WEST ADELAIDE has held off a wasteful East Fremantle in a nail-biting Foxtel Cup Grand Final, defeating the Sharks by four points at AAMI Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Bloods will receive a grand prize of $100,000, awarded to the winner of the knockout competition that brings together the best state-league teams from across the country.
An explosive second quarter set up a 25-point lead at half-time for West Adelaide, however, the resurgent Sharks dominated the final two quarters, holding their opponent goalless.
Accuracy in front of goal prevented an East Freo win, however, booting 2.16 (28) to the 4.8 (32) over the four 20-minute quarters.
West Adelaide onballer (and former AFL player for the Crows and Lions) Chris Schmidt was awarded the Coles best-on-ground award for his unrelenting performance that included 26 disposals and nine clearances. He also operated at 81 per cent efficiency.
From the onset, both sides exerted the same pressure that strangled their opponents in previous Foxtel Cup meetings, the only goal of the first quarter coming from Bloods key forward Michael Still after he was held in a marking contest.
The Bloods would begin to find avenues to goal by spreading quickly from stoppages and using space outside of contests, with livewire forward Jonathon Beech continuing his game-changing Foxtel Cup form with a brilliant running goal from outside-50.
Wingman Taite Silverlock was able to capitalise on some speedy transition out of the Bloods’ defence, running into an open goal to complement his 12 disposals and three score involvements in the opening half.
Beech would soon have his second goal to give the Bloods a 25-point lead at half-time.
East Fremantle came bolting out of the blocks in the third term, tackling manically and thrusting the ball forward on every occasion to dominate the inside-50s.
Scott Hancock ignited the Sharks with their first goal of the game half-way through the third quarter, however inaccuracy in front of goal continued to haunt them in the final final quarter.
The Bloods looked like a team on a mission from the opening round of the Foxtel Cup.
They travelled to the MCG to trounce Port Melbourne by 53 points, before grinding out a hard-fought 17-point win over last year’s Foxtel Cup and West Australian Football League premier, Claremont.
Schmidt expressed his relief after the game, saying the players would see their share of the $100,000.
"We came in pretty hot there after half-time ... We were lucky to get away with the win. We did it the hard way," he said.
"The boys will see a bit of that (the prizemoney) … I think it will be a good footy trip."
The two sides hold similar standings in their respective state leagues, with East Fremantle coming runner-up to Claremont in last year's West Australian Football League Grand Final, and West Adelaide falling short to Norwood in the South Australian Football League finale. This year both sides sit third on the ladder in their respective leagues.
West Adelaide 1.2 4.5 4.7 4.8 (32)
East Fremantle 0.3 0.4 1.10 2.16(28)
West Adelaide: Beech 2, Silverlock, Still.
East Fremantle: Hancock, Stephen.
West Adelaide: Schmidt, Beech, Mangan, Silverlock, Caire.
East Fremantle: Peake, O’Brien, Bayliss, Stephen, Dodd.