the Simpson Medal for a best-on-ground performance in the three-point loss.

Bolton was a rookie pick by Collingwood in 2010 but never played for the Pies. On this week’s episode of the Duff and Quarters podcast, The West Australian’s chief footy writer Mark Duffield and The Sunday Times’ sports editor Glen Quartermain were surprised AFL clubs haven’t considered the 28-year-old despite sustained impact in the state competition.

Subscribe to the Duff and Quarters podcast on either Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to good audio.

Second Semi Final at Fremantle Oval and South's Benjamin Rioli stopped by Jye Bolton.
Camera IconSecond Semi Final at Fremantle Oval and South’s Benjamin Rioli stopped by Jye Bolton. Credit: IAIN GILLESPIE/The West Australian

“I thought there were three or four absolutely outstanding performances in that game,” Duffield said.

“Bolton in the third quarter, he basically said, get on my shoulders boys I’ll take you there and he very nearly did.

“At a time when South looked like they were getting control of the game, Bolton just went to another level around stoppage and another level around contests.

“He won so much contested ball, he is a tough, tough player Jye Bolton and it remains a mystery to me why not one AFL team has said, you know what this guy has to be worth a look.”

South Fremantle captain Dylan Main was terrific for the bulldogs, finishing with 23 disposals and five marks in a gutsy performance, but Duffield believes forward Zachary Strom’s efforts may deserve a look for an AFL side looking for depth in their front half.

Zachary Strom of the Bulldogs evades a tackle by Jared Hardisty of the Tigers during the 2020 WAFL Grand Final match between the South Fremantle Bulldogs and the Claremont Tigers at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
Camera IconZachary Strom of the Bulldogs evades a tackle by Jared Hardisty of the Tigers during the 2020 WAFL Grand Final match between the South Fremantle Bulldogs and the Claremont Tigers at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

“I thought Zac Strom was magnificent for South. Gave them a really imposing target,” Duffield said.

“He’s 26 years old but he’s 198cm tall, he’s 103kg heavy, he’s got a body that’s built for warfare, it would be interesting if any (AFL clubs) had a nibble.

“That was a commanding performance by a key position player who played with presence.”

“Lee Spurr gave him his five votes, Spurr is a very good judge and he gave him the fivefor the Simpson Medal,” Quartermain followed.

Alec Waterman revitalised his footy career with Claremont this season, almost clamining the Bernie Naylor Medal for most goals and backed that up with two early majors in the grand final.

Alec Waterman of the Tigers kicks on goal during the 2020 WAFL Grand Final match between the South Fremantle Bulldogs and the Claremont Tigers at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on October 04, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconAlec Waterman of the Tigers kicks on goal during the 2020 WAFL Grand Final match between the South Fremantle Bulldogs and the Claremont Tigers at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on October 04, 2020 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images) Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images, Paul Kane

The 24-year-old’s time at West Coast was interrupted in 2015 after contracting glandular fever and battling chronic fatigue for nearly two years.

AFL recruiters could do a lot worse than giving a fit-again Waterman a second chance.

“I’m just going to mention too that Alec Waterman was pretty good,” Quartermain said.

“Presented really well, kicked a couple, could have been his day had they won. Good kick just a really good kick.”

Subscribe to the Duff and Quarters podcast on either Apple, Spotify or wherever you listen to good audio.

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