Round 20 Preview v East Fremantle

Friday, August 4, 2017 - 3:34 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle is looking to extend its winning run to seven this WAFL season and to four against East Fremantle in the last derby of 2017 on Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

South Fremantle looks all but secured of finishing in second position come the end of the season entering Saturday's derby at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with a 13-4 record and six-game winning streak.

That puts the Bulldogs in prime position to host a qualifying final in the first week of the finals and to have a finals double chance. 

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The Sharks might not be able to do too much to stop that eventually happening for the Bulldogs, but a strong performance at the port in the derby would be a big boost for everyone at East Fremantle in the lead in to the finish of the season.

The game will also be played for the Uittenbroek-Ciccotosto Cup named in honour of two fine servants of both clubs, East Fremantle Bob Uittenbroek and South Fremantle's Brian Ciccotosto.

South Fremantle comes into the third and final derby of the season on a six-game winning run having beaten West Perth, Perth, Claremont, Swan Districts, East Perth and West Perth by an average of 49.9 points since a six-point home loss to Peel in Round 12.

East Fremantle slipped back to the bottom of the ladder with last Saturday's 61-point defeat at home to Subiaco. 

But overall since the horror of WA Day, East Fremantle has been vastly more competitive recording two wins against Perth and putting in strong efforts against Claremont and Swan Districts.

The fact remains the Sharks are on the bottom, though, at 2-14 while the percentage of Perth and East Fremantle could continue to fluctuate, if they do want to avoid the wooden they are going to have to win at least one more game over the last month.

South Fremantle has dominated the first two derbies of 2017 winning on ANZAC Day by 41 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval and then by 145 points in the WA Day Foundation Derby at East Fremantle Oval.

East Fremantle's team will include Tom Marshall, George Hampson, Jack Perham, Sam Read and Jamie McNamara who didn’t play on WA Day as they try to be significantly more competitive on Saturday.

South Fremantle will also be celebrating the 100th WAFL appearance of spearhead Ben Saunders who is now in his sixth season with the Bulldogs after crossing from Claremont. Along the way he has won three Bernie Naylor Medal awards, played for WA three times and won a Simpson Medal.

South Fremantle will welcome back exciting defender Marlion Pickett who missed last week's game against West Perth on the back of a discipline issue imposed by the leadership group following the win over East Perth in Busselton the previous week.

Jarrod Parry is also in contention to play his first league game since Round 23, 2015. He has played 14 reserves games back this year since a third knee reconstruction and despite not playing last week against West Perth, he could come in to take on the Sharks this Saturday.

Brandon Donaldson has also put his name up for a recall after 25 possessions and three goals in the reserves last Saturday against the Falcons.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley knows that the Bulldogs can't afford to take the Sharks lightly.

"With derbies it never matters where you are on the ladder," Curley said.

"They were really super against us the first time here in the first three quarters with their pressure and I know last time we played them they were stretched for injuries and had a lot of young players, but I think they've got a few senior guys since then and the younger players have been adjusting to the level. 

"They've been more consistent over the past six weeks and it will be a good battle."

There are plenty of changes again at East Fremantle coming out of last week's 61-point defeat at the hands of Subiaco.

Harry Creasey is in line to become yet another debutant for the Sharks in 2017 while Jye Clements, Josh Cuneo, Miles Franklin, Carl Green, Joel Kalajzic, Ambrose Ryan and Cameron Symonds are all in contention to return.

Jesse Adamini, Sean Henson, Jesse Mirco and Leon Pearton are all out for East Fremantle as is Cameron Eardley due to a two-week suspension.

Broadcast – KIX Digital