East Fremantle’s top-of-the-table triumph over West Perth at the WACA Ground on Saturday shows the Sharks can beat anyone in the competition.
That’s the view of Sharks skipper Matthew Jupp, who was one of the best players on ground to lead his team to a thrilling two-point win and return to the top of the WAFL ladder.
East Freo now boast a 6-2 record, including two from two on their temporary home turf, as they charge towards a first finals appearance since 2014.
“We’re not looking any further than Claremont this week, another good opponent,” Jupp said.
“We believe that we’re good enough to beat anyone but what we’re trying to do is stay really narrow focused and take things week by week.
“What can we achieve? The sky’s the limit.”
Jupp, who took an equal game-high 10 marks and really stood tall late, admits Monday’s WA Day Derby loss to arch-rivals South Fremantle, also by two points, “really stung”, but the short turn-around helped them move on fast.
He was pleased to be on the right side of a heart-stopper, prevailing after a remarkable nine lead changes including five in the third quarter alone.
“It was a really tough loss against South Fremantle and it really stung,” Jupp said.
“We were probably really lucky that we only had a five-day break because we had to move on quickly, there was no time to dwell.
“Today was another slog, another close one. We did a lot right, did a lot wrong, so it was nice to be on the right end of that one.”
The Sharks claimed the inaugural Jayde Kinane Memorial Cup in the process.
Both clubs have a special connection to Jayde, who tragically died from cystic fibrosis in October, with her stepfather Paul Sanzone an assistant coach at East Fremantle after a stint at West Perth.
“It was an emotion-charged day,” Jupp said.
“It was tragic what happened to Jayde so it was nice to honour her in that sense today.
“Paul knows we’re there for him and it was nice to give him a hug after the match.”
The State representative couldn’t be happier with the efforts of his well-rounded back six after another job well done.
Jupp kept dual Bernie Naylor medallist Tyler Keitel goalless, Cam Eardley and Ryan Lester-Smith provided the rebound, while Jamie Meade continues to improve as a key back.
“We’re settled down there which is nice,” he said.
“Lachie Bailey is coming on nicely, Jamie Meade has put together a really good two or three years now, Finn Gorringe who was the State 18s captain last year is really coming on now and Cam Eardley is a superstar of the competition.
“I feel like that sets the platform for the team and we’re able to build off that, our midfield is going really well and our forward-line is functioning well as well.
“It’s all clicking which is nice to watch.”
Both teams have availability concerns heading into next round with Sharks defender Matthew Burton reported for tripping goalsneak Keegan Knott during a tense third term.
West Perth’s Nathan Alexandre appeared troubled by a left shoulder issue, spending significant time off the ground.
Knott was one of the Falcons’ best with four majors including three in the third quarter, while Mark Hamilton was important down back with his role of dangerous forward Jonathon Marsh who didn’t kick a goal.
Mid-sized target Cody Leggett was East Fremantle’s premier goal-kicker with five from 23 touches and eight marks, while Victorian recruit Jackson McDonald (25 disposals and a goal) enjoyed his best game since moving to WA during the off-season.