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East Fremantle slips into Foxtel Cup semi-final

EAST Fremantle has advanced to the Foxtel Cup semi-finals after defeating Norwood by seven points in pouring rain at AAMI Stadium.

The Sharks trailed for most of the opening half before surging to a hard-fought victory against last year’s South Australian National Football League premier.

The Redlegs thrived in the slippery conditions early, with their intensity around stoppages allowing their opponent very little time and space. But they wasted their opportunities in the second half, while the Sharks were unyielding in their effort and remarkably efficient when going forward.  

Sharks’ captain and former Collinqwood and St Kilda midfielder Mark McGough revelled in the wet conditions, demonstrating his leadership with eight clearances and unwaivering work rate.

Rory O’Brien was relentless in his attack on the ball and contest, producing an outstanding wet-weather game; he recorded a game-high 22 disposals, 15 contested possessions and 15 tackles.

Ryan Lester-Smith was creative around the ground, setting up teammate Mitch Boyle with one of his two important goals. He also contributed with a major of his own deep in the fourth quarter to seal the contest.

Cameron Symonds dominated the ruck, giving the Sharks first use of the ball throughout the contest and showing poise when given the opportunity.

Scott Hancock was ferocious with his attack on the ball and precise when using it, while Richard Hadley was equally as efficient when going forward.

For the Redlegs, 16-year-old Peter Bampton was superb, finding space in tight situations and kicking an impressive goal from outside 50 in the opening term. The future draft prospect did his chances no harm, leading his side in disposals (19), clearances (8) and contested possessions (13).

Matt Fuller read the play well out of defence, also gathering 19 disposals while showing off his precise ball-use.

Kane Murphy demonstrated composure in the wet, while former Port Adelaide defender Darren Pfeiffer rebounded well throughout the match.

The Sharks play the winner of Werribee and Queanbeyan in the first semi-final of the Foxtel Cup on Tuesday, July 9.

Norwood                  3.2    4.4     4.6     4.11 (35)
East Fremantle        1.0    4.1     5.5     6.6 (42)

Norwood: M Evans 2, Donohue, Bampton.
East Fremantle: Boyle 2, Henson, Lester-Smith, Ricciardello, Cronan.

Norwood: Bampton, Fuller, Murphy, Pfeiffer.
East Fremantle: O’Brien, McGough, Lester-Smith, Hancock.