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Friday, May 7, 2021 - 1:41 PM by Chris Pike

A WEEK after handing Subiaco its first defeat of the 2021 Optus WAFL Premiership Season, South Fremantle attempts to make sure East Perth doesn’t take victory for the first time this Saturday at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

The WAFL action resumed last weekend after Round 4 was postponed thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown, and South Fremantle improved to a 3-1 record on the season so far with an 18-point victory over Subiaco.

That meant the Bulldogs handed the Lions their first loss of 2021, and now they prepare to host an East Perth team on Saturday who is yet to get the taste of winning so far this season.

Despite the fact that South Fremantle is coming into the game as the reigning premiers and with a 3-1 record so far in defence of that flag and that they are coming up against an East Perth team that 0-4, it's a Royals team the Bulldogs can't afford to take lightly.

The Royals put in a competitive effort back in Round 1 against Subiaco before a solid showing also in their last two games against East Fremantle and Swan Districts, so while winless so far this season it's not as though they have been non-competitive.

South Fremantle has enjoyed life against East Perth in recent times, though, with the Bulldogs having won the last six meetings between the two clubs.

The last win for the Royals against the Bulldogs was by a solitary point when they are boosted by West Coast-listed players back in Round 10, 2017. That game was also at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.

Even going back further, South Fremantle has had a dominant 15 years against East Perth with the Bulldogs having won 26 of the last 34 games between the two clubs since the start of 2005.

That included a 14-game winning streak for South Fremantle against East Perth from Round 1, 2005 up until Round 9, 2012 when the Royals finally broke through.

Coming off last Saturday's win against Subiaco, big man Hamish Free returns to the South Fremantle line-up to play his second league game while Caleb Datson makes way.

That means that key veterans Dylan Main and Nick Suban will remain on the sidelines for at least another week.

South Fremantle coach Todd Curley wasn’t actually happy at all with the Bulldogs' performance last Saturday despite them handing Subiaco their first defeat of the season.

He will be hoping for a much better showing back at home this Saturday against the Royals.

"We judge ourselves on how well we play and we are probably our harshest critics, and that was probably our worst 40 minutes towards the back end of the game in a couple of years," Curley said.

"We went away from how we play and when we play the way we want to play, and the team is the No. 1 driver of the game then we look pretty good, but that wasn’t the case for a lot of that last 40 minutes.

"We got well up on the scoreboard and knew they were probably challenged for fit personnel, and it looked like it impacted our effort and attitude.

"We haven't seen much of East Perth to be honest until focusing on them this week. We've had a good look at them now and we'll see what happens."

East Perth is coming off a 13-point loss to Swan Districts, and from that team Adam Boules, Jack Cooley, Jack Hindle, Shaquille McKenzie and Angus Schumacher have all been added to the squad.

Kye Willcocks is the only player to go out at this stage for the Royals.

The South Fremantle and East Perth reserves contest will take place before the WAFL league game on Saturday from 11.40am but the colts battle between the Bulldogs and Royals will be played at Leederville Oval on Sunday afternoon from 1pm.