Select grade below


Friday, April 9, 2021 - 8:50 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle made a winning start to its premiership defence but now things go up a gear this Saturday in a Grand Final rematch against Claremont at Revo Fitness Stadium.

On the back of last year's premiership triumph, South Fremantle started the 2021 WAFL season impressively with a hard earned 21-point victory against West Perth last Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

So that was a winning start to the season in a rematch of last year's preliminary final and now it's a Grand Final rematch from last year this Saturday for the Bulldogs up against the Tigers.

The Grand Final battle last year at Fremantle Community Bank Oval won't be an occasion anyone involved in, or indeed in attendance of will forget in their lifetime, but the reality is both teams on the field have moved on quickly.

Both Claremont and South Fremantle made winning starts to their 2021 seasons as well last Saturday so their full focus is going to be to attempt to go 2-0 by Saturday evening.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley knows to expect another tough challenge from Claremont, but right now he's really just focused on getting his Bulldogs team up and running as well as possible early in the season.

"Generally they are tough battles. They've been a good team for a long while so we look forward to it," Curley said.

"We have to play everyone twice so it doesn’t really matter when. But everyone plays five straight before the state bye with the even comp so really that's as far as we look ahead. We have five games in-a-row so how we do get through and who's available. 

"But we have Claremont now this week and we expect it to be a good game."

Both Grand Finalists from last year made winning starts to their 2021 seasons as well with the Bulldogs beating West Perth by 21 points at Fremantle Community Bank Oval while the Tigers defeated Swan Districts by 24 points.

They had some cracking battles throughout 2020 as well leading up to that Grand Final and even dating back to 2019.

Going back to 2019 and South Fremantle and Claremont took on one another in both the qualifying and preliminary finals with the Bulldogs winning both those games on the way to reaching the Grand Final where they went on to be hammered by Subiaco.

Their first meeting last year took place in Round 3 and actually their last six games have all been played at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. That first game last year saw the Bulldogs win by eight points but the Tigers turned it around in the second semi-final.

Claremont won that game by 47 points to earn the week off and advance to the Grand Final which would turn out to also be against South Fremantle at Fremantle Community Bank Oval. The Grand Final was a cracking contest and in the end the Bulldogs prevailed by three points.

So South Fremantle has won five of the last seven matches against Claremont but the last time the two teams met at Revo Fitness Stadium was way back in Round 13, 2019 with Claremont winning a spiteful encounter by 16 points over the Bulldogs.

South Fremantle then began its premiership defence in style with a hard fought 21-point win at home over West Perth last Saturday but now taking on Claremont away from home is going to be a different challenge for the Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs have made three changes from that team that beat the Falcons to the one that they will take with them to Claremont on Saturday. 

Travis Abbott, Steven Edwards and Blayne Wilson all are called into the side at the expense of Kye Barker, Cam McCarthy and George Wessels.

Claremont also made an impressive start to their 2021 season with a 24-point victory against a supremely accurate Swan Districts team last Saturday at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.

The Tigers have made just the one change to that team with Jason Carter coming into the line-up at the expense of Max Spyvee.