Round 10 Preview v East Perth

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 11:14 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle returns to Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday to take on East Perth with the Bulldogs out to bounce back from last week's loss to Subiaco heading into the state game break.

South Fremantle might have given up top spot on the WAFL ladder with a 39-point loss to Subiaco last Saturday, but it has still been a strong start to the 2017 season for the Bulldogs.

Going into the break for next week's state game with a 7-2 record would mark an impressive first half of 2017 for the Bulldogs but the Royals will take some beating.

East Perth is now on a three-game winning run itself and a win over South Fremantle on Saturday at the port will send a message that the Royals are right back in the finals hunt for 2017.

This will be the first meeting between the two teams this season and while South Fremantle won two of the three clashes in 2016, East Perth has actually won three of its last four trips to Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

That included a 16-point win on the last visit in Round 15 last year as well as a 106-point thumping in Round 18, 2015 and a 75-point triumph under lights in Round 3, 2014.

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The West Australian Football Commission has joined forces with Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia to host the Know Your Score Men’s Health Round this weekend.
For the fourth year, the Know Your Score Men’s Health Round initiative will see players from across the state don blue armbands to honour the men in WA who have lost their lives to prostate cancer.
All four WAFL games held this Saturday will aim to raise awareness of prostate cancer and encourage men to be more proactive about their health by talking to their doctor.

South Fremantle's season began with a 39-point win over Subiaco before a loss to Swan Districts. But the Bulldogs went on a dominant five-game winning run that only came to an end at the hands of Subiaco last week at Leederville Oval.

Despite last week's loss, South Fremantle remains the highest-scoring team in the league at 107.1 points a game. The Bulldogs' defence remains third best too conceding an average of 70.8 points.

East Perth, meanwhile, started the season in disastrous fashion losing its opening five games. But the Royals have responded well beating Perth, Peel Thunder and East Fremantle to enter the clash with the second placed South Fremantle with confidence.

Over the first five games that East Perth lost by an average of 35 points while scoring just 58 points a game and conceding 93. They have won their three games by an average of 46.7 points scoring an average of 111 and conceding just 64.3.

The two teams are the highest possession gatherers across the league this season with East Perth averaging 402.3 disposals a game and South Fremantle 393.5.

Both teams have a host of players vying for selection in next Saturday's state game where the WAFL will face off with the VFL at Melbourne's North Port Oval as well.

South Fremantle's Ryan Cook, Brock Higgins, Blaine Johnson, Tim Kelly, Marlion Pickett, Ben Saunders, Haiden Schloithe, Mason Shaw and Blayne Wilson are all in the squad at this stage.

East Perth's Kyle Anderson and Will Maginness are as well so their performances on Saturday could be telling.

Of particular interest should be East Perth's captain Anderson taking on triple Bernie Naylor Medallist Saunders ahead of them being likely teammates next week.

South Fremantle will make at least two changes from the team that lost to Subiaco last Saturday with Brandon Donaldson and Brendan Verrier going out of the line-up.

Steve Verrier will spend at least another week in the reserves returning from a broken hand while Steven Edwards is still out injured.

Jake Solomon is a chance to come in and provide some support to Brock Higgins in the ruck while Jake Florenca and Kyle Russell could add some extra run at ground level in replace of Donaldson and Brendan Verrier.

Josh Pullman was impressive in the reserves as a forward against Subiaco but if he gets the call up he will be needed down back against East Perth while Chad Pearson will make his league debut if selected.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley is looking forward to a similar response from the Buldlogs that he got after the Round 2 loss to Swan Districts.

"It's another challenge for us, obviously they’ll be well organised they got a lot of strength around the ball so it will be a real challenge for us," Curley said.

"It’s always important to respond to a poor effort. I don’t think form has a lot to do with effort or your ability to compete. That was probably what really let us down especially early we weren’t up for the fight and didn’t compete or bring enough effort. To Subi’s credit they were much better than us."

The make up of East Perth's team does remain somewhat of a mystery and will depend on what West Coast is doing for its clash with Essendon at Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Depending on who will be the travelling emergency or emergencies for the Eagles, East Perth could very well have the services of at least two of Drew Petrie, Jackson Nelson and Josh Hill against South Fremantle on Saturday.

Dwayne Bolton, Steven Payne, Callum Hart, Jordan Snadden and Mitch Lague are also in contention at the selection table for East Perth as well.

Co-captain Patrick McGinnity goes out with a hamstring injury with Matthew Allen also out for the Royals.

Broadcast – 91.3 SportFM, KIX Digital