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Friday, May 6, 2022 - 3:28 PM by Chris Pike

SOUTH Fremantle returns to what is traditionally a happy hunting group up at Joondalup on Saturday to take on West Perth to attempting to go into the State Game break on a winning note.

South Fremantle suffered its first loss of the 2022 WAFL season last Saturday at home to Claremont and now the Bulldogs head to Pentanet Stadium on Saturday looking for a bounce back performance.

The Bulldogs started the season with wins against Subiaco and the West Coast Eagles before that loss to Claremont, and now with the State Game against South Australia next week, they will look to head into the break with a 3-1 record.

It might be a fair trek from Fremantle to Joondalup, but South Fremantle has enjoyed its time heading north dating back to 1994. The Bulldogs have won 20 of their 30 match ups at the venue even though the Falcons did score a six-point win in Round 20 last year.

Prior to that, South Fremantle had beaten West Perth on their home turf the previous five times, and nine of the past 11. 

It's hard to know why exactly South Fremantle have such a good record at the ground, and the two longest serving coaches over the nearly 30 years John Dimmer and Todd Curley do have strong links to the Falcons, but whatever it is you can't argue with the record. 

Both teams come into the clash with two wins from the opening three games this season as well having each being in the finals last year. West Perth lost in the first semi-final to Claremont and South Fremantle in the Grand Final to Subiaco.

West Perth opened up the 2022 season with a narrow loss to Claremont at home but have since defeated Peel Thunder and Subiaco impressively while South Fremantle won its first two matches over Subiaco and West Coast, but lost at home last Saturday to the Tigers.

So the lone loss of the season for both teams has been to Claremont this season while they've both scored a win against Subiaco. They also have lost a star player this week to the West Coast Eagles.

Jake Florenca and Luke Meadows are fresh off spots in the WAFL Team of the Week for Round 3, with Meadows the Player of the Week also while Florenca earned that accolade in Round 1. So both are in good form but neither will be there at Joondalup on Saturday.

One new face in the South Fremantle team for 2022 is former East Fremantle defender Josh Cuneo. He last played in the WAFL back in 2019 but was keen to resume his 45-game career this year and make a fresh start with the Bulldogs.

"Towards the back end of the 2019 season I probably lost a little bit of my drive and motivation as such," Cuneo said.

"Playing WAFL is a very high level and it requires a lot of dedication and work to get up every weekend, and probably towards the end of that year I thought I might want to step away and do a couple of things outside of footy that might have reignited my passion and love for the game. 

"I ended up moving to play A-Grade Amateurs down at North Fremantle to be coached by Shane Woewodin. I really enjoyed my time there and the leadership that he brought, and the footy as a whole was a semi-professional outfit as far as the Amateurs go. 

"Opportunities can be funny when they come knocking and I was lucky enough to be on the receiving end of a phone call earlier this year, and I put it upon myself that I really wanted to take the chance with both hands and leave no stone unturned in my footy career."

Cuneo is now looking forward to the challenge that he knows West Perth will pose in Saturday's game.

"We definitely recognise this period leading into the bye is very important and as a group it's all about reflection and being able to take these unfortunate losses like on the weekend where it was in our grasp and just try to make sure we implement change to better the future," Cuneo said.

"West Perth are another footy club who are definitely on the up and are a benchmark team, and we're hoping that we are going to be able to go out there and give it our best shake."