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East Perth v Peel Thunder Round 1 PreviewFriday, March 17, 2017 - 4:34 PM - by Chris Pike

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THE WAFL's broadcast match for Round 1 of the 2017 McDonald's Premiership Season looks set to be a beauty between East Perth and Peel Thunder with both clubs full of players pushing their case for the AFL's opening round too.

Leederville Oval will play host to the contest on Saturday with bounce down set for 7.05pm making it just the second ever televised night match from a traditional WAFL venue. 

Last year, Subiaco and South Fremantle played in a broadcast match also from Leederville Oval on a Thursday night.

It is set to be a tremendous contest too whether you are watching on your television or live in person at Leederville Oval between two clubs who have done battle in each of the last two finals series.

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Two years ago, Peel made the finals for the first time ever and it was East Perth who eliminated the Thunder in the first semi-final at Bendigo Bank Stadium.

It was back to the same venue last year this time for an elimination final, and Peel proved too strong ending East Perth's season on the way to its breakthrough WAFL premiership triumph.

Now Saturday night will be the Thunder's first game as a premiership winning team as they tackle a Royals side playing under club legend Luke Webster as coach for the first time.

Understandably, much of the focus on the game will surround the West Coast and Fremantle players lining up for either side who are pushing for selection in Round 1 of the AFL season next weekend.

East Perth's line-up will feature Sam Butler, Tom Barrass, Tom Cole, Will Schofield, Francis Watson, Malcolm Karpany, Jack Redden, Liam Duggan, Tom Lamb, Fraser McInnes, Jonathon Giles, Kurt Mutimer, Tom Gorter, Luke Partington, Josh Rotham and Jordan Snadden from West Coast.

Of those players, Butler, Barrass, Schofield, Redden, Duggan and Giles are the main ones who will be a good chance to play for the Eagles in the AFL season-opener if they can impress.

Meanwhile, for Peel they will have Sam Collins, Ethan Hughes, Griffin Logue, Nick Suban, Tom Sheridan, Hayden Crozier, Brennan Cox, Matt Taberner, Sean Darcy, Harley Balic, Luke Strnadica and Taylin Duman are their contingent from Fremantle.

Of those, Sheridan and Crozier would be the two with the best hopes of going on to play with the Dockers next week in Round 1 of the AFL season.

The game will also be the first for East Perth following the retirement of club greats Craig Wulff and Paul Johnson.

Garry Moss and Brendan Lee also haven’t returned but Patrick McGinnity has joined the Royals full-time following his AFL career with West Coast. He will be sole captain on Saturday night in the absence of co-captain Kyle Anderson. 

Peel will welcome back Leroy Jetta after he was forced to miss all of 2016 to the group that won last year's premiership.

While there is a significant turnover in players the Thunder will have from the Dockers, their own playing stocks have remained relatively stable as they prepare to make a tilt at back-to-back premierships.

With both teams desperate to make a winning start to the new season and with plenty of intrigue also surrounding the AFL-listed players taking part, it shapes as a tremendous way to open the WAFL season.

Selected teams, live stats 
Broadcast: 7mate