Round 18 Preview v Peel Thunder

Saturday, August 10, 2019 - 8:10 AM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle has now strung a couple of wins together again and now ahead of hosting Peel Thunder at Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday, the Bulldogs they need to keep winning as they chase a top two finish.

South Fremantle comes into the game having now won its past two matches on the back of a four-game losing streak and prior to that seven consecutive victories.

That has the Bulldogs still sitting in third position on the WAFL ladder with a 10-5 record but a win on Saturday against Peel and they potentially could return to second position depending on how Claremont performs against West Perth also on Saturday at Claremont Oval.

Either way, second spot could then be decided next week when South Fremantle hosts Claremont in Round 19 but they need to focus on getting a win over Peel before thinking about that.

Meanwhile, Saturday is a must-win game for Peel as well against South Fremantle with the Thunder needing to win their last three games of the season if they hope to return to finals action in 2019.

Peel currently sits in sixth position with a 6-9 record but they do have a better percentage than both West Perth and Perth who are just above them on the ladder in fourth and fifth spots.

Starting on Saturday against the Bulldogs, the Thunder then finish the season against Swan Districts and Perth, and if they want to play finals winning all three of those games could be enough for them but they still need other results to go their way for it to happen.

Recent battles between South Fremantle and Peel have been evenly split as well and the Round 10 contest this season offers little insight into one team having momentum over the other considering South Fremantle prevailed by just the three points at David Grays Arena.

That was their first meeting since Round 16 last year also in Mandurah and it was Peel winning on that occasion by 24 points, but South Fremantle won the first clash of 2018 at Fremantle Community Bank Oval by 35 points in Round 11.

That was in response to Peel winning the 2017 qualifying final by 18 points also at the port. Overall in the last four years, South Fremantle has beaten Peel six times while the Thunder have beaten the Bulldogs on four occasions.

And at Fremantle Community Bank Oval, the two teams have played at the venue 28 times with South Fremantle winning 20 of those but Peel has won on three of their last four visits, and five of the last seven.

From the South Fremantle team that beat East Perth by 33 points last Saturday at Leederville Oval, the Bulldogs have added Josh Collard, Jye Depane and Matthew Ward to the squad while there are no outs at this stage.

Peel Thunder went down Claremont in a heartstopper in Mandurah last Saturday and from that side, Haydn Matthews, Jordan Boullineau, Billy Chambers, Corey Morris, Tom North, Brynn Osborne and Tyson Powell all come into the squad.

Hayden Ballantyne, Blair Bell, Cam McCarthy and Travis Colyer go out for Peel but at least a couple of Ballantyne, McCarthy and Colyer could still play depend on what happens with Fremantle.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley has been pleased with the way the Bulldogs have steadied from that four-game losing streak to now appear to be building some momentum again heading towards the finals.

"To be honest we were really poor against Subi and played one poor quarter against West Coast and got beaten, and then against Claremont we were really good for two and-a-half quarters, and Perth three and-a-half to be honest so we haven’t been far away," Curley said.

"But certainly in the last month we think we're getting better and are starting to get some players back availability-wise so are getting healthier. The bye ended up coming at a good time for us.

"We just hope to produce more of the same really. Vandeleur will play again next week, Collard will play again and we are getting more depth. Della played OK in the twos and there's Abbott, Ward, Blechynden and De San Miguel all back there who can play senior footy. 

"We think that as they start to put heat on for spots that will help as well. But we are really pleased that the guys are playing their role especially in that second half and that's all we want."