SWAN Districts reserves have won the 2023 premiership in a hard-fought battle against West Perth 7.15 (57) to 8.6 (54) at Optus Stadium over the weekend.
On the back of winning their way into the grand final with a second semi-final win against West Perth, Swans were waiting for their opponents with the week off for the preliminary final and it turned out it was the Falcons they would be facing again.
Having been ambushed by Swan Districts early in the second semi-final, West Perth started the grand final strongly on Sunday morning at Optus Stadium with the only two goals of the opening term.
However, the Swans were able to work back into the game and get on top from there to lead by as much as 14 points late in the third quarter, and then hold on to win in a three-point triumph.
It’s a first reserves premiership win for Swan Districts since Brian Dawson led them to the triumph in 2006 and now Greg Harding becomes a flag winning reserves and colts coach with the black-and-whites to go with the seven seasons he spent at league level.
Swan Districts might have been the team who won the second semi-final and had the week off, but it was West Perth who came out ferocious in the grand final to dominate the opening quarter.
With Mark Hutchings, Kane Bevan and captain Luke Reilly setting things up through the middle, it was all West Perth in the first term.
Jasper Scaife added another soon after, but West Perth didn’t quite capitalise fully on the dominance with just the two goals in the first, leading by 13 points at quarter-time.
Swan Districts worked back into the contest in the second term and eventually Jack Cox kicked the first goal of the grand final for Swans at the four-minute mark.
However, West Perth responded with the next two from Corey Rundle and Zarne Robis and suddenly it was threatening to blow out to a match-winning lead for the Falcons up by 18 points.
Swans had worked back on top in general play but kicking straight was proving quite the challenge inside Optus Stadium.
Ben Hewett managed a second goal for the black-and-whites, but the Falcons responded through Scaife and that saw the minor premiers leading by 11 points at the main break.
It was a ferocious Swan Districts team that came out after half-time ready to start putting that ascendancy on the scoreboard and it was Cox who kicked a second goal of the game to get things rolling.
Henrick Alforque then added another to put Swans in front for the first time in the game. Tom Smith and Brodyn Fitzgerald added goals before three quarter-time putting the black-and-whites were on top by 14 points.
West Perth’s responded, desperate to not lose consecutive reserves grand finals. Callum Johnson kicked a long bomb to start the final term and then Reilly added another and suddenly it was a three-point ball game.
West Perth was then back in front when Logan Foley bombed one from 50m and the challenge was back on Swan Districts to respond.
The final 15 minutes were a ferocious contest over the premiership, but it was a clever snap in congestion with his left foot from Merv McIntosh medallist Hewett that put Swans back in front for good.