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Friday, April 30, 2021 - 1:05 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle returns to Fremantle Community Bank Oval on Saturday set for a cracking contest with the undefeated Subiaco as the WAFL resumes from a COVID-19 enforced break.

The WAFL was forced to take a break last week due to the snap three-day Western Australia lockdown meaning that Round 4 was postponed and will need to be made up at a later date.

But it sets the stage for a tremendous contest on Saturday afternoon at Fremantle Community Bank Oval between two teams in good form to start the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season.

Coming off winning last year's premiership, South Fremantle holds a 2-1 record after the first three games which saw them beat West Perth and Peel Thunder either side of a narrow defeat away to Claremont.

Subiaco, meanwhile, are one of just two undefeated teams remaining in the competition coming into Round 5 with the Lions having so far scored wins against East Perth, East Fremantle and West Perth over the opening three rounds before the week off.

With Subiaco having won premierships in 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019, and South Fremantle winning the flag in 2020 on the back of playing in the Grand Final in 2019 and in three consecutive preliminary finals prior to that, then the stage is set for another tremendous battle on Saturday.

Prior to last year's 50-point win for South Fremantle over Subiaco at Leederville Oval, it had been the Lions who dominated the recent history between the two clubs including a 96-point thumping in the 2019 Grand Final at Optus Stadium.

Subiaco had won eight of the previous nine contests against South Fremantle up until that game in Round 4 last year, and it also included wins in the 2019 second semi-final, second semi-final of 2018 and preliminary final of 2017.

South Fremantle will also be attempting to beat Subiaco at Fremantle Community Bank Oval for the first time on Saturday since Round 1, 2017 as well.

However, South Fremantle turned it around last year and became the dominant force in the competition on the way to winning the premiership, and now Saturday is going to provide a fascinating early season 2021 chance to see where both teams sit in the scheme of things.

Reigning Bernie Naylor Medallist and premiership vice-captain Mason Shaw is looking forward to getting back into action after the enforced layoff last weekend thanks to COVID-19 after South Fremantle scored an impressive win over Peel Thunder in Pingelly the previous Saturday.

"It's amazing really how it can change the whole complexion of what you're dealing with in a weekend, but in terms of comparing footy to what a lot of other people have to deal with, it's a pretty minor hiccup," Shaw said.

"Last year I think held us in pretty good stead and we'd be lying to ourselves if we didn’t expect something like that to happen at least once this year. 

"We've got some things in place when we miss a game that we have to tick off by ourselves, but for us we just did all that we could and really it's out of our control. 

"It's disappointing obviously so close to the game to have it called off, but we just had some stuff to tick off over the weekend, we got that done and now we'll be ready to go this week."

Shaw is also looking forward to the challenge that he knows Subiaco will provide South Fremantle on Saturday, but he's confident the Bulldogs will be able to come out on top on home turf.

"It's always a tough game coming up against Subi. We're just going to play our same way and try to back ourselves in, and winning the contest is always pretty important against Subi," Shaw said.

"We are pretty confident in what we can do and we have to be confident in ourselves going up against Subi who have been such a disciplined and hard team for a number of years now. We have no doubt they are going to bring the same this week."