Monday, September 5, 2016 - 8:48 PM by Chris Pike

WEST Perth was blown away early in Saturday's qualifying final against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval before steadying, but the Bulldogs kicked away again to make it a disappointing day for the Falcons at the port.

The Bulldogs have qualified for the first time since 2011 and won their first finals match since the 2009 grand final on Saturday proving too good for the Falcons on their home deck.

South Fremantle made a blistering start kicking five goals in the opening 12 minutes with Blaine Johnson and Mason Shaw on fire combining for four of those.

But West Perth worked its way back into the contest and with 14 of the Falcons' players having taken part in last year's grand final and 10 of them premiership players from 2013, they were able to steady the ship.

That saw the Falcons kick four consecutive goals either side of quarter-time but the Bulldogs were able to steady to still lead by 18 points at the main break.

South Fremantle then turned in a scintillating third quarter with seven goals to one, including three to Ben Saunders, and that was enough for the Bulldogs to set up the 18.13 (121) to 10.9 (69) victory.

The result means that South Fremantle advances to next Sunday's second semi-final against Subiaco at Medibank Stadium with a grand final berth up for grabs.

Meanwhile, West Perth will return home to HBF Arena to host a first semi-final against Peel Thunder who beat East Perth on Sunday in the elimination final at Bendigo Bank Stadium.

Shane Nelson returned from injury for West Perth and battled hard in the midfield finishing with 32 possessions while Trent Manzone was another to never give up with 32 disposals, six marks and six inside-50 entries.

Rohan Kerr picked up 26 possessions as well for the Falcons, Corey Chalmers 22 and captain Jay van Berlo 21.

Blake Wilhelm had a good battle with Blaine Johnson in defence and had 19 possessions while Steven Browne had 18 touches down back as well and Luke Meadows 16.

Michael Lourey kicked three goals for West Perth and Joel Leeson two.

South Fremantle might not have played finals since 2011 but that turned into a positive with their excitement and intensity right up from the outset.

It took only two minutes for a goal to Mason Shaw and that got the ball rolling with Blaine Johnson adding another at the five-minute, Shaw his second just over a minute later and then just one more minute further on Johnson booted a second.

Suddenly at the eight-minute mark South Fremantle had four goals on the board and that was soon five with a goal to Dylan Main.

West Perth then steadied, though, and got some control back of the game and the Falcons kicked the last three goals of the first quarter thanks to Leeson, Andrew Strijk and van Berlo.

The Falcons then continued that momentum into the second term with a goal to Lourey to make the margin just six points, but that would be the high point of the game for the visitors.

The Bulldogs responded with two goals in two minutes just before time-on with Johnson's third and Ben Saunders' second to steady to a 17-point lead. West Perth got another back through Kody Manning but South Fremantle had the last say of the half when Shaw booted his third.

The Bulldogs led by 18 points at half-time and that soon became 24 and 31 with goals to Ashton Hams and Saunders in the opening six minutes of the third quarter.

Leeson kicked his second to keep West Perth somewhat in touch, but the Bulldogs then piled on five more goals before three quarter-time including two more to Saunders, a second to Hams, third to Shaw and one to Shane Hockey as the lead ballooned to 60 points at the last change.

Just 30 seconds into the last term saw West Perth get a goal through Duffy with Lourey adding a couple and Rodda another but all that did was bring the final margin to 52 points. South Fremantle got final quarter goals from Hams, Shaun Bewick and Steve Verrier.

WEST PERTH        3.2    5.5    6.6    10.9    (69)
SOUTH FREMANTLE    5.2    8.5    15.12    18.13    (121)

WEST PERTH – Goals: Lourey 3; Leeson 2; Strijk, van Berlo, Rodda, Duffy, Manning.
Best: Manzone, Nelson, Kerr, van Berlo, Wilhelm, Manning.
SOUTH FREMANTLE – Goals: Saunders, Shaw 4; Johnson, Hams 3; Bewick, Hockey, S Verrier, Main.
Best: Hams, M Pickett, Kelly, Saunders, Main, Maskos, Shaw, Gundry.