First-round draft fancy Kane Bevan showed his class with a best-afield performance in West Perth’s season-opening WAFL colts victory over Claremont.
The 192cm key defender turned big-bodied midfielder led the Falcons well in his captaincy debut against a fast-finishing Tigers, who kicked three consecutive goals late to get within two points before going down by eight.
West Perth coach Ryan Lasscock moved Bevan, who amassed a game-high 27 disposals, 15 contested possessions, nine clearances and a classy first-quarter goal, into the engine room midway through last season and expects him to stay there at colts and national under-18s levels.
“We were able to get that transition into the midfield done midway through last season so he’s had eight or nine games under his belt already in there,” Lasscock said.
“Myself and (State 18s coach) Ben Dyer are on the same page with that.”
Classy forward Jack DeMarte was the star of the show up forward with four majors, while fellow smalls Noah Vanderwiel and Jacob Templeton added two apiece.
Luke Michael (21 disposals and six marks) was outstanding down back, reading the play well and rebounding with composure, with Griff Julian (24, five marks and five tackles) also among the standouts for the home side.
Lewis Crump and Will Bailey worked hard in the midfield for Claremont and stood up late during their team’s comeback in the absence of Ed Allan who’s sidelined with a lower-back issue and is expected to miss at least a month.
Fremantle Next Generation Academy talent Conrad Williams showed flashes of brilliance on the outside and key defender Hugh Davies was strong down back.
Up forward it was recently-announced Hale captain Harry Cole and livewire Cooper Childs with two goals each, while bottom-aged key forward Daniel Curtin had his moments in the final term including a late major and contested mark.
East Perth knocked off reigning champs Swan Districts by 31 points, 11.11 (77) to 6.10 (46), at Leederville Oval with potential top-10 pick Jedd Busslinger having a day out as he closes in on a league berth.
Busslinger, who was in the Royals’ extended senior squad before getting overlooked, reeled in a whopping seven intercept marks among his 26 possessions, controlling the airways down back and even drifting forward for a goal.
Pocket rocket Darcy Jones was another draft prospect to catch the eye, producing a brilliant display in the midfield for the Swans with 20 disposals and five marks, while key defender Angus Laurisson stood tall with six intercept marks.
Jones was in the mix for a league berth but only got out of isolation earlier in the week which hurt his cause.
Mitch Miller (East Perth) and Daniel Hirst (Swan Districts) booted three goals each for their respective teams.
Hulking forward Corey Tregenza-Cashell had an instant impact in his colts debut for Peel Thunder, booting a game-high three goals in the 17-point win over East Fremantle, 8.8 (56) to 5.9 (39), in Mandurah on Good Friday.
Classy talent Connor Carbone was the leading ball winner on the ground with 25, while fellow State 18s hopefuls Jed Hagan (25, nine tackles and a goal) and Jack Cleaver (20) did their bit for the opposing Sharks.
In the final game of the opening round, 2020 premiers Subiaco made an early statement with a 14.13 (97) to 5.15 (45) victory over South Fremantle at Leederville Oval on Saturday.
Explosive 2023 prospect Kolton Tholstrup kicked 3.2 from 19 touches and six marks playing mainly up forward with a late run in the midfield, while Jacob Evitt and Riley Crane were also among the most influential on the ground. Former Shark Richard Bartlett had a successful debut with two goals.
But the win came at a cost with on-baller Lance Collard breaking his collarbone in the final two minutes after a classy two-goal display, including a brilliant effort on the run.
Bulldogs recruit Seth Connor (32 disposals) had a nice start to his time in red and white after crossing from East Fremantle, while Liam Brandis hit the scoreboard with 3.2.