Qualifying Final Preview v Peel Thunder

Saturday, September 2, 2017 - 10:41 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle heads into Saturday's WAFL qualifying final on a nine-game winning run and looking to get a measure of revenge on Peel Thunder and book in for a shot against Subiaco.

South Fremantle will host Peel Thunder in Saturday's qualifying final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval to open the AHG WAFL Finals Series for 2017 and it's shaping as a tremendous contest with plenty on the line.

South Fremantle earned the right to host the clash by finishing in second position at the end of the home and away season with a 16-4 record and currently being on a nine-game winning streak.

Peel, meanwhile, finished in third position coming off winning last year's breakthrough premiership triumph. The Thunder ended the home and away season with a 12-8 record to be two games clear in third and four games back from second.

That all sets the scene for a cracking qualifying final contest on Saturday at the port with the winner to advance to next week's second semi-final against Subiaco at Leederville Oval.

The loser will play host to the first semi-final and the winner of Sunday's elimination final between Swan Districts and West Perth.

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While South Fremantle enters the qualifying final on a nine-game winning streak with those wins coming at an average of 45.6 points, it was Peel who handed the Bulldogs their last defeat.

That came in the last meeting at Fremantle Community Bank Oval back in Round 12 when Peel opened up a big lead and then withstood a Bulldogs comeback to win by six points when big man Luke Strnadica kicked the winning goal.

While South Fremantle won the other two meetings against Peel this season at Bendigo Bank Stadium, including last Saturday by 32 points, Peel also won going back to last year's preliminary final at Fremantle Community Bank Oval to book a grand final spot.

South Fremantle's last win at home against Peel came in Round 9 last year.

The contest will provide a definite clash in styles as well with South Fremantle the highest-scoring team in the competition at 112.9 points a game while Peel is second best defensively at 66.6 points, only behind Subiaco.

The Bulldogs defence also can't be sneezed at as the third best in the WAFL conceding 71.0 points a game while the Thunder have struggled to score, averaging just 74.0 points a game to be only ahead of Swan Districts, East Fremantle and Perth.

South Fremantle comes into the clash just about at full strength and with pressure continuing to be hot for spots with the Bulldogs reserves having finished on top of the ladder with a host of players desperate for a league opportunity.

From the Bulldogs team that beat Peel last Saturday in Mandurah by 32 points, defenders Jason Maskos and Marlion Pickett are automatic inclusions while Jake Florenca couldn’t have possibly done any more to put himself in calculations.

That means that some difficult decisions will have to have been made at the selection table but the good news is those players who miss out can still stake their claim during the reserves' finals campaign that starts next week.

Things are even more challenging at selection for Peel with the return of Fremantle-listed players Zac Dawson, Sam Collins, Cameron Sutcliffe, Nick Suban, Danyle Pearce, Matt Taberner, Sean Darcy, Jonathon Griffin and Tom Sheridan.

They all come back into the Peel side having not played in the game against South Fremantle last Saturday.

Chris Wrigley, Brad Walsh, Calvin Thorne, Brett Milward, Brad McGowan and James Kirby are confirmed outs at this stage for Peel but three more will still need to make way by the time they run out onto Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday.

The day will begin at Fremantle Community Bank Oval with the colts elimination final between Peel Thunder and East Perth from 8.50am.

The reserves qualifying final will then take place featuring Claremont against Subiaco from 11.20am.

WAFL QUALIFYING FINAL
SOUTH FREMANTLE v PEEL THUNDER – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SATURDAY 2.10PM
Broadcast – 7mate, ABC Radio, 91.3 SportFM, KIX Digital, Footy Radio

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