Round 5 Preview v Swan Districts

Friday, April 12, 2013 - 12:11 PM

SOUTH Fremantle heads to Steel Blue Oval to take on Swan Districts on Saturday with the Bulldogs out for a first win of 2013 and looking to hand Swans a third straight loss in the process.

South Fremantle might have not won a game yet this season, but has shown plenty of good signs in those losses to Claremont, Perth and West Perth with the team's most complete showing last Friday night in a nail-biting three point loss at the hands of the Falcons at Fremantle Oval.

The Bulldogs now hit the road again to make it three of the first four games away from Fremantle Oval when they take on Swan Districts at Bassendean this Saturday.

Swan Districts started the season impressively with a win over last year's grand finalists East Fremantle in Round 1, but since has suffered losses to Claremont and Perth. Two of the teams that the Bulldogs have also lost to so far this season.

South Fremantle does lose veteran midfielder Kris Miller thorough a one-week suspension to take on the black-and-whites but has some important players pressing for a recall.

Experienced swing man Andrew McCarrey was in the wars over the first three games and he missed last Friday's clash with West Perth, but he should be right to return to take on Swan Districts and either fill a key defensive role, or provide another goal kicking option in attack.

Emerging defender Nick Borovac has missed the first three games as he recovers from a thumb injury, but he put in a good performance in the reserves last week with 21 possessions and six marks.

His return could be even more important as it allows McCarrey to have the option of playing forward especially in the absence of reigning Bernie Naylor Medallist Ben Saunders.

Warrick Andreoli is also pushing for a return while Anthony Collica is a chance to come back into the side after being out injured since Round 1.

The loss of Miller for the Bulldogs is a big one though. He has been the most consistent performer over the first three games of 2013 in the midfield and the three-time South Fremantle fairest and best winner would likely be leading the count again already.

Remarkably, it will be the first game Miller has missed at South Fremantle since arriving for the 2007 season bringing an end to his run of 129 consecutive matches at the Bulldogs with his time including those three fairest and bests, and the 2009 premiership.

On top of that, the only two games he has ever missed in his entire 282-game WAFL career (which included 153 games at East Fremantle) were the last two of 2006 when he didn’t see eye to eye with those in charge at East Fremantle and left the club.

He has never missed a game through injury or suspension, but that will change on Saturday.

However, it presents a chance for others in the midfield to step up further in the absence of Miller including Toby Bairstow, Alex Grima, Haiden Schloithe, Mitch Banner, Adam Guglielmana, Jacob Martinez and Collica and Andreoli if they are picked in the final 22.

Stopping the run from Swan Districts with the likes of Matt Riggio, Shaun Hildebrandt, Ryan Davis, Graham Jetta, Brett Robinson, Dayle Garlett, Lachie Neale, Aaron Elari and Wayde Twomey will be key to South Fremantle's chance of getting a first win on the board for 2013.

By Chris Pike